What I’ve gone through (so far)

Posted: July 11, 2011 by Jender in harassment, sexual harassment

I’m about to write my MA thesis, and will be applying Phd programs this fall. With a BA and half way through an MA program, here’s what I’ve gone through (so far):
1. I’ve been offered a mistress position.
2. Right after a colloquium at a prestigious philosophy conference, I was asked out from across the room, in front of 40 or so people, by a man old enough to be my dad … . And worse, I was asked out by him again the next day at the same conference.
3. I was given a card with a phone number on it by a philosopher old enough to be my grandfather at a philosophy conference, which he then said: “call me some time.”
All of this happened during the last two years of my BA.

Now, for year 1 of my MA:
4. A faculty member tried to kiss me in my office.
5. While at a pub after a workshop, one of the (philosophy) speakers kept trying to play footsies with me. When it didn’t work, he put his hand on my thigh. I took the hand off and asked about his wife and kids.

I have been really discouraged by these experiences. I think they have put a nice dent in my confidence to be able to do good work in philosophy. I already feel super insecure about my intelligence as it is, coming from a working-class family and being the first to obtain a university degree and the first to attend grad school.

That said, I’m still going to apply to the top schools of my choice and hope that I get into one. I don’t doubt that more shit will happen but it’s a battle that I’m willing to fight. AND, if I ever make it, my voice will be heard loud and clear!

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