Sexual abuse in academia

(15 Posts)
PausingFlatly Tue 11-Oct-16 12:57:26

I don't even know what I want to say about these articles, other than a depressed, "So no change there, then."

What is it about universities that they're still behaving like this?

Sexual harassment of students by university staff hidden by non-disclosure agreements, Guardian 26 Aug 2016
Scale of sexual abuse in UK universities likened to Savile and Catholic scandals, Guardian 7 Oct 2016

(Sorry if there's already a thread about this - couldn't find one.)

PausingFlatly Wed 12-Oct-16 10:01:47

Is there another thread?

YetAnotherSpartacus Wed 12-Oct-16 10:13:03

I don't know if there is another thread, but the articles utterly failed to surprise me, knowing what I know about universities. It's not just about sexual aspects of unequal treatment / violence either. Many women have had their work appropriated by men, their ideas stolen and their careers ruined. Being spoken over, spoken down to and patronised are daily occurrences for many women. Bullying is rife. Women tend to end up with teaching heavy work allocations and men get special roles / jobs that take them away from teaching and give them the capacity to develop their careers. I could go on ...

scallopsrgreat Wed 12-Oct-16 10:19:56

Men in positions of power, isn't it? Again.

PausingFlatly Wed 12-Oct-16 12:54:41

I'd hoped this culture in universities was of the past. sad

I'm finding it particularly hideous because we talk of education as some sort of "solution" to a culture of male entitlement and sexual violence. Yet here it is thriving... in educational institutions.

And education is supposed to empower women, and by the nature of universities they're home to women who are clever, articulate and analytical. Yet having all that still isn't enough to mount an effective opposition to the power structure. (Which is a comment on the structure, not the women.)

YetAnotherSpartacus Wed 12-Oct-16 13:03:46

PF - I don't know what to say really. I agree with you, but I think that the culture change in universities has been from 'Ivory Tower' (men with privilege based on status and class in a closed system) to 'Intellectual Wall Street' (men fighting for power in a cut-throat world). The place of women (as prizes and helpmeets for ambitious men) has changed little.

Yeah. It sucks.

PausingFlatly Wed 12-Oct-16 19:50:32

I see the Press Association has picked up the original article - does anyone know if this has this sparked any further interest?

I hope I'm wrong, but I can quite imagine this being the World's Worse-Kept Secret for women actually within academia. While coming under Too Hard / Don't Give a Shit for for many people outside.

LineyReborn Wed 12-Oct-16 19:53:12

I've had a difficult few days reviewing my PhD years and early days of lectureship, including looking at paperwork I kept.

It was horrendous.

I think it looks very much the same now.

erinaceus Thu 13-Oct-16 06:06:56

I did not feel particularly surprised by the articles, although some of the stories were really quite distressing. Are there any positive stories, of women who have won sexual harassment cases or where the perpetrators career has been left in tatters due to their conduct? I think it could be helpful to collate and share such stories, if they existed. The only examples I know of are of the opposite: the victim put up, shut up, and left, in the end.

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Thu 13-Oct-16 06:23:58

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I could reel off countless incidents I'm aware of, including my own experience as a PhD student. I have never known of any consequences for the perpetrators. Well, there was one case where the individual concerned was so notorious for his sexual advances to students that he was rewarded punished by not having to do any teaching for the rest of his career. His female colleagues picked up the slack.

Lee Salter was sacked. Eventually. I don't know of any other cases where perpetrators of abuse or bullying have suffered. I know a couple of victims whose careers weren't ruined. They achieved this by acting as if nothing was happening, basically.

YetAnotherSpartacus Thu 13-Oct-16 11:11:21

I don't know of any cases where the victim (woman) has won. Mostly, as Buffy said, we are cautioned to keep quiet. HR will protect the men and colleagues will melt away / blame the victim (including the women, sadly).

There are also cases of male students behaving in inappropriate ways towards female faculty (stalking, threatening, etc.). These are rarely dealt with either.

I had a male colleague 'come on to me' once. I met him socially because I'm a bit obtuse sometimes and have the audacity to think of myself as a mildly interesting person irrespective of my 'exciting girly bits'. Put another way, I automatically think of myself as a human, not a fuck hole. So I went out thinking we'd have an intellectual conversation between equals. He was presuming he'd get laid (he had a DP and DSC at the time). I promptly put him in his place, and then told a couple of colleagues about him. They pretty much told me I was naive and 'should have known'. I have been wary about socialising with males at work since. Not a traumatic experience really, but one that reminded me again that my value lies between my legs and not my ears.

vesuvia Thu 13-Oct-16 12:03:27

erinaceus wrote - "Are there any positive stories, of women who have won sexual harassment cases or where the perpetrators career has been left in tatters due to their conduct? I think it could be helpful to collate and share such stories, if they existed."

An article about a philosophy professor in Florida who was "forced to leave his post":
www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/arts/colin-mcginn-philosopher-to-leave-his-post.html

A thought-provoking article by a woman who was a victim of another philosophy professor, in which she makes the point that even if a woman wins her case, it's always a hollow "victory":
www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/09/academia-winning-sexual-harassment-complaint

vesuvia Thu 13-Oct-16 12:59:51

An article about a science professor in California who "stepped down from his faculty position":
www.nature.com/news/berkeley-releases-report-on-astronomer-sexual-harassment-case-1.19068

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