Recent events and the on-going dialogue about our discipline have been very difficult for me.
While in graduate school, a colleague attempted to rape me using physical force. He was an advanced, highly-regarded student in our department. He also (so I thought) happened to be, until that point, a close friend.
To this day, I have only told two people. At the time, I consulted my two closest feminist philosopher friends and asked for advice. We went through every conceivable option and all agreed that I shouldn’t take any action. Because I had “escaped”, I had no “evidence” other than my word against his. He had a wife with a baby on the way, and became very outgoing while consuming alcohol. Very few people would believe me and even the few potential advocates would not be able to act in any official capacity. (This is why I don’t think coming forward would protect other women.)
I’m now working in a TT position (which several male philosophers told me I got because I’m a woman.) I honestly think nothing would come of me breaking the silence other than my professional reputation undergoing a public bashing.
Posted: April 2, 2014 by Jender in sexual harassment
It is not only graduate students and younger professors in philosophy departments who are subject to harassment from male professors. Many of us who do not stay in academia end up on its periphery, as editors, journalists, independent scholars, activists, and in other roles.
It is decidedly not uncommon to be harassed, even stalked, at APA and other conferences. When one’s role is editor or journalist, for example, one is in the unenviable position of having to interact with the harasser at a press booth or in an interview room; one’s job requires it. This can lead to repeated uncomfortable incidents, and there is no recourse that I am aware of.
Posted: April 1, 2014 by Jender in Uncategorized
I am a junior faculty member a few years out from my Ph.D. I graduated from a top institution, have a pretty decent publication list for someone in my position, and consistently receive high scores on my teaching evaluations.
Recently, I decided to leave academia for a variety of personal reasons, none of which were about my ability to be a philosopher. I decided to tell the Head of Department in person first, before formally submitting my resignation.
His reply? “Oh well, some people aren’t cut out for philosophy.”