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Mon Oct 16, 2017, 10:27 AM

A personal story about sexual harrassment and buried memories.

I was in graduate school in the early 70's. I was in my early 20's. I was married. My husband was serving in Vietnam. In order to fulfill the requirements for my Masters Degree I had 2 required courses: a language and statistics. I struggled with the statistics course taught by a young male professor. At the end of the semester, he asked me to speak to him after class. I can see myself standing alone with him in the empty classroom. He told me that he was very concerned that I would flunk the course and endanger my Masters Degree. He told me that the only way that I was going to pass the course was if I spent the weekend with him. I can see myself frozen in that room and stunned. I don't remember what I said to him but it must have been polite because later that evening I had dinner with some classmates in the school cafeteria and he approached our table...smiling. One thing that is vivid in my memory is that he had a tray of liver and onions and it stank. I think I let a day go by. I had no idea what to do. I had never been exposed to anything like this in my life. I knew, from what he had said to me, that my 3 years of graduate studies and all of that tuition was on the line. This man had put it on the line.

The next day, I made an appointment with the Dean. I told him what had happened. I was embarrassed to talk about it and, as much as I really admired this Dean, I wasn't expecting much. He looked at me, shook his head and told me that I was the third student that had come to him with the same story. This is interesting to me now looking back...there were two other women...no action had been taken based on their complaints...I was the straw that broke the camel's back. This professor was terminated or put on leave, or something. All I knew at the time was that he was gone and someone else graded my exam. I passed or was passed and I graduated and got on with my life. I forgot about the whole ugly episode.

Until Anita Hill in 1991...20 years later. By then, I had a child and was a practicing attorney. I was sitting with a friend watching Hill testify and it all flooded back...every bit of it including the stinking tray of liver and onions. I never paid a lot of attention to talk about "recovered memory" but I can tell you that it happens. After Anita Hill, I buried all of it again...until this past week and Harvey. When I close my eyes I can see it all. It doesn't bother me now because I am way out of harm's way but I remember the naive convent school girl standing in that classroom facing that little ugly shit of a Professor who had my future in his grubby hands.

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Reply A personal story about sexual harrassment and buried memories. (Original post)
Raven Oct 2017 OP
extvbroadcaster Oct 2017 #1
CountAllVotes Oct 2017 #9
Angry Dragon Oct 2017 #2
DoctorPepper Oct 2017 #11
MineralMan Oct 2017 #3
InAbLuEsTaTe Oct 2017 #4
Raven Oct 2017 #5
InAbLuEsTaTe Oct 2017 #6
Raven Oct 2017 #7
InAbLuEsTaTe Oct 2017 #8
CountAllVotes Oct 2017 #10

Response to Raven (Original post)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 10:37 AM

1. I saw this my whole working life

The harassment of women that I saw in the workplace was endless. And I have been working since I was 15. I saw producers more or less telling young women they would never get a promotion without sex. And sad to say, sometimes it worked. A young woman would be sleeping with the boss, and everybody knew it. I think it was just accepted on a certain level. But that does not mean it was right. I told one producer that did this repeatedly that he was an asshole to his face. But I was younger then.

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Response to extvbroadcaster (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 11:43 AM

9. +1,000 !!

Same story here and no, it did not stop after I quit working. It still goes on today and no one seems to give a damn!


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Response to Raven (Original post)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 10:44 AM

2. too many stories ................ power corrupts

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 01:59 PM

11. Possibly - That's the more generous explanation.

 

The less generous one (but more likely imo) is that the people who seek power are corrupt (or more easily corruptible) to begin with.

It reminds me of an Arthur C. Clarke novel wherein citizens of a distant planet (who had originally come from Earth) set up a government which selected its leader by lottery, because it was accepted doctrine that whoever would actually want the position should be disqualified.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 10:59 AM

3. I was denied my Masters back in the 1970s.

I had completed all course work with excellent marks from my professors. At that school, there was a written Masters exam, which I wrote, and knew it was more than adequate.

It was failed by the head of the program. I challenged it, and it was reviewed by other graduate professors, who said it was fine.

I discovered sometime later that I had been in a relationship with a fellow student who was a woman who had been approached and sexually harassed several times by the person who was the head of the Master's program. After she told me about what had happened, I advised her to take her complaint to the Dean of Humanities. She did. Nothing was done.

Apparently, the man learned of my advice to her. By then, that relationship was over, but not the blowback from the advice I had given my fellow student.

I dropped the whole thing, since it didn't matter to me if I had my Masters or not. I had no intention of doing anything with it, anyhow.

A very unpleasant situation. That other student went on to get her PhD at another university and is now the head of the department at her current school.

The man who took his revenge? He was successfully sued by another student he had sexually harrassed, was dismissed, and died a couple of years later of alcoholism.

Such situations are all too common, I'm afraid.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 10:59 AM

4. So sorry that happened to you... just glad you were able to complete your studies.

Not everyone is that fortunate.

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Response to InAbLuEsTaTe (Reply #4)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 11:05 AM

5. Yes. I had a Dean who was decent even though he

he let the first two women hang without doing anything. I think it was the old issue of credibility. Not much different today...dozens of women had to show up before HW got nailed.

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Response to Raven (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 11:36 AM

6. Just shows the power of women coming forward to report such crude, hostile behavior, though...

obviously, it's a complicated, difficult decision that, understandably, often goes the other way.

Your strength and courage, which, no doubt, saved countless other women the same nightmarish experience, is to be admired... kudos to you.

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Response to InAbLuEsTaTe (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 11:39 AM

7. In honesty, I'm not sure at that age that

I knew what I was doing. I only knew that it was wrong. I now shudder to think how it all could have gone the other way. I guess that's another aspect of this...it's a goddamned crap shoot when women complain.

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Response to Raven (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 11:41 AM

8. I hear ya... WAY past time to make a change.

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Response to Raven (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 16, 2017, 01:14 PM

10. YOU deserved it

That is what they'll try to get you to agree to and believe no matter how very wrong it is/was.

Shame on these SOBs, Shame on Them!


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