Last week there was a lively discussion here on MT of the problem of sexual harassment that occurs in the field, where anthropologists do their work. The 'field' is sometimes a laboratory, but the particular problem discussed related to the field 'out there' more remote from the university, often far from urban areas and importantly often in other countries.
The discussion concerned many aspects of how we know the extent and diversity of the problem, and that didn't get resolved, but the real problem now at hand is what to do about it....or, more cogently, that something should be done about it.
How to address such a topic in a way that actually gains consensus that is more than pro-forma agreements to bureaucratic documents that can be filed away to guard against lawsuits, and to get real compliance, is not so obvious. Acceptable sexual behavior is subtle, culturally variable and not all people agree on what the rules should be, though there's no disagreement that assault, including rape, is unacceptable.
So, if people really care about this subject, as it clearly seems they should, then what is needed is to try to find some way to formulate policies and procedures that might actually work. Discussions about how awful the problem is are fine, but realistically implementable ways to constrain action in unusual, hard-to-monitor settings is what needs attention. If the ongoing discussion since the Anthropology meetings has brought that attention to this issue, great. It clearly needs to continue.