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Systemic Sexual Harassment

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Systemic Sexual Harassment (SSH) is the deliberate and sometimes co-ordinated harassment of an individual, their public legacy, or the beneficiaries of their estate, by threatening or invoking sustained legal action over complaints of sexual abuse or related offences. The motivators for Systemic Sexual Harassers can be financial, personal (i.e. retribution), fame or publicity, or even mental disturbance/fantasism. The accusations may be false, or have some grounding in reality. In the latter case, accusations often arise years later - for example, when the harasser or their accomplices reads a news story or is contacted by a law enforcement agent or journalist trawling for complainants to bolster the case for the prosecution/federal agencies. High profile (and high net-worth) individuals are often victims of SSH - sometimes choosing to settle out of court for large financial sums. Complainants may be one-time, or serial (pattern) harassers.

Very often (and even when prosecutions fail), Systemic Sexual Harassers are not identified due to legal confidentiality/immunity regulations and social taboos around disbelieving accusers and holding them accountable for lying. Since there is often little downside for harassers (they are often straw men, with nothing to lose), this problem persists in an age marked by rampant social media and fast-spreading rumors.

Systemic Sexual Harassment is different to the many well publicized cases of "calling out" or "shaming" over sex allegations in mainstream and social media. However, complainants are often urged to pursue the accused through the legal system, which may result (depending on the veracity/nature of the accusations), in a case of systemic harassment.


There are many high-profile victims of SSH. We list just a few examples.

Found guilty - SSH pattern indicated

  • Rolf Harris - Accusations were inconsistent, massively delayed and concerned voluntary, low-level sex acts. Financial incentive.[1]
  • Bill Cosby - Pursuit of an individual who was most likely sexually promiscuous - variety of events outside of Statute of Limitations - trawling and financial incentives heavily indicated.

Not guilty/posthumous estate - SSH confirmed

  • Helmut Kentler - State of Berlin used as cash cow, political party involved.
  • Jimmy Savile - Most probably highly promiscuous celebrity engaged in voluntary activities with his fans. Posthumous estate trolling by harassers/publicity storm.[2] This led to the pursuit and convictions of Stuart Hall and Max Clifford in similar public historic trawling operations motivated by money and publicity.
  • Paul Gambaccini - Held under suspicion - state trawling operation[3] had successfully found harassers. No charges.
  • Cliff Richard - As per above.

See also