Transitioning from Antarctic Winter to Frozen Spring


Liz Monahon, a mechanic at McMurdo Station, picked up a hammer as the blizzarding winds and never-ending night of the Antarctic winter began to give way to a frozen spring.

She reasoned that she should defend herself if the authorities weren’t going to stop the man from killing her. It wasn’t as if she could run away. They were all stranded on the ice together. Because of this, she always carried a hammer with her, either looped into her Carhartt overalls or tucked into her sports bra.

Monahon declares, “I was going to start striking at him if he got anywhere near me. “I made the decision that I was going to live.” Monahon, 35, is one of several women who claim that sexual assault and harassment at the American research station in Antarctica have flourished because of the area’s isolation and macho attitude.

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Frozen Realities

The government body in charge of managing American science is the National Science Foundation. In a study from the Antarctic Program published in 2022, 59% of women claimed to have encountered harassment or assault while out on the ice, while 72% of women claimed that such conduct was a problem in Antarctica.

The Associated Press concluded that the issue extends beyond harassment. The AP discovered a pattern of women who claimed that their employers minimized their claims of harassment or assault, frequently putting them or others in further danger. 

This pattern was revealed through a review of court records and internal communications, as well as through interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.

In one instance, a lady who accused a coworker of groping her was forced to work with him once again. In another case, a lady who reported a sexual assault at her workplace was subsequently dismissed. 

Another lady said that her claims of rape were lowered by base managers to harassment. Unless a victim publicly identifies themselves, the AP typically does not name people who claim to have been sexually assaulted.

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Source: ABC News

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