That’s what’s wrong with being hit on

Posted: July 10, 2012 by Jender in sexual harassment

Oh my, I’m embarrassed to say that I recognize my own previous sentiments in the entry below, the one that ends, “So my question is, what’s wrong with being hit on?” I once thought that other women (and men for that matter) who responded badly to being hit on by professors were just not taking it as well as I did, not managing better.
Then I read Martha Nussbaum’s contribution to _Singing in the Fire_. See especially page 100: “Even Owen’s relatively benign pattern of sexual harassment, though, created an atmosphere in which women had no dignity… I knew I would go on working with him, and that I would not sleep with him, and that he would never turn against me. But that was really not adequate. The woman who complained was right and I was wrong.”
It was a *click* moment for me to read that. In retrospect, I feel as though I just reinforced the conception of men in my department that women who didn’t respond as I did were the ones with a problem. I regret not backing up all women. I left unhappy classmates isolated. I let others think I was getting ahead because I was cute. Everyone was compromised. And that’s what is wrong with being hit on.

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