I was, like all too many of our young women, a college rape victim. Now, I have to say that people’s reaction to the actual event was fully supportive of me. But what struck me is what I deal with 5 years later, as a new graduate student.
I face the constant suggestion that my “baggage” makes me unsuitable for graduate school. It’s often the very kindly put suggestion that perhaps I should “find something less stressful to do.” It’s also stuff like finding myself passed over for recommendations because I’ve been labelled as not being able to handle things. It’s a constant little irritation, being seen as “weaker” because I still deal with the effects of rape.
What strikes me is how often the things I struggle with are not even related to my philosophical capability, but to the academic environment. I freak out when I have to deal with men being excessively loud and aggressive or invading my personal space. I strongly dislike people using examples about rape or sexual assault, especially when another would do just as well. Or my needing time off to go to therapy or try a medication. It’s almost never a problem with, you know, my actual academic ability.