Sexual harassment, and more sexual harassment

Posted: October 28, 2010 by Jender in sexual harassment

I was a graduate student in philosophy at one of the top 10 programs in the U.S. in the early 1990s. I was sexually molested by my primary advisor and left the program after two years. It took me a full decade to work up the courage to return to academia. I couldn’t bring myself to apply to the same program, any other program in the same city, or even to study the same sub-field of philosophy – but I did muster enough resolve to apply to a single philosophy program near where I lived, and was admitted.

Some three years into that program, a philosopher who had been a fellow advisee at the previous program visited for a workshop. He is now a full professor at a Leiter-top-20 research university. I joined the former fellow advisee and a group for dinner/drinks after the workshop. We reminisced a bit. When he asked the “why did you leave?” question, I decided to be honest and briefly described what had happened. He greeted the story with sympathy (but not surprise) and then proceeded to get so drunk that — much to my embarrassment and horror — he attempted to openly grope and fondle me on the walk back to the university.

I didn’t report the problem because: (1) the philosopher in question is one of the top researchers in my primary AOS (a predominantly male subfield of philosophy), and (2) the university’s sexual harassment policy does not apply to lecturers from other universities.

But I did finish the PhD.

Comments are closed.