Tag Archives: University

Bekah

For seven months I worked in a research group at a UK university. The group consisted of just two members of staff, me and my manager. On my second day he shouted at me, telling me how stupid I was. Often he would sit next to me with his hand on my leg while we analysed data together. Once I made a mistake in my experiment and he laughed, but clapped me on the back so hard that it hurt. I was very unwell at the time and felt unable to do anything about my manager’s behaviour. I didn’t know where to look for support from my department as I was very isolated from other staff and I knew that other staff had seen what was happening but not taken any action. I knew I needed a good reference from him to get another job. So I left, and pretended it was due to circumstances outside work. I was unemployed for two months while I found another job in a different city. I now work at the same university again, in a different research group, but I sometimes see him, and hide. I don’t know what the right thing is to do. Confront him? Report him? Hope to successfully avoid him until he retires? If he sees me, be polite? Be honest? I don’t know. I hope he isn’t doing the same thing to anyone else. I don’t want to endanger my position and relationships at my current job, and I am still ill, and feel I don’t have the energy to take on the additional stress of making a formal complaint.

Phoebe

Was messing around with my classmates at uni and threw a balloon across the room, one of them turned round and said “that is such a girly throw!” And laughed. Yes I am a girl and why is throwimy like a girl a bad thing? #everydaysexism

Gang raped

I was 15. I was rebellious and ran away from home. While gone I partied at a nightclub. Me and a guy I knew went out back to smoke. Next thing I know 3 guys are forcing themselves upon me in a dark parking lot. I tried to fight and scream so they shoved gravel in my mouth. Thank god I was drunk so I can’t remember details. For 10 years I told no one because I thought it was my fault for being somewhere I shouldn’t or for being drunk. I was so ashamed and filled with self hatred. Then in college I took a class in Women’s Studies and the professor taught me that violence is never ok and it is NEVER the victims fault. I got it and everything changed. Especially inside me. I started volunteering at a Women’s shelter and soon after I was hired as a crisis worker. I was good at my job because I really understood where these women were coming from I can’t tell you how many times I told a client that it’s not her fault no matter what it’s not her fault I worked my way all the way to being executive director of that program.

Samantha

I am an undergraduate student who recently got accepted into medical school, and I could not be more excited. Over the years, I have shadowed many physicians in preparation for my future career. Many of the male doctors assume I want to go into women-dominated fields such as OB/GYN or pediatrics without bothering to ask me if my interests lie elsewhere. Many male physicians have asked me how I plan to manage a family on top of my career and want to know if I’ve considered that I would be missing prime years of my life for childbearing during medical school. I found these comments and questions extremely personal and insulting and felt very discouraged by them. I highly doubt male students get these questions. I even had one doctor offer to let me shadow him only to find out later that he used shadowing as means to get to know me because he thought I was attractive. He wanted to have inappropriate relations with me and promised if I “stuck” with him he could help me get into medical school. It opened my eyes to how women are viewed in the medical field and motivated me to work harder than ever to prove to myself and other physicians that I am worthy of saving lives and helping others regardless of gender. As a physician, I will treat all people with respect and hope to encourage more women to enter the medical field.

Jenny

University of Durham, Careers Fair: I was talking to a guy from Morgan Stanley and he was like how can I help you, and I said give me a job, and he replied first you give me a blow job. I was shocked that some representing a large, multinational, financial institution thought that this would be an acceptable comment to make.

Kristen Reed

It had been puzzling to me why I felt a bit depressed this past week. My anger was just below the surface waiting to burst out of the water at the slightest irritation, and I couldn’t sort out why. To my husband I had to blame hormones (which, at my age is definitely part of the cocktail) but there has been something more…an oppressive cloud I refused to acknowledge. The root of my anger comes from years of being traumatized by men in one form or another. I’m too sensitive they say, or too emotional, but after nearly 40 years of self-suppression, it rips holes in one’s skin where steaming geysers form in every direction. Let go of your anger they say. Love is the answer they say… That’s all well and good, but once you let down the barrier of anger what remains is the overwhelming sadness that at every turn nothing has changed. Sure, Harvey Weinstein is getting a public lashing. But he is only one man. One guilty party in the sea of acceptable misogyny, that women all over the world are forced to tolerate with a smile, every single day. It isn’t just Hollywood, or the performing arts in general. Corporate culture, and even our own governments (who think it’s not only their right but their responsibility to control how we take care of our bodies) constantly exacerbate the problem. The urge to vomit out the onerous sorrow impresses upon me from every angle. All I want is one moment’s peace, an exhalation, sanctuary from being constantly on guard. Don’t you think I want to let it down, be free, laugh and smile, dance about when it pleases me? I do it anyway, so much, all the time, but it comes with advances, stares, leers, and uninvited guests. What are we supposed to do? It can seem easier to oversexualize ourselves, where we have the power and control, but the opposite effect arises…bringing the unwanted closer and in turn they feel granted with permission. I feel everything and nothing about this display of public outrage. The rest of these men are wiping their brow, for now, as we slaughter the sacrificial lamb (or wolf) center stage. But this too shall pass, and the lurking shadows will come to life once more, behaving as they have always done. Passing whispers in our ears, indignation if we reject remarks on our beauty, manly chortles when we assert boundaries, or god forbid intelligent ideas. And those are only the mild degradations. I am tired of being angry, sad, and frustrated. All I want to do is lay down my weapons in this fight. But how can I?

Anonymous

#metoo 1) Aged 10. In the cloakroom at school on my own. Two traveller boys enter, and unexpectedly start touching my bum. And laughing. That laughter, I still remember that sound. I was scared & embarrassed, and too young & scared to say or do anything. I kept my distance from them for the rest of primary school. 2) Aged 18. Freshers week. Drinking games. Such a cliche, stupidly blind drunk. Hazy blurred memories of being in bed with one of my new ‘friends’, who I don’t recall liking that well, him trying to force his penis inside me, but not being able as I wasn’t even remotely aroused. Him putting it in my mouth instead. Waking the next day to a foul taste & such a sense of shame and guilt. My fault/not my fault? I don’t remember consenting. Or not. Another ‘friend’ shows me a picture later of me being dragged back along the floor of the corridor to my room that night by my arms. I have no clear recollection. The rest of the year, trying to avoid the guy, never telling anyone. But he tells. And his friends start making blow job faces at me whenever they pass by. I feel sick just thinking about it & how stupid I was.

Anonymous

I was walking down the hall and a group of guys started very obviously looking me up and down and whistling. One of them winked at me, and there was a professor right there! The professor was a guy, and didn’t do anything. I just walked a little faster and gave them a dirty look, but I wished I had done something.