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Welcome to Feminisms. First things first, some business -- here's the intro to the series so you know what you've jumped into here if you're new:
   

Feminisms is a series of weekly feminist diaries. My fellow feminists and I decided to start our own for several purposes: we wanted a place to chat with each other, we felt it was important to both share our own stories and learn from others’, and we hoped to introduce to the community a better understanding of what feminism is about.

   Needless to say, we expect disagreements to arise. We have all had different experiences in life, so while we share the same labels, we don’t necessarily share the same definitions. Hopefully, we can all be patient and civil with each other, and remember that, ultimately, we’re all on the same side.

If you think you'd be interested in writing a Feminisms diary one week email me and we'll try to get you set up in the calendar. We've had some excellent people hosts and topics so far. If you have something special you're itching to write about and we haven't covered it yet, please email!

I'd like to start this evening with some background information that I think is relevant to the stories I am going to tell. I'd also like to offer up some definitions and links for everyone. So, first things first,

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.The legal definition of sexual harassment is "unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment."

Unwelcome

Conduct is not sexual harassment if it is welcome.For this reason, it is important to communicate (either verbally, in writing, or by your own actions) to the harasser that the conduct makes you uncomfortable and that you want it to stop.

Conduct Of A Sexual Nature

Many different kinds of conduct—verbal, visual or physical—that is of a sexual nature may be sexual harassment, if the behavior is unwelcome and if it is severe or pervasive. Here are some more examples:
 

  • Verbal or written: Comments about clothing, personal behavior, or a person’s body; sexual or sex-based jokes; requesting sexual favors or repeatedly asking a person out; sexual innuendoes; telling rumors about a person’s personal or sexual life; threatening a person

  •    
  • Physical: Assault; impeding or blocking movement; inappropriate touching of a person or a person’s clothing; kissing, hugging, patting, stroking

  •    
  • Nonverbal: Looking up and down a person’s body; derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature; following a person

  •    
  • Visual: Posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers or emails of a sexual nature
  • What is sex discrimination?

    When you are treated differently because of your sex and when the different treatment negatively affects the "terms or conditions of employment," it is illegal. "Terms or conditions of employment" include position, pay, title, being hired or fired from a job, and advancement and training opportunities.

    Students can also be the victims of sex discrimination if teachers or other students discriminate against you because of your sex.

    Examples of Sex Discrimination:

    Note: I'm including Hiring and Firing here, but there are more at the link.

    These examples of sex discrimination are to help you decide if you are being discriminated against because of your sex.
       

  • Hiring
         You apply for a job as an executive consultant.Although you have experience and excellent qualifications, you are not hired because some of the company’s long-time clients are more comfortable dealing with men.

  •    
  • Firing
         You are told that you are laid off due to company cutbacks and reorganization.However, men in the same job and with less seniority keep their jobs.
  • And now, some stories.

    I live in Bible Belt territory. Not quite in the middle of it, but the northern edges. This is my third year working at a nearby Community College. I am up for tenure this semester and I have been informed that the procedures at this point are basically a formality. Tenure will be officially offered to me in about one month. I don't have any intention of accepting that offer when it is made. There are several reasons for my decision. One is that I'm interested in making a career change. Another is that I've been living in this area for 11 years and I'm itching for a big city. A third is that the atmosphere at work is toxic.

    When I say the atmosphere is toxic at work I mean several different things. There are problems that exist that some of us attempt to address only to be met with "these things take time", or "it isn't possible to fire or demote a tutor who insists on helping students cheat on exams and plagiarize papers", or the fact that I can't walk down one hallway by Administrative offices without having one Vice President stand in his doorway and look me up and down every day. Doesn't matter what I'm wearing: a suit, a dress, a skirt, jeans, baggy pants, a school sweatshirt on a Friday or "Spirit Day" (I hate those btw). No matter what I wear, he ogles. He can't seem to help himself. Some days he takes the pleasure of adjusting himself as his eyes linger. And he doesn't just stare at me. He stares at other faculty members, staff members, he stares at students! The toxicity doesn't stop there with that one Administrator, or with those few other examples. It gets worse. There's more. I could write a weekly series on the variety of bullshit that various faculty and staff members or students have had to put up with. I have tried to make it better. In some ways I have been successful, in others, I am exhausted trying.

    With regard to the Administrator with the staring problem. He and I had other issues. He had a small respect problem. Whenever I spoke up during Committee meetings he felt that it was acceptable to roll his eyes, sigh loudly, tap his pen on the table impatiently, and/or interrupt me mid-sentence. I spoke to the Chair of my dept. about it and nothing was done. I spoke to my boss, the other VP, (I also mentioned the staring to him), and the behaviors stopped for a few weeks. When they returned before the break and he interrupted me for the third time during our last committee meeting during finals week I finally stood up at the table and said, "I apologize to the rest of the Committee for having to interrupt our business here and deal with your behavior, but the way you interrupt me, the way you treat me, the way you look at me, is unacceptable, and if it doesn't change you're going to have a serious problem on your hands." He has been avoiding me this semester so far. Today when I passed by his office he was in the doorway. He held eye contact with me and nodded and started to go back into his office as I passed. Of course, I turned my head seconds later to see him staring...again.

    This week I learned the stories of 2 other women working at my school. These two women are staff. They aren't in a union like I am. They don't have as much protection as I have. There are other differences between us. I am 29. These women are older. Both in their late 30s now. They grew up here. They have family ties here. I didn't and I don't. They have children. They are going through or are recently divorced. I don't have children. I have never been married. I have myself and myself alone (well, and my three cats, but that's hardly similar). Our situations are different. This is why they feel they must stay and this is why I choose to leave.

    The first woman, we'll call her Kim, began working as an Administrative Assistant 18 years ago. She was around 20 at the time. She had an Associates Degree. She was single. Fourteen years ago she became pregnant.  She was told by her boss then (who is now the President of the college), we'll call him Harry, that being single and pregnant was unacceptable. She was told that if she didn't get married she would be fired. She didn't know her rights. She knew that was "wrong", but she didn't see another way. So she got married.

    Kim stayed in her first marriage to an abusive alcoholic for 3.5 years. She got divorced. Harry told her in so many words that divorce was "unbecoming to a woman" and that she shouldn't expect to get far in life as a divorced woman. Sounds like a threat to me, but again, Kim didn't know what to do. She was a single mom with a child to support. She had only her Associates Degree and her family nearby to help her. A few years later Kim got remarried and had another child. About two years ago she got divorced. After her second divorce Jim told her that she would need to complete a Bachelor's Degree in order to keep her current position. Kim enrolled in school to complete the degree. She recently met with Harry to discuss the fact that she's about to complete her BA. His response to her was: "Well, I don't know why you spent your money on that. You're not getting a raise and you're certainly not getting promoted." Some time in the last few weeks Harry had his current Assistant tell Kim that her drinking on the weekends at that "Black Bar" was having a negative effect on the College and that it was recommended that she stop visiting such establishments and hanging around with "those" people.

    In case you haven't noticed yet, Harry is a real winner.

    The second woman I'd like to tell you about works in an accounting-related position. I'll call her Rita. Rita was up for performance review a few weeks ago. Harry told Rita's supervisor to give her a poor review. What, you want to know some of the things Rita does poorly as far as her job is concerned? Well, Rita wears clothes that are "unprofessional". Her boots are "distracting". Her shirts show too much "cleavage". Her skirs are too short. You see, someone might see Rita and assume that there are whores working at the college!

    What else does Rita do poorly? Ummm...well...ummm...she may have gotten into a disagreement with one faculty member recently where she was a bit short with them after they apparently filled out some forms wrong and caused a near accounting disaster which almost cost the school a large sum of money. Okay, so maybe Rita should have been nicer to that person. We'll give them that one.

    Rita was also told that her behavior outside of work wasn't considered acceptable. You see, Rita's divorce was recently finalized. She's been hanging out at those..yep, you guess it... "Black Bars"!! And rumor has it, she might even have a Black boyfriend!! OH NO! What will people think?! So, Harry has told Rita that because she received a poor performance review, she will be reviewed again in 6 months. In other words, Rita has 6 months to clean up her act and get rid of that Black boyfriend, the Black Bar, and stop wearing those slutty outfits. Only then will her job be secure. If not? Well, I don't know what you're expecting, but I'm expecting Rita will get another poor performance review.

    One of the things we're starting to do is try to get the staff at our college to join our faculty union. They are allowed to do so under NEA rules, and adding them to our ranks would make us one solid bargaining unit. It would offer them the protection that they so clearly need for so many reasons. I could continue telling you horror stories. This is just a small sampling of some of the things that have happened at this college. Oh, another priceless one was the creation of a "Minority Faculty Recruitment and Retention Committee". Guess who was on that committee the first year it existed? If you guessed "every minority (i.e. black person) who works at the college" you were right. They added me and two other female faculty this year as well as a few white female staffers. You know, because women are the other minority.

    I have asked these women about their rights. I have talked to them about considering legal advice and maybe action.  I have talked to them about other opportunities in the area and outside of the area. I have encouraged them not to let this behavior stand. I certainly won't be letting it go. I plan on talking to our union representative to see what the best course of action is.

    I felt compelled tonight to share these stories. I know there are people out there who believe this behavior doesn't exist anymore. I don't know where they work, but it sure as hell isn't where I work. Do you have similar stories to share? Do you have advice to give? We need to make these stories public. Only with sunlight will the behavior be exposed and hopefully be stopped.

    Originally posted to Elise on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:06 PM PST.

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    Comment Preferences

    •  Tip Jar...for equality...goddamit! (120+ / 0-)

      Thanks for reading...

      •  How you doing, baby? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, boofdah, wiscmass

        Senator Feingold: American Hero.

        by Basil on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:05:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh Basil... (9+ / 0-)

          I'm shaking my head at you...that's how I'm doing.

          •  I'm sorry. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, Elise

            To be honest, I only skimmed the top part of the thread and assumed it was just a general primer on sexual harassment, which is why I thought it would be ok to make a silly, jerkish comment.

            Now that I see the second part, I take it back. The diary deserved a more serious reponse, which I will now give:

            The girl I've been in love with since I was 17 (for the past 3 years essentially) has dealt with her fair share of abuse. One day in high school she asked me, "Basil, do I have a sign on my head that says "Fuck me?" I was a bit puzzled and asked her what was going on. She told me that the day before, when a guy from our high school took her home, he tried to force himself on her. Luckily,  she got away. This happens to her -- a lot. I always tell her that she behaves in a way that makes guys think she is an easy target. And to a certain extent I still think that's the problem -- her behavior. (Of course, I don't mind the fact she occassionally flirts with me, but I wanna marry her, so I'm ok to hit on :)

            But, after she told me about that guy, I realized this he has a history of behaving like this. I remember him more or less groping another girl in the middle of a lecture one day in 10th grade. And he's done this on other occassions. Basically, what I learned from this was that women's behavior isn't the cause of abuse, but it can act as a catalyst for bringing out the baser instincts of guys who has a predisposition for treating women like sex objects instead of what they really are -- cuddle buddies :)

            Anyways, that's my personal anecdote.

            Senator Feingold: American Hero.

            by Basil on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:13:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Interesting story Basil... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, Basil, begone

              and I'm glad you learned that incredibly important lesson about behavior from it.

              I hope that someone reported that asshole for HIS actions though. If he did it twice, he'll do it again and again.

            •  You might suggest (8+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, MJB, splashy, lizah, Elise, begone, SFJen, Fraggle

              to her taking a self-defense class, or even taking kickboxing at the gym, not so much to teach her actual defense skills, but to help her feel more forceful. It emanates through your walk, everything.

              I have friends who are routinely hit on by sleezoids because they do not project the kind of confidence that scares creepy dudes.

              •  I'd suggest (7+ / 0-)

                a feminist women's self-defense class.  Kickboxing or anything physical can't hurt.  But a really good self-defense class will do a lot more than increase her (or anyone's) physical confidence, it will also help them understand and prepare for a wide array of situations, including sexual harassment and acquaintance assault.  And it will give her a chance to think and talk about all the assumptions that are made about women's bodies, women's power, women's sexuality, etc.  (OK, maybe not ALL the assumptions about all those things, but at least some of them).

                Model mugging in most cities is good, although really intense; I know the names of the programs in many major cities if you want to ask.

                (I used to teach feminist women's self-defense, if you can't tell)

                •  Model Mugging Rocks!! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tryptamine, Elise

                  What an amazing program! A good friend of mine took a course several years ago, and I had the good fortune of attending the graduation ceremony. Talk about palpable empowerment! As Fraggle said, it's about much more than just about the righteous beat-downs inflicted upon the would-be assailants, but wow - they were something to see.

                  I'd recommend the program to anyone (I believe they may have a version for men now as well?)

        •  basil buddy.... (9+ / 0-)

          not here...:)

          RealClimate.org- READ IT \south park democrat

          by terrypinder on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:04:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, tell me about it. (30+ / 0-)

          This stuff has been ongoing for me all week...and then today we (the English faculty, which consists of me, Susan and Robbie...who are married) were told by another jackass administrator that we need to not only do OUR jobs that we're already doing, but we also need to do his and about two other people's jobs because well, you know...they don't want to do them.

          So, I have literally spent the day wishing I could bang heads together. I'm actually glad I had the opportunity to get this out...it gave me a break from the chain smoking I've been doing as I rage in my head and fantasize about the day I get to quit.

          I think when I quit I'm going to walk by the asshole with the staring problem, wait for him to stare and adjust himself and say, "Oh, are you having one of those days where you have to keep grabbing it to remind yourself that it's still there? Feeling a bit insecure? Or is it that you like what you see SO much that you can't control it? Either way, you can go fuck yourself."

          sigh...

          I really REALLY want to do that...

          •  Jobs and fulfillment (9+ / 0-)

            we also need to do his and about two other people's jobs because well, you know...they don't want to do them.

            I don't want to redirect the thread, but this is an epidemic. There is a lot of confusion between the idea that it is good to enjoy your job, and the idea that you are entitled to enjoy every aspect of your job, and anything you don't enjoy, you leave for more responsibly minded employees (who get stuck with every last unwanted duty in the vicinity).

            An epidemic.

            This space intentionally left blank.

            by MattK D1 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:29:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You need a bigger city. (12+ / 0-)

            It sounds like a hellhole, Elise.  

            I moved around a few times in my career.  If you are unhappy, it rarely gets better.  I think leaving from there is the right thing, but staying long enough for tenure is good.  You need it for your resume.

            There are laws, but working folks have to take care of themsleves first.  Court cases are long and difficult.  As you know, folks have to put food on the table.

            I'm sorry things are so difficult for you right now.  Hang in there.  Don't despair.  Rent Life of Brian and watch the end and sing, "always look on the bright side of life, ta da, ... "

            Being happy anyway in the face of oppression is a positive political act.  My view anyway.  They win if we get unhappy.  See the crap for what it is, but find happiness in something.  It is hopelessness that defeats us.  Nader used to talk about that in 2000.  When you think you cannot make any change, you stop trying, and they win.  Believing and hope are the first step.  Sounds Pollyanish, but it works.

            Anyway, enough of my rant.  

            By the way, late 30s is not really old.  :-)  I'm 51 and my girl friend is 37.  She seems quite young to me.  :-) One of thoe relativistic things.    

            Take care, Elise.  One great buddhist truth is that things are impermanent.  Sometimes that's a good thing.      
             

            Peace Now -- Defund the War

            by TomP on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:58:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks Tom :-) (7+ / 0-)

              I didn't mean to imply that I thought they were "old"...just older than me...and certainly in a place in their lives where (with kids too) they feel that moving is certainly less possible for them.

              I agree with you on the happy thing...AND on the hope as well. And I'm definitely leaving...but I'm hoping that as I leave I can try to help effect some changes there so that my leaving makes things better for those who are still there.

              •  I was just teasing about the age stuff. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tryptamine, highacidity, Elise, jessical

                Nothing like raisng hell on the way out.  :-)

                Give them something to remember you by. :-) But get tenure first.  Resumes matter.  Then tell them to fuck off as you walk out the door.  Maybe a letter to the EEOC.

                You are clearly very, very smart.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  You will succeed in making a new life somewhere.  Hey, you could be a front pager!  And, the Edwards campaign may need a new blogger.  :-)  I know it will work out just fine.

                Remember the Grateful Dead song? "What a long strange trip it's been."  You're just moving on down the line to new adventures and new people.  

                As the Beatles taught us: "You got to admit it's getting better, it's getitng better all the time.. can't get no worse."

                If you order your life on the basis of a rock and roll song, its bound to work out.  :-)

                Take care.  

                Peace Now -- Defund the War

                by TomP on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:18:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Hey Tom (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, Elise, Topaz7, TomP

              I'm in my late 30s, can I date you too, so I can seem young?

              I love my girlfriend, but damn, I feel old.

              I'm kidding.

              I think.   :P

              This space intentionally left blank.

              by MattK D1 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:39:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Question: Any point in taking tenure and then (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, Elise

            quitting? Might be a good thing on the CV.  Especially if you get it, make your comments, and then let them get all POed that they can't fire you since you have tenure, and then quit later on.

            Obviously the particulars of your situation matter and you don't owe me any explanation if you don't want to answer.  I'm just asking the question because getting tenure may help with future employment.

            •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, mvr, Petronella

              in order to officially "have" tenure I'd have to stay fall semester and I just don't think I can do that. So, I'll have the offer on my CV...and I think that's enough for me.

              •  Might well be good enough that way. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tryptamine, Elise

                You can surely say "tenure offered in nth year," or some such thing.  And that will likely rebut any presumption that you came up and did not get it or left before you were going to be turned down.

              •  I was wondering the same thing. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Elise

                if you can put the offer on your resume, then that should do the trick.

                So many comments, so many stories, but all I can say is that I hate corporate America.  Oh, and academia doesn't sound like it's generally any better.

                Here's another thing, which may not apply in your field but it may.  Promotions are one thing, but when it comes to getting hired there is a very, very low glass ceiling in some fields.  Where ever you are when you hit mid- to late-30s, you need to stay there until you retire, because that's pretty much where you hit that glass ceiling, coming in from the outside.  So keep that in mind, as you progress.

        •  Exactly! (4+ / 0-)

          After my own blackout I was able to do a comment.  I kept it real short, otherwise I could've written 50 pages just now.

      •  I'm pissed now (11+ / 0-)

        I hate men.  We can be such jerks.  I just need a moment to be mad.....

        "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Thomas Jefferson

        by Ambrosius on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:27:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If these woman file a formal complaint with HR (17+ / 0-)

        Then they will be legally protected against retaliation.  Should there be any adverse employment action taken against them subsequent to the complaint, they will have a lawsuit that any lawyer will take.

        Nobody wants to file a complaint.  Everyone is afraid to do so, and afraid that it will hurt them professionally or personally.  But, legally, it is the absolute best way to protect yourself.

        •  Thanks pontificator. (7+ / 0-)

          I didn't know that...not being a lawyer and all. I'll let them know. In this case the HR people are pretty much directly involved already, so I'm guessing we need to make copies of the complaints and maybe notify the EEOC as well? That would just be my guess.

          Thanks...

          •  You can always file a charge (11+ / 0-)

            with the EEOC.

            Or, if the HR people are complicit, you can bring it to a higher level, like university's general counsel's office.

            I can almost guarantee you, though, that you will meet resistance to your suggestion to file a complaint.  I;ve told people to do that many times, and explained to people how it's the best way to protect yourself, and yet I invariably get resistance from people who are afraid to take that step.

            •  Well, (10+ / 0-)

              I don't know if I'll be able to convince the others to do it, but I certainly can file a a complaint myself. I'm leaving, so I have no qualms about that.

              •  You should! (11+ / 0-)

                If you believe it's the right thing to do.  I would do it in writing, so noone can claim you said something you didn't say.

                If your university has good lawyers, they will then investigate, and probably interview you, the "starer," and many other people as well.  If not, and they do nothing, then one, day, maybe not today or tomorrow, someone will sue, see that this issue was brought up before and nothing was done, and then the university will get hit with a big big settlement or judgment.

                So, by complaining, you'll either get the unviersity to change it's ways, or you'll make someone else who complains later very rich.  :-)

                •  Thanks pontificator... (6+ / 0-)

                  I will definitely take your advice and do it. :-)

                  •  Think twice about that. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tryptamine

                    Unless you're going into a totally different field where no one will give a darn what these people think about you or the fact that you sued your last employer or filed a complaint against them, you may be best off voting with your feet (i.e. leaving), and just being happy to be gone.

                  •  If nothing else it is a paper trail (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tryptamine, Elise

                    making it easier for the next woman who comes along.  And chances are there will be a next woman, at least something is on the record then...

                    Thad McCotter, Republican Policy Committee Chair, on bipartisanship: "Those tribal animosities and ancient hatreds, they tend to reassert themselves."

                    by lizah on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:49:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Someone will sue. (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tryptamine, DMiller, Elise, Ice Blue

                  This is a good point. Eventually, they will piss off the wrong person.

                  My former place of employ created a hostile work environment for me because one of my co-workers refused to stop mocking me for my political beliefs. (He was a neocon asshole. He donated heavily to Santorum, Allen, Burns, DeWine. We won. Ha ha!) The owner wouldn't do anything about it. Turns out he secretly made the same donations.

                  It was disgusting. The vocal asshole would patronize me. Jerk.

                  I said in my exit interview that it was a stupid idea to let there be hostility, because eventually it would bite them in the ass.

                  •  No, they won't. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tryptamine, Elise

                    We all like to think that, but it doesn't happen.  Well, rarely, too rarely to count on.

                    Also, exit interviews are not the place for honesty.  You're out the door, who cares?  It's not like any employer will say, "oh shit, she's right, we are a bunch of jerks."  They'll just say, "what sour grapes, good riddance to her, I hope no one calls here for references - haha."

            •  Links to EEOC: (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, LIsoundview, Elise

              Their main website is at www.eeoc.gov/.  It's largely self explainatory.

              There, you can click on their definition of sexual harassment.  (You don't necessarily have to suffer pay-wise to have a valid case.)

              Here's how to file a complaint.

              I've never had a reason to file with the EEOC, but I have filed a complaint under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  It's easy to do.  You send in the forms, and then they have investigators chat with all the involved parties after, of course, informing them of the penalties for telling little fibs.  Then it could possibly go to court--but it would be the EEOC vs. your employer, not you vs. your employer.  In any case, it's guaranteed to scare the living shit out of them.

              Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

              by Ice Blue on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:40:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Don't hold your breath, though (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, Elise

              I filed with the EEOC (brain fart - feds?), spent two years of energy following up on it, and it came to nada.  In general, I've heard that they're only interested in cases involving multiple people, not so much on individuals.

              I filed in order to show the other women in the area that there was a process for getting justice.  Turns out I was wrong and they were right - it's a white man's world.

              My "bad" evaluation boiled down to "being unable to motivate students" because the Dean didn't hear me call any of them by name during the 50 minutes she was in my classroom, although she voluntarily wrote down that they asked a lot of questions...

              It's important to pick your fights.  And Brian Martin has a helpful web site, suppression of dissent, for anyone who is a whistleblower or suppressed in any professional environment.  It was a godsend to hear about the struggles other people went through.

              Best wishes!

              Where'd that default sig come from??

              by Unknown Quantity on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 11:38:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Always make copies. (4+ / 0-)

            I think it's important to always make copies. Your administration doesn't sound trustworthy. I would copy everything, especially with signatures.

          •  As pontificator suggests, you all might benefit (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, Elise

            from a talk with a lawyer.  Often first interviews are free while the lawyer looks into whether s/he can make any money in the case.

        •  And they will never find another job. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine

          If you're going to do that, you need to be sure that you can live off the damages you will get for the rest of your life.

          Legally is one thing, professionally and personally are another (or two others).  They will find a way to get rid of you, or make you quit, and you will never find another job.  References, and all that.  You think people want to hire someone who sued her last employer?

          Sorry to be cynical, but well, I am.

        •  True but there's still unofficial retaliation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise

          It is a good thing to do but it is not a painless action.

          I filed an EEOC complaint in my case, and while there was no "official" recrimination there were a ton of small minor things.  It was no longer possible to talk to other professors the same way; the men were all busy jumping back to put 10 feet of space between me and them and rather than concentrating on my or my question they were busy shuffling papers and books to erect a physical barrier on their desk.

          The female profs would clandestinely lurk in their doorways, look both ways up and down the hall and if it was clear hurry me in, close the door, whisper they knew other students and would contact them but it had to be hush hush, sorry can't help more, ok, out you go...

          Thad McCotter, Republican Policy Committee Chair, on bipartisanship: "Those tribal animosities and ancient hatreds, they tend to reassert themselves."

          by lizah on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:48:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Retaliation is a good claim (4+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately, it seems to be easier to prevail on a claim that you were retaliated against for complaining than on the actual underlying harassment that you complained about.  That is, it's a pretty easy case to make that you suffered an adverse employment event (bad review, "probation," termination) following a complaint to HR, easier than it is to prove that you suffered those things because you were a woman being harassed.  

          I'm a lawyer, too, and while employment law is not my specialty, those I know who do practice it would much rather have a retaliation claim than only have the underlying wrongful conduct claim to prove. You protect your rights more effectively, in a myriad of ways, by promptly reporting (and reporting as often as necessary).  In fact, for some sexual harassment, you may be required to have utilized your company's HR grievance procedure before filing an EEOC claim, to prevail.  So, go to HR.

          That said, I'm a lawyer and have been sexually harassed myself.  I think it's a bit of a chronic condition endemic to the practice of law, where most senior positions are occupied by men.  This situation got way out of hand, with a more senior male colleague undermining me in front of clients and subordinate staff members, ridiculing me, assigning me "secretary-type" tasks when I challenged his theories/strategies (to put me in my place, usually in front of subordinate staff members), etc.  All of it started shortly after I declined to sleep with him following a firm happy hour.  I went to HR, and learned that at least 3 other women, another attorney, a secretary, and a paralegal, had similar complaints.  

          The firm's response - to remove me from the case on which the offender and I were both staffed.  And to have a "serious talk" with him.  I.e., to punish me, and do nothing to him.  I did consult an attorney, but it will be far easier to prove retaliation for my report to HR than to prove that this idiot who mounted a campaign of harassment against me was behaving differently than he would to a junior attorney of any gender.  Frankly, I work in a fairly small legal community, I need my job, and I don't have the energy or inclination to pursue it at the moment, though I am obviously looking for a new job.  And firms wonder about their problems retaining female associates...

          Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

          by milton333 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:50:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are completely correct (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine

            It is much easier to prove a retaliation claim then a harassment or discrimination claim.  For that reason, if you are looking for a lawyer to take your case on contingency, you are much more likely to get one if you have made an internal complaint about harassment or discrimination, and then you got fired, demoted, had your job duties changed adversely, etc. etc.

            What I find, though, is that no one ever wants to complain, because they don't really believe they'll be protected.

            Unfortunately, what often then happans is, the person who should have complained earlier never complains, and then, when something really bad happens (like getting fired), their lawsuit is dismissed because they never complained. (or, more likely, no one will take their case).

      •  Thanks Elise for a very important topic (6+ / 0-)

        I could write a book about sexual harassment and retaliation toward female teachers by male administrators in our local public school system.  Very painful and humiliating.

        Support our Troops - Stop funding the War!!

        by annefrank on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:18:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, I was wondering if I was alone (8+ / 0-)

        Apparently I am not.  I too work in academia.  I work for a large University.  When I took the job I thought it would be a dream--public service, non-profit work, and liberal environment.

        Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

        I have had many of the same "vibes" (experiences) you have had.  I tell my husband sometimes I feel like I'm in the 60's and the men are chasing women around the desks.

        We have a high turnover in our department, but I've noticed all the ones leaving are women.  To quote one who left "It's a stifling" environment. Mine isn't as overt as yours, but it's still there.

        Oh yeah, we are a "liberal" institution.  But the male-dominated culture, the "dress code", promotions, directorships, etc. tell a different story as far as women's rights respect is concerned.  It's hard to describe to people not in the bubble--largely due to the "liberal" perception of academia.

        I fell your pain sister.  But I'm one of those late-thirty somethings who is not too interested in finding something else right now.  One more year and I'm fully vested in the retirement plan, though.  I think I might jump then and take my 6% match and go to the private sector where I can be marginalized, but make a hell of a lot more money.

        It's hard for the donkeys to win the race if they're going to carry the elephants on their backs. ~ Jim Hightower

        by TexH on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:32:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's so hard to hear (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MattK D1, tryptamine, TexH, Elise, kath25

          after all these years.

          Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

          by DMiller on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:33:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  re: after all these years (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, DMiller, Elise, andgarden, SFJen

            When I get reall pissed, I just remember what our mothers and grandmothers went through and I am comforted in knowing every lit bit we can do will help my daughter.

            I inheirited an old buffet and dining table from my grandmother.  In the buffet, I found old newspapers lining the drawers.  One from 1933, one from 1944, and one from 1968.  The one from '68 is the help wanted section.  The ads read something like this:

            Wanted:  Receptionist.  Attactive female.  28 years or younger.  White only.  

            Wanted:  Housemaid.  Negro Female.

            Seriously.

            So when I feel down, I pull those out and realize despite the work that needs to be done, we've come a long way baby.

            P.S.  Did you know that as recently as the 1980's a woman couldn't get a business loan without a man's signature?

            Let's keep up the good fight.  And next time some male counterpart at work looks at you during your first week and hands you papers and says "Make copies of these for me"  do what I did and tell him, "No."  Not, "I'm sorry, no.", but just "No".

            It's hard for the donkeys to win the race if they're going to carry the elephants on their backs. ~ Jim Hightower

            by TexH on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:43:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed, (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Helen in MD, tryptamine, TexH, Elise

              There's nothing that can be done about the big things, realistically, unless you want to make a martyr of yourself, but there is something that can be done about the little things, and they add up.

              I was in a meeting once, one of the most senior people there.  There was food.  It was wrapped.  I stepped up to unwrap, because I was hungry and no one was doing it.  One man stepped up to help, a black man, which actually is what brought my attention to what was going on, as all the other people in the room, white 20-something new hire men, stood back and watched us prepare the lunch.  I dropped what I was holding, stepped back, and said, "You know, EVERYONE can help with the lunch."  Then I stood back and watched them.

        •  Well, I wish you luck... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DMiller, TexH

          It sounds like your position isn't entirely awful...being able to move jobs after one more year might not be too bad if things don't improve.

          Thanks for sharing...unfortunately, in this case...it doesn't make me feel better to know that i'm not alone :-(

          •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Elise, Topaz7

            I'm still not sure if I'm going to leave or not.  The stubborn Texan in me tells me to stay and do everything I can to change things.  If nothing else, I'll outlast the old bastards.  (In my late 30's and I'm the "young'en"... by far...in the group)

            Spite can be a very powerful motivator LOL :)

            It's hard for the donkeys to win the race if they're going to carry the elephants on their backs. ~ Jim Hightower

            by TexH on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:50:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  WTF (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, Ice Blue

        Is it a religious college? What is all the crap about single mothers? With a 50% divorce rate, how do they (or is it just Harry) expect to find an entire staff of married employees?

        You need to get out of there. Congrats for standing up to the Ogler as you did. He needs to go; but if he can't go, you should. As should all the women who are being treated so badly.

        "Of course your need to consume is an exception due to your incredibly challenging circumstances."

        by Topaz7 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:10:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I understand your reasons for turning down tenure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise

        and wanting to leave, but unless you already have a position set up for next year, then I think it may be the wrong choice. I'd accept the tenure. It can't hurt your resume, and it would give you a well protected base to expose Harry for what he is. People like that always leave an opening somewhere.

        Even if all you can do is document the situation and hand it off to a sympathetic reporter, then it goes to stopping him and others. As you say,

        Only with sunlight will the behavior be exposed and hopefully be stopped.

        Is it really in you to stand down from this?

        "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

        by zedaker on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 12:10:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, zedaker

          My intention was always to leave. I can't honestly see myself staying here any longer and maintaining my sanity...for several reasons beyond just that I am tired of teaching and dislike my workplace. Almost all of my friends have moved away. Only a handful are left. My commute is long...the area is lacking so much of what I want....there are 1000 reasons to leave and only 1 to stay...and having tenure on my resume, especially when I'm planning on changing career paths anyway, just doesn't seem worth it to me.

          The thought of staying here one more school year after this one makes me literally feel like I would die inside. At this point I feel like I have to do what I can to try to help the place improve, but I feel like I have to do that as I'm leaving. I mean, I literally feel physically ill when I go to work every day. The thought of work right now and the fact that I have to be there in a few hours makes my acid reflux go crazy.

          And the thought of leaving is a bit scary...especially without a guaranteed new job at this moment...but that thought is also exciting. I have good references and a good resume...I think I'm fairly marketable...I just sort of feel like it's time.

          So, is it in me to stand down? I don't really intend to stand down...but it isn't in me to stay. I know that.

          Thanks for your comment.

          •  I know the feelings (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, Elise

            about a job that makes you ill to even think about going into work and about heading out, making a leap of faith in yourself. Go for it.

            In the meantime, ranitidine (generic zantac) works much better for me than tums ever did! :) Just turn that acid production down a few notches.

            Good luck. It'll be an adventure. Enjoy it!

            "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

            by zedaker on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 05:16:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Elise... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise

        I swear to Selu the Corn Mother that you are SO SO describing MY own community college experience - even though I know we are / were in different states (and you're a lot younger than me and probably better-looking so you get stared at more by lecherous old fools) but nonetheless... OMG - your whole diary rings so frigging TRUE.

    •  This diary is required reading (60+ / 0-)

      For anyone who:

      -Doesn't think unions serve any purpose

      -Doesn't think sexual harassment law serves any purpose or that there is any problem that requires them

      -Doesn't believe feminism is still a vital and necessary movement.

      The male administrators you describe are proof of the need of all of the organizing help we can offer. Best of luck to you, Elise!

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:08:53 PM PST

    •  I must say, Elise... (34+ / 0-)

      ..that you really do have a heavy case of outrageous courage to have maintained your sanity and sense of perspective in this situation.  I salute you!
       When I started private practice many, many years ago, I was the first woman subspecialist at a major university hospital here, the first woman member of a large subspecialty practice...and I thought I had to put up with the remarks about how I dressed, my marital status, my social life.  I had to "blush becomingly" in conferences when some jerk would make comments about my legs...
       It almost killed me.  I wish there had been an Elise around thirty years ago.  I would hope that Kim and Rita would listen to you.

      In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

      by drchelo on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:19:32 PM PST

    •  It's not exactly subtle at your workplace, eh? (26+ / 0-)

      Damn. I have a story that would take me days to tell. There were sworn depositions, there were corrupt union leaders, ruined careers, someone died - it's a mini-series of a story and even now, 20 years later, it still scares me. Amazingly, though? It was the worst, ugliest, filthiest slug of the whole mess who ended up dead. Not me, ya bastards in my past, I'm still howling.

    •  The EEOC defines three types (22+ / 0-)

      Wiki:

      Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

      1. Submission to such conduct was made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,
      1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual was used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
      1. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

      1 and 2 are quid pro quo harassment.  #3 is hostile work environment.  Quid pro quo can be identified by a single occurrence.  A hostile work environment requires serious and frequent conduct unless a single event is extreme.

      EEOC has more.

    •  A few random thoughts. I assume this community (19+ / 0-)

      college is a public institution and therefore subject to state and federal law regarding workplace discrimination.  Does the college have an EEOC representative?  The college is not practicing good risk management if it has knowledge these two male supervisory personnel are commenting on issues which  invoke privacy issues re the employees, making comments which set up claims for "uncomfortable in the workplace" claims, which can involve a third party who hears the comments but which were not made to or about the third party,  etc.

      Having been involved in a very little bit of litigation involving a state universities and sexual harassment claim brought by a female students against male academics, my conclusion is that the less anyone says to anyone outside the complaint process, the better.   Use the complaint process.  

      In conclusion, I can certainly understand why you choose to move on.        

    •  Elise (11+ / 0-)

      it sounds like a terrible place to work.  I really appreciate the diary about it - I think a lot of folks think of "sexual harassment" as a claim made by anti-sex crusaders. Of course, those folks probably aren't reading this diary...

      Anyway, I'm very sorry you have to work in such a crappy misogynistic environment and I will cross my fingers for you in your job search.

    •  Like Ms Laura (11+ / 0-)

      I'm having a bit of a rage-fatigue blackout. Although I am imagining a doozy of a flyer you could distribute around school on your way out... you've already got a start on the text... or an essay assignment on sexual harrassment? Something for the school newspaper?  And where, dear Elise,  IS that union in all this?

    •  I work for a law firm (20+ / 0-)

      that deals with discrimination and harrassment cases.  Some of the most vile bullshit turns up.

      On a personal note, after I graduated I had to take a job as a secretary because I couldn't find a job remotely related to my degree.  It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences in my life.  There was never anything as overt as what you described, Elise, but the whole situation was just off.  I was put in situations where I felt very intimidated (my boss would lean just a bit too close, raise his voice a bit too loudly, or look at me a bit too long).  

      I would go home almost every day in tears.  I felt completely helpless and I knew better, dammit.  I always felt that I should've been stronger, or more assertive, or should've quit, or should've ignored him.  

      It was completely miserable, and it was just a touch of what other women go through.

       

      Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are...is a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

      by Sinister Rae on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:28:20 PM PST

    •  Thanks for the diary Elise... (20+ / 0-)

      and some recommendations for dealing with the harassers at your work place. As someone who has gone through work place harassment myself, and who has union protections, there are some things that anyone should do when placed in this situation. First of all, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU. WRITE IT DOWN. Times, places, names, witnesses, etc. every single time the harassment happens.

      When I was first working in Operations at my plant, I had one of the Operating Supervisors who had it out for me. He hated me and the feeling was mutual. He started following me around on the job, he screamed at me for not knowing a system well enough when I had barely been through the training and there was a lot to learn, and he was going far enough to start harassing me about going to the locker room without telling him. I was going to take off a hot shirt since I wasn't sure how to dress since I didn't know if I'd be working outside or inside or what the temperature would be and I asked him if that was standard practice for all employees to notifiy a supervisor if they had to use the bathroom, which of course it was not.

      Anyway, to make a long story short, I started keeping a book on this guy. I ended up bidding to the electric shop and getting away from him, but had I not, I would have had enough compiled on him to contact the HR department and bring harassment charges against him. I only wish I'd started documenting how he was treating me earlier.

      This is the best line of protection someone can take when these sort of things happen whether you're in a union or not. If you're fired, you've got documentation to go back on if you sue. If the company has a decent HR department, they're going to take you more seriously if you document the harassment. If you're in a union, it gives the union material to fight with if a case goes to arbitration.

      Again, thanks for sharing and my two cents on one way to fight this sort of crap.

      •  What you say is accurate, but the person must (8+ / 0-)

        also notify management.  

        •  I agree.... (7+ / 0-)

          and there's a lot of other things you can do along with what I recommended, and I'll leave that one for the lawyers. I'm just a union member grunt who has put up with harassment and worked in a predominently male environment for the last 20 plus years. I know from first hand experience that if you write down what happens to you, and you follow up on your complaints, having a written log of the events is something that will help greatly. I put that supervisor himself on notice about how he acted, and he's not the only one I've had trouble with.

          As recently as the last five years we had one over the shop I'm in now who was just nuts. Mentally unstable and never should have gotten the job. Most of the shop was keeping a book on him. He had so many HR complaints they finally got rid of him and gave him an early retirement offer he could not refuse. This guy had a temper that was so awful they should have known better than to ever give him that job. He threw a chair at an Op Sup as a union member, would throw hissy fits on the job, and was on his third wife and one of them had a restraining order on him to keep him away from her and the kids. A real gem.....lol. He's gone and I'm sure documenting what this nut did as a boss helped.

      •  Thanks uniongal... (7+ / 0-)

        I actually started keeping a record a little while ago. And I write down all the stories other people tell me...including students who have felt harassed by this particular administrator. So, I've got quite the collection so far and I've only been at it a semester.

      •  I think that's the standard (5+ / 0-)

        for any kind of harassment, not just sexual and not just at your job: write it all down.  Then, you don't have to remember it so much as consult the notes you made when it was fresh in your mind.

    •  Does this guy have a boss? (7+ / 0-)

      And I wonder if there are things you can get rolling once you have other work lined up....

      I'm shocked that no students have complained.  I think that so many people have put up with this reveals a deeper issue.  Why do we (regardless of sex) let these things happen?  I suspect there are men who are aware of his actions--I'm not trying to suggest that those who suffer under him have the sole responsibility for crying foul.  I find it fascinating that everyone seems to be quietly conspiring with this guy.

      "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Thomas Jefferson

      by Ambrosius on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:36:13 PM PST

    •  Get out of that bible belt! (6+ / 0-)

      These depressing stories you relate are so...so..retro!  Oh, you'll find some of that Neanderthal attitude anywhere you go, but once you find a job and move to the big city, I think you'll find the harassment techniques much more creative.  It will still make your head explode, but at least it will be more challenging.

      Semi-snarkish response, I know.  I don't necessarily mean it to be. It must be so stressful dealing with that, and I feel for you.  It's still a huge problem everywhere you go, but really, it sounds like you're trapped in some time-warp vortex of religious repression and wink-wink leisure-suit male sexuality.

      Get yourself and your cats out of there!

    •  Staring is such harassment. (11+ / 0-)

      Wow, to hear it in another place other than in my own head.  

      It happens in this area a lot, that's all I will say about context.  At first it made me angry, and it really affected me.  This may sound rediculous, but it affected the way I dressed.  

      To make a long story short, I look at it diffently now.  I feel sorry for the men who do it, because they don't know any better, they are victims of the society that made them that way.  They look childish to me now.

      Equality, not in our lifetime.  

      •  Here's the perfect poem for that (7+ / 0-)

        The Mutes
        By Denise Levertov

        Those groans men use
        passing a woman on the street
        or on the steps of the subway

        to tell her she is a female
        and their flesh knows it,

        are they a sort of tune,
        an ugly enough song, sung
        by a bird with a slit tongue

        but meant for music?

        Or are they the muffled roaring
        of deafmutes trapped in a building that is
        slowly filling with smoke?

        Perhaps both.

        Such men most often
        look as if groan were all they could do,
        yet a woman, in spite of herself,

        knows it's a tribute:
        if she were lacking all grace
        they'd pass her in silence:

        so it's not only to say she's
        a warm hole. It's a word

        in grief-language, nothing to do with
        primitive, not an ur-language;
        language stricken, sickened, cast down

        in decrepitude. She wants to
        throw the tribute away, dis-
        gusted, and can't,

        it goes on buzzing in her ear,
        it changes the pace of her walk,
        the torn posters in echoing corridors

        spell it out, it
        quakes and gnashes as the train comes in.
        Her pulse sullenly

        had picked up speed,
        but the cars slow down and
        jar to a stop while her understanding

        keeps on translating:
        'Life after life after life goes by

        without poetry,
        without seemliness,
        without love.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:52:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What qualifies as staring? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Dianna, ubertar

        I may be a little guilty on this one, being a very visual person to begin with (I've always liked drawing and cartooning).  I've actually learned tricks to store an image in memory so that I can very quickly move my eyes and take someone in without leering.

        Pretty horrible scheme all in all though - one group drowning in attention and another starving for it.

      •  You would HATE northern India, then. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, Dianna

        My god, it can be awful.  I'm in my 40's, and I once had 18 year old punks proposition me on a public street.  Other women had similar problems.  And you can't always turn to the cops there.  

        South Asian feminists are amazing -- they fight back against guff that we would be horrified to endure.  A friend of mine there employs a lady as her cook who was burned by her husband.  She took her two daughters, fled to the city, and never looked back.  In Pakistan and Bangladesh, it's acid attacks.  Rape has been used as a tool of political oppression in all countries; in India particularly against Dalits and Muslims.

        I could go on, but it would take hours to write it all.  

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

        by Noor B on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 10:31:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Elise, Dianna

          you could write a Feminisms diary about it?  I know I would be interested, and I'm assuming many other people would be as well.

        •  I've hear they are among the most vulnerable (0+ / 0-)

          Well, I heard that society forgets about some people, but these women are really truly neglected by society and even all of our protective institutions. Like, they're not even on the radar. They have to place to go, no institutions, no advocates if they need to get out.

          Thank God for these South Asian feminists. I'm glad you mentioned this because I was at this forum and these South Asian women were saying they are really vulnerable, they are pretty alone out there.

          The more talk of this issue the better.

    •  I think (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, mcfly, Elise, uniongal

      you all have grounds for a lawsuit. Would those two other women consider suing?

      What would prevent Captain America from being a hero "Death, Maybe"

      by Doughnutman on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:44:52 PM PST

      •  I don't believe they would. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, lgmcp, Dianna, uniongal

        I think they feel like they have quite a bit more to lose. They're both single moms...they both have family here...people at church would talk...etc.

        They really aren't in a position (they feel) to take any action.

        •  By any chance... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise

          is there a security camera in that hallway?

          just sayin'...

          To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

          by commonscribe on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:08:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is at the further end... (4+ / 0-)

            of course, again...the guy doing the staring is the guy in charge of the cameras, so that could be entertaining too.

            But...they did say at the meeting at the beginning of the semester that the discs automatically record and save for one week before they cycle over again.

            •  In that case (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, Elise

              I think you might wanna have a little chat with the
              a/v squad.

              To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

              by commonscribe on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:13:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What, to film staring? (0+ / 0-)

                I've had it happen, I know how awful it can be.  You just want to go take a shower, or cry, or scream.  But you can't sue this guy for staring.  It won't work.

                For that matter, if you sue an employer for sexual harassment, you'd better be sure the damages you get will support you for the rest of your life, because you're going to have to live off them.  It sucks, but that's the way it is.  Telling someone to sue is not always good advice.

                •  Well, IANAL, but... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tryptamine

                  Is it that cut and dried?  My impression was that things like suing do count against you, but don't always disqualify -- and that's if they're large and conservative enough to bother looking.  Suspect it also weighs differently after 11 years in a gig, with lots and lots of recommendations. Though "telling someone to sue is not always good advice" rings true as can be.

                  Please correct/enlighten -- not trying to poke, per se.

                  •  IANAL? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tryptamine

                    Haven't seen that one before.

                    My point was just that just because you can do something, legally, and it would feel good, and maybe be the right thing to do for society, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do for you.  And you have bills to pay (not you per se, but everyone), and society isn't going to step up and pay them.  Suing an employer is a big step, and one that may come back to bite you in the butt big time.  People ask for references, people ask why you left your old company.  If you say "sexual harassment" or "sued," alarm bells will start to go off.  That said, there are situations where that wouldn't be a problem, or they might not ask, but just because the law provides a way to redress the wrong, doesn't mean it's the best idea to take it.

    •  Good for you at the meeting !! (15+ / 0-)

      Being assertive was the right thing to do and I am proud of you.

      I had worked for eight years and then stayed home with my kids.  My BIG night out after much planning was a church committee meeting. I did the work for free and was still hassled.

      One night I had to make my report for an eleven church project which had money tied to it so it had to go on upwards to the next committee for a vote and there was a time limit...this was the night or else...

      The chairman put me last on the agenda.
      I listened politely as everything else was discussed and picked at.  I was nice..honest.

      When my turn came, he said there was no more time to discuss my project though we had spent 20 minutes discussing some nonsense from a lady he liked.

      I said politely that there was a time limit on mine and it had to go to the next committee so we couldn't wait a month and it wasn't my fault that the 11 churches had waited so long to send it to us.  I said I could talk fast...lolol

      He said I could go to the next higher committee and explain it to them, instead.

      I explained that I could not...it was his job and they would toss me out.

      He sighed, but he listened and they made a quick vote which was all it took. He agreed to do his job and take our vote to the next committee. It passed as always, but...

      It was because I was a woman.  It was because he had favorites.  It is an old trick to make someone feel humiliated, and it discourages a woman most times.

      If it had been a job I had to keep, then what?

      So, to get things done whether paid or not, a person has to be assertive.

      I doubt it will ever change.  There are no unions for free workers.  Eventually, one may use up the goodwill of free workers, however.  

      "Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit." Wade Davis

      by cfk on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:46:52 PM PST

    •  Years ago I had a teeny tiny victory (13+ / 0-)

      I was a young woman teaching my very first semester at a large suburban high school.  I worked late, late, late prepping my first-year classes, and usually the janitor had come and gone by the time I finished. It was normal to exchange a few conventional remarks when he came into my empty classroom.  

      Well, he was kind of a creep, very weird in fact and probably somewhat impaired.  What the heck, everybody needs a job, right?  But one night he started going on very inappropriately about a female student he had seen rollerblading around campus recently.  Apparently he found her attire both revealing and stimulating, and he went on at length about the bouncing of her breasts and so on, all the while staring at me in a very disturbing manner and working his face oddly.  Well, I was a little frightened, what petite young female in a dark empty building with this wouldn't be?  

      But I rallied.  I drew a deep breath and said, "Excuse me, why are you telling this?"  He said, "Er,what?"  "Well, telling me all this stuff about other people and their bodies and their clothes and stuff.  Because, let me tell you, I don't like it and I don't want to hear it.  In fact, I consider it sexual harassment.  It is just unacceptable, and if you repeat this kind of talk in the future I must tell you that I WILL report it to the main office."  

      Problem solved!  He stammered, hurried out of the room, and in future, cleaned my classroom in total offended silence.  And I didn't even worry about walking to the dark parking lot every night: I could feel that the problem had been nipped in the bud.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:47:23 PM PST

      •  Good for you. (5+ / 0-)

        For many reasons. You stuck up for yourself and another woman.

        Also, sometimes I feel that if people are assertive in addressing that kind of behavior, people recognize not only that they have a problem, but it potentially stops them from going any further with it.

        •  Thanks, yeah I think actually he needed the help (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise, Petronella, kath25

          with being reminded of those boundaries.  I mean, it's not that it was abnormal for him to be thinking about the buxom student - only for him to be obsessively verbalizing about her to me. (He had been going on for several minutes when I drew the line.)  Like I say, he wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack. Ultimately, he needed to know those limits, in order to keep his job.  

          Though a few years later, in the different state where I now live, a young teacher was raped and murdered by the long-time janitor of the school, and I remembered my incident with a shiver.  Fortunately my fellow was just socially inappropriate ... not deranged.  

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:24:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not to stick my head in the fire. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine

      But telling rumors about a persons personal life is sexual harassment? It's unprofessional and unacceptable to be sure, but seems exceedingly broad as a sex based charge.

      Not to parse things to death, but that jumped out at me.

      To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals. - Mark Twain

      by Windowdog on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:50:54 PM PST

    •  Give Harry Hell (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, Elise

      ...not Truman, I mean this jerk

    •  Bob Herbert wrote a really good column (16+ / 0-)

      October 16, 2006 called "Why Aren't We Shocked?"

      He had A LOT to say on the matter.  For me, I can't believe we're such second class citizens still.  He says:

      A girl or woman is sexually assaulted every couple of minutes or so in the U.S. The number of seriously battered wives and girlfriends is far beyond the ability of any agency to count. We're all implicated in this carnage because the relentless violence against women and girls is linked at its core to the wider society's casual willingness to dehumanize women and girls, to see them first and foremost as sexual vessels -- objects -- and never, ever as the equals of men.

      The whole things really worth a read.

    •  Here is my sexual harassment story (16+ / 0-)

      It is a tale, really, of how the system ought to work.

      I am leaving out lots of details, just in case.

      Here it is:

      For the record, we get sexual harassment training periodically, so there really wasn't any excuse...but someone did not pay attention.

      One time I was on a business trip in a foreign country with a male colleague (call him Jack, kind of a peer, he had experience but I have one more letter after my name and a string of pubs-he never liked that). After hours we went out and had dinner, drinks, checked out the local scenery, etc. He started to get physically friendly in a way I was uncomfortable with, and I told him so.

      It stopped for that trip.

      All was fine....for awhile.

      About a year later, Jack and I  were at a conference together. We had dinner and some laughs. He was fine. Then at a conference dinner he began to say belittling things to me in front of colleagues, following me around when I would leave him to join other colleagues.

      Then I turned my back and he felt my ass. It was unbelievable in a professional context in front of other professionals.

      I confronted him the next day and he denied it.

      I happened to be in the HR office for an unrelated issue that day and asked the hypothetical about this Jack. The HR person guessed who it was!!!

      They talked to Jack and gave him more SH training. He was completely unaware that he was doing anything wrong, and seemed contrite about he generally treated women colleagues.He volunteered to write an apology to me and it was very sincere.

      Jack and I still work at the same place, and are on friendly terms. Now he is educated.

      It was an easy process, and well executed. I was happy with how it went, and, in the end I was glad I came forward.

    •  Harry needs to be taken behind one of those (9+ / 0-)

      black bars and given the ole' frontier scare.

      what a fucking jerk he is. I'm ashamed for my gender that you have to work with that woman hating dick.

      RealClimate.org- READ IT \south park democrat

      by terrypinder on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:59:03 PM PST

    •  fwiw, join the aaup (6+ / 0-)

      do you have an auup chapter? is it effective?
      http://www.aaup.org/

      email me offline if you would like to chat. Thank you for the diary...

    •  Oh Elise... I'm so sorry (12+ / 0-)

      Just before I started reading, I thought to myself, "I'm so lucky to be working at a community college... educational settings are relatively enlightened about these issues..." Then I read your stories and GACK!

      Well, I guess geography makes a big difference. I'm in San Diego, and anybody who tried pulling the crap that you describe wouldn't last half a day at my school. I'm counting my blessings and praying that I find a good situation after I move to the Midwest, where my fiancé and I will be relocating this summer for his medical residency.

      I honestly didn't think these kinds of things still happened in 2007. I'm sorry you've had to put up for it. Thanks for telling us about it.

      "Listen, I'll be honest with you -- I love Jesus, but I drink a little." --Gladys Hardy

      by virgomusic on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:03:09 PM PST

    •  Important topic (10+ / 0-)

      I worked at at warehouse a few years ago where a woman got hired and the men were just brutal to her. No matter how many "hey guys give her a break" I could muster, they kept it up. I suggested she make a formal complaint but she was hesitant.

      She only lasted a couple weeks there and who could blame her for moving on, but I would have liked to see her stay and fight.

      We the people are in charge. We are the deciders. - Molly Ivans

    •  I don't want to diminish the message (8+ / 0-)

      of this important diary, but I was almost a victim of a false accusation of sexual harassment early in my career (a frightening episode for me that I kept from my wife at the time, stalking phone calls to our house notwithstanding).

      I saw a later colleague's career ruined in a procedure that allowed for no character witnesses or an open hearing. He was with us one day, gone the next.

      Sexual harassment is serious. So are the accusations of such conduct. These are episodes that can ruin lives, no matter where the truth lies.

      I am nervous posting this because that episode early in my career still bothers me. I think the administrators did the best they could under the circumstances, but I still did not feel safe and did not feel anyone was acting purely as my advocate in the whole process.

      I hope we will consider justice in all cases and work to finding the truth before assuming the worst every time. That said, I hope you will agree that nothing I have said negates what you have experienced and are relating in this diary! Thank you for raising an important policy topic.

      The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

      by vox humana on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:06:47 PM PST

      •  Good point. I know of similar instances--very (6+ / 0-)

        difficult to refute unfounded accusations.

        •  Yes, and it was very disturbing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Elise

          to be subject to the stalking and to living in the knowledge that any mistake might cause irreperable damage, not just to myself - but to this woman and her family.  All I can say is, she got some really, really bad advice from a therapist - and things got very ugly quickly.

          P.S. I also realize I made a bad grammatical mistake in my first post: "my wife at the time...." She's still my wife! It should have read: "at the time, my wife...." I have never told her just how worried I was. It's past now, and I didn't want to worry her at the time (pregnant with medical problems).

          I honestly wish there were good solutions to this issue that were firm and fair for all. I fear we are not quite there yet. That said, we do need to talk about it - there is no doubt that genuine cases of harassment exist. My experience leads me to believe that many false accusations may have ruined lives as well.

          The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

          by vox humana on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:30:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  In the first case I worked on of sexual (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, Elise, vox humana, ubertar

            harassment claims by a student about an academic, I was very surprised at how much of an advocate for the student the university's EEOC-type officer was.  Seems like the person in that position should be a gatherer of information in a neutral fashion, in fairness to all.

            •  You know, it's very interesting. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tryptamine, Elise

              I am deeply sympathetic to sexual harassment claims. Ironically, the stongest cases I have observed never go anywhere - when the power play is blatant. When the accusations are true, it is a horrible means of wielding power over someone. How many professors do many of us know who have married former students? Do we wonder what the balance of power is there? Why are they never called on it... never mind, I guess none of us would (including my self-righteous self) - love, after all.

              I was of three minds during the experience. First, protecting my nascent family. Second, protecting my nascent career. But third (and what I find most interesting looking back), defending the integrity of an actual, verifiable sexual harassment charge. I knew my career was in jeopardy, but on a meta-level (is that a bad word here these days?), I wondered if some day sexual harassment might not be seen as a witch-hunt, when it clearly was not in all cases.

              I maintain this ambiguous viewpoint when I see any case come before the court of public opinion. My daughter and son deserve a future workplace as free from harassment as possible. They also deserve a fair justice system for both sides. ALL deserve the knowledge that the system will advocate on their behalves.

              I think I should stop now. I do not want to distract from the diary (not a hijack, I know), which does have important things to say. I hate this issue - and on a selfish issue, I wish it would go away. That's why I clicked on this diary... and I'm glad I did - because I know better than following my own enclosed selfish wishes.

              Let's all work for the victims (and even perpetrators) of these situations - in the name of justice.

              The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

              by vox humana on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:50:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Injustice in all its forms (7+ / 0-)

           I hope I am not intruding here, but the title of feminism has interested me for a long time.  I remember long ago, when my mother was mistreated and not treated as a person in her own right by a father that could have qualified for "All in the family's main role."  Since then I have taken up the cause of fighting against discrimination, racism, and I have been subjected to the scorching fires of this kind of attack.  I in a way consider myself a male feminist. The content of our character, not the color of our skin or our gender is what is important, to paraphrase Martin Luther King.
      I feel the same outrage that the diarist Elise, has so aptly written about.  No, one deserves this kind of humiliation or harrasement.  Now, with the wingnuts in power, this abusive behavior has become more prevalent and is thriving out in the open now.  Over at CNN, Blitzer had the audacity to have Delay, on his show, to talk about politics and Hillary.  Now, I know which side they butter their toast.  Delay a indicted politician who resigned in disgrace, given prime time to make a political judgment about Hillary?  I cheer that women are making strides in the political arena like Pelosi, and who knows we may just have a woman president?
      I guess that would be the time to loby for harsher laws against sexual discrimination and harrasement.

    •  I realize this is OT - but I am OUTRAGED! (7+ / 0-)

      Coulter is allowed to spew her vitriol all over the airwaves - and now a reference to female genitalia!  
      Remember when Bono said the F word on TV??  Rightwingers flooded the FCC with complaints! And remember Janet's boob?!? Rightwingers went wild!
      But - Coulter is allowed to say anything! What can we do??

      Support our Troops - Stop funding the War!!

      by annefrank on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:10:59 PM PST

    •  AWESOME!! (8+ / 0-)

      When they returned before the break and he interrupted me for the third time during our last committee meeting during finals week I finally stood up at the table and said, "I apologize to the rest of the Committee for having to interrupt our business here and deal with your behavior, but the way you interrupt me, the way you treat me, the way you look at me, is unacceptable, and if it doesn't change you're going to have a serious problem on your hands."

      Can we throw you a parade? Seriously? This is stunning. Can I pay you to come smack down some of the unruly people in my life?

      •  heh... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, SallyCat, kath25

        Sure thing Kath...you ever need me to call anyone and lay the smack down, you let me know :-)

        •  I thought of you today. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, DMiller, Elise

          After a class, I was walking across campus and there was a crazy evangelical preacher wearing a shirt "No Heaven for Homos" on one side, "Homos Go To Hell" on the other. I thought about calling him a hateful bigot, but I did not. (Interestingly, his young wife and toddler were there too. Wife also had the shirt on.)

          I thought, "I wish Elise were here to tell him what's what." (Frankly, I'm not too comfortable yelling back at yelling hate-ministers.)

          Well, this afternoon, a bunch of students had staged a counter-protest. They had signs that said, "God Loves Everyone," and my personal favorite, "All Assholes Go to Hell." Good for them.

          •  Nice....I like the counter-protest. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, jessical, kath25

            That kicks ass...that's what happened here when Fred Phelps and his gang came...there were 1000 students and faculty with "God loves everyone" and other signs...and about 10 of those hateful bastards. Beautiful site to see hate outnumbered so widely.

            If it were me, I'd have walked up to the wife and said, "you should feel lucky no one is calling child services on you for raising your child in a hate-filled and unhealthy environment"...of course, you could also just tell them that you'll see them there. Whenever I didn't have a lot of time to argue because I was on my way to class, I'd walk by those guys and just slap them on the shoulder and say "Hey asshole...we'll be down there together! Judge not lest ye be judged!! I hope you like it HOT! I know I do!"...and then I'd smile big and walk away...usually leaving them stunned for a minute...long enough to have others laugh and walk away in the moment of silence. Good stuff. heh

    •  I was sexually harassed by a boss ten years ago (7+ / 0-)

      I documented everything and so didn't the other women he harassed.  

      He was eventually fired and justice prevailed, but no one should have to fear for their job.

      Elise, tell these women to write down every instance with dates; if it ever gets to court or a hearing they'll be glad they did that.

      If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy - James Madison

      by CTLiberal on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:24:12 PM PST

    •  I am not a big fan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, coigue, Elise

      of some things you advocate. I hate political correctness and affirmative action. However all that aside, it is very depressing that the behavior you describe exists in such blatant fashion in our country. It is disgusting.

      I am a man and work as a manager in a midsize business and we are fortunate enough to not have such serious problems that you describe. I try to do my part and in the hiring process give an equal chance, or even encourage women applicants, though the field is technical. I worked with a woman for a couple of years who held a similar position to mine and I was always impressed with her expertise and ability but it was depressing that some others only saw the physical qualities and could not get past that.

      I am in NY and yes I see such attitudes as you describe still exist even here, though not to the same degree. But unfortunately it means that some women are not taken as seriously as they could be because of superficial factors.

      I think if we all do our parts, and I can do my small part to encourage women and encourage other men to go beyond the superficial while according those women proper respect, then we will continue progressing.

      I am truly sorry about your experiences... Sounds horrible :( I certainly had never had to deal with anything like that and it gives me pause when I imagine being in your shoes.

      "To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it." AR

      by EnderRS on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:25:15 PM PST

    •  oh and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise

      I didn't mean to imply that you advocate political correctness or affirmative action because I don't know that much about your views. I am also not a big fan of unions which I know you strongly support.

      "To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it." AR

      by EnderRS on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:27:44 PM PST

      •  You may not be a fan of unions (5+ / 0-)

        But surely you see the need for them in certain areas.   I never belonged to a union as either a nurse or a lawyer. I was paid poorly relative to my expertise and seniority, After I left nursing for law some of the nurse's groups unionized. In law many of the issues were the same without any potential for unions. Law offices are soul-sucking places to work = at least in my experience.

        "Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind." John F. Kennedy

        by vcmvo2 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:32:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am somewhat of an (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise

          idealist when it comes to the workplace, business rights, and most other economic issues... I recognize that the world is not perfect and eggregious violations occur so I have no problems with tough laws against harassment and some discrimination. Other than that I believe in business owners being able to set the rules.

          That's not to say that I am a big fan of how some business owners behave.

          I am not sure about the need of unions in this day and age.

          "To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it." AR

          by EnderRS on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:40:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am a lawyer and so have never (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, TiaRachel, vcmvo2, Elise, jessical

            been a member of a union.

            I am also the first member of my family to graduate from college.  My parents were the first people my my family to graduate from high school.

            My parents held down blue collar jobs all their lives.  Both my mother and my father are life-long union members.  My father with the IBEW and my mother with the CSEA.  Because of those unions, my family had health insurance, dental insurance and my parents have decent retirements.

            Those jobs allowed my parents to send me and my two brothers to college.

            Very few people of their background in today's America could hope to end up financially where they have ended up without the support provided by union jobs.  Those jobs are, for the most part, gone.

            Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

            by DMiller on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:01:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your thoughts Ender. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, jessical, EnderRS

        I don't know how you define "political correctness"...but I'm certainly a supporter of affirmative action and of course, unions :-)

        And obviously we disagree on those...but I do appreciate your thoughts and I certainly appreciate your efforts to help make changes in your own corner of the world there. If everyone makes an effort where they are to prevent this behavior I can't help but think we could put a stop to it and create an atmosphere where it is simply 100% intolerable. I'm certainly going to work towards that.

        •  thank you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, coigue, Elise

          All the stories here make me angry that we live in a world full of disgusting morons, often incapable of realizing how the other people, on the receiving end of their actions, might feel.

          Hopefully enough of us making a difference will speed up the changes for the better.

          "To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it." AR

          by EnderRS on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:43:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, jessical, EnderRS

        I am glad to know that you have recognized and appreciated the hard-working women who are fighting institutional sexism.

        I am also from the greater NYC area. Recently, I moved down to Texas. I am a grad student and teach at the university. The public schools down here can be appalling. Particularly, the schools in all-Hispanic towns and predominantly black urban areas are unthinkable. (We don't pay state income tax, and the schools are starved. As far as I can tell, the lotto is their only source of funding.)

        The public education system discriminates against these students. That is one reason why it is important to consider a student's achievements in context with their surroundings. To me, affirmative action is like saying, "wow, look what that kid accomplished despite all of the odds being against him/her. Imagine what he or she could do if we gave him/her more opportunities!"

        I hope that someday our schools and educational system are so great that no one needs to be considered in the context of a disadvantaged background. I believe in a meritocracy! Until then, I hope that our schools can continue to look for those who are overcoming the odds against them.  

      •  Affirmative action (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise, jessical, EnderRS

        I was pretty wishy-washy on it for awhile myself.  Not to promote my own diary too much, but the moment I decided it was when I was writing this diary.  Maybe that will convince you, maybe not... :)

    •  I am sorry to hear that women today (8+ / 0-)

      face the same things that I faced nearly 30 years ago as a naive 22-year-old.

      I was sexually harassed by a group of men at my government office. I even had evidence -- one of them stupidly sent me something incriminating in the mail. I filed an EEOC complaint. They came in, took depositions, and basically ended up making me the villain in it all. The EEOC officer ended up treating me like I should have never started it all -- as if he blamed me for it! Some representation I got there, right? It ended with my evidence, which I stupidly turned over to him, "disappearing." Ooops!

      They even involved my family, members of which also worked for the government at the time, trying to get them to pressure me to drop the complaint rather than pursue it, even when I showed them the evidence. Then they moved on to my boyfriend, who also worked there, wanting to use the example that if I would date him, I would "date" any man there. (He was not involved in that crap, by the way -- he was the only one standing up for me.)

      The combination of people pressuring me to drop the complaint eventually caused me to leave a potentially life-long government job just to stop the harassment.

      I am very sad to hear that things have not changed much. When will women finally stop being treated like second-class citizens? I thought that by the twenty-first century, this crap wouldn't be so prevalent.

    •  I was sexually harassed years ago (10+ / 0-)

      I didn't do anything about it at the time, but I often wonder if I could have.

      He was the owner of the company.  There was no HR department, no union.  

      We went on a business road trip together and he made a very blatant pass at me.  I turned him down as nicely but as firmly as I could.  I was very scared but thought I had handled it well.

      Things got messy on the trip home the next day.  I had no driver's license and no money to get home on my own, so the morning after I was subjected to the longest 4 hour drive of my life, being verbally abused on top of the sexual harassment from the night before.

      My job performance review cam soon after.  No surprise: it was abysmal.  I was "let go" a few weeks afterwards.

      My best friend worked for him too; she had gotten me the job. I never told her; to this day she doesn't know.  Actually I think this is the first time I'm telling this story outside of therapy.

      What can you do for something like that?  It would have been a total "he said/she said" situation.  There's no one above him to complain to... did I have options?

      Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant

      by gloriana on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:35:53 PM PST

    •  Ah, yes. (12+ / 0-)

      According to my employers...and too many legal opinions...it was not possible for me to be sexually harassed when I was transitioning.  Whatever anyone wanted to say or do to me was just something I should expect as my lot in life.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:36:27 PM PST

    •  I have a dream (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, Elise, oculus, Fraggle, jessical

      one day, all the women quit...

      when asked why...they say "HARRY"

      then..he gets fired

    •  here's something about Dr's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise
    •  I see nothing has changed since I started working (8+ / 0-)

      In 1978 in my first post-college job, all the women received pay raises exactly half of what the men got because "women have men to support them and don't need the money."

      In my next job (as a civilian worker for the Navy), I had a male co-worker attempt to rape me in an office with 20 other men present. I was told that he was going through a bad divorce and that if I complained I would never be promoted. I later was assigned to the same travel team with him and we were onthe road together for a couple of years.

      One of my female co-workers was denied a promotion because she asked if it was sexual harrassment that a co-worker threatened to tell her husband they were having an affair unless she did have an affair.

      At one point I was a team leader (after several years of fighting the perception that a man wouldn't work for a woman) and the team went to another Navy organization to do a study. The Commanding officer refused to acknowledge my presence in the room because he felt it was immoral for women to work.

      In another meeting an admiral ranted for several minutes on how women didn't belong in the Navy or in the work force. His aide was female as well as another Naval officer in the room and three senior female civilans were in attendance as well. My boss at least had the courtesy to apologize to me because he didn't have the rank to tell the guy to shut up.

      One base where we did a study, several women asked me how I got to be the high grade that I was (I was a very junior GS-9) because all the women on the base had their jobs downgraded to a lower grade if they were selected for any job higher than a clerical job. There was not a single women on that base higher than a GS-7 even though many were doing the same work that male GS-11s and 12s were doing.

      Then there was the night my boss tried to get into my hotel room at 3 am. I didn't let him in, I also didn't get the next promotion.

      Fast forward a few years to the early 1990s. I was working for a large government contractor making such a pathetic salary that I received a 66% pay raise when I left. I shared a cubicle with a man who did nothing except talk to his wife on the phone all day, sometimes very explicitly and always so loudly you could hear him through the entire warehouse-sized room. The few tasks he completed were wrong and I was asked to redo them to make them right. Oh yeah, he made $15 thousand per year more than I did. How do I know that - because he talked to his wife about it on the phone in front of me. Of course he didn't make nearly as much as the manager who frequently screamed at employees using profanity or the senior manager who came to work drunk, but they were men so of course they made more than any of the women even though two of the three weren't even able to perform the tasks they were hired for and the other was an abusive SOB.

      Fast forward again to 5 years ago where I worked for a small privately held company. There was only one way for a woman to get a promotion there and it involved sleeping with either the CEO or the President of the company. Having a bimbo whose only qualification for her job was her willingness to take off her clothes in charge of the project I worked on was a nightmare I hope never to repeat. Giving someone the right to make decisions about how to perform a programming project when she doesn't even know what language we used or that it isn't a web sight was unbelievable. Of course, she and the CEO were heard on more than one occasion having sex in his office (the rest of us tried to avoid sitting on his couch when we had a meeting in there). And on one memorable occasion when they were having a fight, she sat across the room from him with her legs (barely covered in short shorts) propped up on the table and spread open. That one even made the other men in the room uncomfortable, but it must have worked because they made up that day.

      All I can say is that this little trip down memory lane has reminded me of why I love the company I currently work for where everyone is treated with respect and where I am fairly compensated for the technical skills I bring to the table. It's truly the first place I've ever worked where no one cares what sex you are or what color or nationality or religion you are as long as you pull your weight and do your job competently. I've gotten used to it and I'd forgotten how refreshing it was to come here.

      •  holy (*&(*&!!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise

        (sorry I'm new at cartoon profanity)

        Glad you found a decent place to work.  They exist.  When I listen to my parent's stories I wonder what the mix was fifty, sixty years ago...

      •  nothing has changed? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine

        differance between the facts you are relating and the ones in the diary are enormous.  no comparison at all.  your history provokes a reaction in me that the diarist's does not.

        my mom was a single mother in the 40's and 50's (the first time!) and she told us about some of what she went through.  this is a very important subject with me.  it's enough that sexual harrasment and gender discrimination (related but not interchangeable offenses) are impermissable outrages committed against individuals by individuals (or groups.)

        the socialogical underpinnings which create the mindsets which exacerbate the tendencies of individuals to feel justified in such behaviors are interesting and  significant.  but the offenses are in a larger sense not crimes against women, but crimes against humanity, and it is as such that we all have an equal stake in not tolerating or excusing them.

        we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

        by 2nd balcony on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 10:57:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  hmmm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise

          I see the two as congruent, or I would have let Elise's thread alone.  I did worry about that -- and in retrospect would have kept my mouth shut.  Oh well :}

          No, they are not the same.  Elise, my apologies, if this was inappropriate.  I was primarily moved to write by all the folks going "sue now" and then it went from there...sigh.

          By the standards of law in much of the country, its not even discrimination against women.  

          'night.

    •  Peanut Gallery (17+ / 0-)

      After reading the diary and comments (as of comment start lol), guess I'll pop up.  Recently I've realized there's no percentage here to staying quasi-closeted, so I'll just go ahead and lose half the readership here: I'm a transsexual.  I'm also an engineer of sorts.  None of the stories surprised me or filled me with rage, though they should have.  For a lot of people who don't fit in, this is a daily occurence, without realistic recourse of any sort.  I confess, reading some of the comments, part of my reaction is sheer envy, that people would have recourse.  And fury, that most people could give a shit I don't.  But...whines are neither entertaining nor informative, and I'm down to three readers...

      First, lots of folks offered advice, so I'll go ahead and do the same, hoping there is a great big salt quarry nearby someplace...talk to the EEOC people and a lawyer before filing anything or signing your name:}  A local one with a knowledge of the scene and the actual individuals and groups who will be rendering final judgement.  Sometimes, the only way to get justice is to demand it; and sometimes the deck is so stacked that the best thing you can do is play the situation as it lays, maximize the recommendations, and move on.  Generally its not prima facie clear which is which.  Win or lose its a potentially huge investment in time, tears and love.  Everyone plays it differently, but (got the salt ready?  Already pouring?  Good...) the question for me in those cases is, is this important enough to chase all the way?  Not to say it isn't damned important, and justice is damned important, but so is one's life, and the two don't always meet.  All of which you surely know better than I...

      Second, answering your question.  I'll share two stories, in schematic form.  What you need to know reading this is that I'm nonpassing, in trannie parlance.  That means you can tell. I'm not terribly ugly, and have had lots of facial surgery and so on -- semi cute according to some -- but you can tell.  You need to know that...In the first, I went through a three day technical interview.  This is common in my profession, and when you've been sweated for three days, they pretty much know everything about you, some ways.  Passed.  First day at work.  Love the boss!  Love the job, mostly.  Second day at work.  We meet the vice president for development.  He can't look me in the eye.  He laughs every time I talk.  We leave the meeting.  I sit down at my desk.  The phone rings immediately and I'm told to stay at my desk.  Security escorts me to the door.  The second story is similar.  Day long techincal.  Job offer!  Its a place where the workers decide who to hire based on the technical.  They love me, says the recruiter!  I go in to the recruiter.  The company and recruiting pimps pay the lawyers to draw it up (in this case, for other reasons, not cheap).  A day later, before reporting for work, I get a call.  The CEO looked at your resume' and its just not...right.  We are not extending a job offer (of course, they'd already extended it and I'd taken it, signed and delivered...)

      I have other stories, but if I tell them I won't sleep tonight, and I have good memories from today, so fuck that.  I hope it wasn't a terrible mistake to share these...

      I know that many folks response to the above will be "but how can you know , and to a degree, they're right.  But...at some point, the obvious needs to be recognized.  And others will point out that I'm incredibly priviledged -- if I hadn't dropped a couple Lexi worth of surgery on my mug, I would not have even gotten in the door -- and they'd just be right, straight up.  I'm damn lucky, overall.  

      So...Elise, you asked. Hope this was some sort of contribution.  I have my rage too, it never ends...but for me...I have to reach a private peace.  Others do better, with other approaches, including pretending there is no cause for rage at all, or living through that rage to transform the world.  But it is always, always, your call.  Justice demands nothing of you but that you have the happiest life you can.

      Thanks for anyone who got this far...

      •  I don't know why anyone (7+ / 0-)

        would think that sexual harassment of any kind would be acceptable, transsexual or not.  I'm so sorry you've had to go through that, jessica.

      •  Thanks for your story (9+ / 0-)

        If anyone here gives you anything less than support, I will be surprised and disappointed. Keep being you.

        This space intentionally left blank.

        by MattK D1 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:07:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the fear, I guess (7+ / 0-)

          I being a "victim".  Anyone who has gone through this can testify -- and someone might just pop by and do that, one way or the other -- that one of the worst things that can happen to folks in this position is turning into Ms. Poor Me (or Mr. Poor Me, depending).  There's something terribly shameful and horrid to me, not in the idea of telling the story, but in being an object of sympathy or putting myself forward as one.  I did think the perspective of the far edge, or one of them, in discrimination might be useful to others in the discussion or their own thoughts, and I'm continually surprised by the interesting places people who I didn't even like at first go with ideas on these threads...so, there it is :}

      •  Don't feel that way (8+ / 0-)

        Jessica.

        This is a (mostly) supportive place.  

        And if it's not, we'll kick their butts for ya!

        Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

        by DMiller on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:12:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  hi jessical (8+ / 0-)

        thanks for posting your story.  I'm a trans guy (may as well be out here, I'm out pretty much every where else).  I have yet to have any trouble, but we (trans guys) tend to have it a lot easier than trans women on the whole, I'm in academia, I pass pretty well...

        (although I think I heard one or two of my students use the wrong pronoun about me today, but that was an honest mistake I think and not a big deal at all in the scheme of things.)

        Anyway, I wanted to say "hi" and I'm certainly glad you posted your story... I've been semi-contemplating a diary about the oddities of legal sex/gender designations, but haven't managed it yet.

      •  I'm so sorry. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, rserven, jessical

        No one should ever have to go through that. This is a truly despicable series of events perpetuated by horrible and shallow-minded people.

        And I am genuinely angry that you do not have the appropriate legal protections. Since moving down here to Texas, I have noticed a significant difference in openness about anti-LGBT bias, in part because the state condones it. It's disgusting.

        I cannot believe that basic human rights are not extended to everyone. Who are these jerks who let their own shallow and pathetic biases lead their decisions?

      •  Discrimination law (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, rserven, jessical

        I think that transgendered people should absolutely be protected by the same discrimination laws that are supposed to protect women, people of different sexual orientations, etc. This reminds me of Diane Schroer:

        Schroer was an Airborne Ranger qualified Special Forces officer who completed over 450 parachute jumps, received numerous decorations including the Defense Superior Service Medal, and was hand-picked to head up a classified national security operation. She began taking steps to transition from male to female shortly after retiring as a Colonel after 25 years of distinguished service in the Army.

        When she interviewed for a job as a terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress, she thought she'd found the perfect fit [...]. Schroer accepted the position, but when she told her future supervisor that she was in the process of gender transition, they rescinded the job offer. The ACLU is now representing her in a Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit against the Library of Congress.

        I'm sorry that you've had such bad experiences, and I hope that it helps to know that many of us here fully support you. Thank you for sharing your story; I think it's important for us to be aware of these problems, because that's the first step to fixing them.

      •  jessical... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, rserven, jessical

        thank you SO much for this comment. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to it.

        Thanks for the thoughtful advice...and your story. I'm sorry you had to deal with that...all I can say is that I'm absolutely enraged that there was no legal recourse for you in these situations. I know it's legally "acceptable" most places to discriminate against transsexuals...and I am just ashamed that that's the case.

        Thanks for sharing...and seriously...anyone who stopped reading after they read you were a transsexual is a jackass...and they certainly aren't worth your time or mine.

        •  well, as I posted earlier... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, rserven

          ...in the wrong subthread, I really wasn't sure this was appropriate, and I would not have posted in retrospect.  Poster's remorse :}  It's weird and icky to use oneself as an example, and while I give my fellow kossacks huge points for thoughtfulness and humanity of the very best sort, that first layer of sympathy, while nice and all, would probably strip away like brightwork on old teak if we got into who is a woman, who is a man, and how that acts out in terms of civil rights and personal politics.  It's clear in the language people use...and worst of all (heh) it's not their fault...there's just no way to get that information from here, to there, without six novels and a relationship, at least :}  At least the novels would be good...

          What I hoped might be interesting, perhaps only in retrospect, is how different levels of acceptability lead to different levels of kinds of adaptation.  Even after I jump through all the hoops, I am expected to deal with men's sexual stuff gracefully...all my points are used up, and whether they are telling me about how they used to sleep with their sister, how they love to do preops, or how they'd have to kill one if they ever slept with it...all that has to be water under the bridge.  The layer I'm up against is security at the desk, or heavy low level assumptions (like all women).   And the best places to learn, always, has been from other professional women.

          Anyway, sorry again if this was off base, and thanks for the kind words :)

          •  and... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, rserven

            (really going after this honest)

            Suspect this is the same for many other minority women; that the door is so hard to get through, the standards are profoundly different for what you put up with.  Not level of personal dignity or technique; but there's just more that is unaddressable.

            (gone really thanks!)

    •  I don't know how (5+ / 0-)

      common this is, but I was sexually harrassed by a female boss a number of years ago, in a previous job. We were in a one on one meeting, and while she spoke, she kept constant eye contact while holding her fingers in a V shape up to her mouth. She maintained both the eye contact and position even when she dropped a pencil and bent down to pick it up. She never said anything sexually suggestive, but the message was clear. My response was to play dumb and pretend I didn't know what she meant by that. Later, when our program was moved to a different building, I was the only one who wasn't notified, and showed up to the old building to find no one there. I was able to track down a co-worker eventually and found out where the program had moved, but ended up missing about a week of work in-between. I know that's not as bad as your story, but it was still demeaning and humiliating.

      "That's not a hair question. I'm sorry."

      by ubertar on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:55:05 PM PST

      •  I don't think it's all that unknown (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, jessical

        And I'm sorry you experienced it.  What's interesting is, look how the workplace power relationship totally trumps the traditional gender power relationship (fainter today, but still present):  you may be the man, but she's the boss.

        Now imagine when those two reinforce each other: male privilege (some) plus boss privilege (plenty) equals a whole heapin' helpin' of privilege.  Scary when it's abused, even casually or indirectly. As you say, "she never said anything, but the message was clear".  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 10:14:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Get Help/Info -- Workplace Fairness and NELA (8+ / 0-)

      Hi Elise,

      A late arrival to your diary.  So sorry to hear what you and your colleagues are going through.  I'd like to recommend some key resources for you and anyone else who might be encountering potentially discriminatory or harassing conduct in the workplace.

      The National Employment Lawyers' Association (NELA)is a national organization of attorneys who handle employment claims.  To be a member, you must certify you represent employees at least 51% of the time.  So it excludes the lawyers who primarily work for management.  They have general info and a directory where you can look up NELA members in your area.

      And if you just want to find out more about your rights, try Workplace Fairness.  It's a great organization working to support and protect employees.

      Good luck, and hang in there!

      Femlaw

      If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we've got to teach on, teach on. - Ysaye Maria Barnwell

      by Femlaw on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:59:19 PM PST

    •  I'm generally happy where I work (8+ / 0-)

      There are many, many things that can be improved, and I'm trying my hardest to improve them. While not perfect, it's nothing like the other stories in the comments or you mention in your diary. So, in that, I feel very lucky. Although some guy stopped by my office a few weeks ago looking for the person in the next office (older man) and asked if I was his secretary. It took every ounce of self-restraint to not throttle him.

      A major reason I chose to be where I currently work was my experience in grad school. Sexual harrassment doesn't even begin to describe it. Part of the problem was that, at one point in time, of 85 people on my floor, there were three women, excluding two secretaries. That was not easy and I'm amazed I survived. So, I was very cautious about picking my postdoc and current position.

    •  Marriage sexual harassment? (0+ / 0-)

      Need to know soonest.

      •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, jessical

        My ex was a total barstid -- I once damn near kicked out his kneecap because he wouldn't take "No, dear, I'm not up to it tonight."  And the jackass had the nerve to try to guilt-trip me about it.  This was the same jerk who wanted me to go through egg retrieval/in-vitro and surrogacy while I was in grad school -- and had begun menopause a few months before turning 40.  Oh, did I mention that he refused to move with me to the city where I was admitted to grad school?  The story gets worse, but I don't want to get into the details.  Trust me, the guilt, the isolation, the separation and the eventual divorce damn near derailed my graduate program.  What he wanted was someone who would be his arm-candy, make him look good to his bosses, and pick up his smelly athletic gear with that "Oooh, I'm so LUCKY!" smile on her face.  I was never that type.  

        So yes, Phillizy, there is sexual harassment and discrimination in marriage.  Divorce, for me, was the best way out.  It was hard and I grieved, because I did love him, faults and all, but I never regretted it once it was all filed.

        Oh, and I remarried -- my husband (four years now) wouldn't dream of treating me that way.  And he's happy to have a wife who is intelligent, ambitious, and independent-minded.  He's the one I should have married all those years ago.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

        by Noor B on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 11:22:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise

        Been there, have the ugly as hell stories to tell about it too.  I tried to reply to this a bit a go, and the comment got lost somehow.  Short version:  he wanted a babydoll/arm-candy/sex-vixen/handmaiden, and he married me instead.  He put me through a lot of emotional hell, and I divorced him.  I couldn't say no and have it respected.  I couldn't pursue my own dreams and be supported.  When I put my foot down and said no to the egg retrieval/in-vitro/surrogate process (at the age of 40 and in early menopause), he accused me of denying him any chance of having a child.  

        I remarried (four years now), to the guy I should have married in the first place.  He likes having a wife who's smart, ambitious, independent and feisty.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

        by Noor B on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 11:34:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, Elise, thanks for this dairy & sorry (7+ / 0-)

      I missed it earlier. I've written & cancelled 3 comments so
      far.

      Let's just say that even twelve years ago at the university where
      I was a T.A., despite the new rules in place about sexual
      harrassment, it was rampant in that same "walk down the hall
      and we'll be judging you" way, or, worse, the "speak up too
      much and we'll label you as dept. bitch" way (even if subtley),
      "so good luck at committee meetings."

      I somehow did not get labeled this way, but my buddies did, my
      professors did. It was rampant, and this was in a place that tried
      not to have that happen officially and even departmentally. It
      just WAS.

      Worse always for the female staff, though. I hope people are or
      have already fought for them there.

      It is never too late to be what you might have been...George Eliot

      by begone on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:40:01 PM PST

    •  yay I'm up in time for a feminisms diary (6+ / 0-)

      I had a problem with a Professor in college.  He was the main one who taught classes in my area of specialization, and I did well.  Near the end of my program, with one grade in the last class, he invited me out to lunch to discuss a research position for him.

      He would have been working on a project entailing trips to Europe, you know how they are, more sexually liberated than us, would it bother you staying in hotels in Amsterdam that have erotic pictures of women on walls, depicting sex acts and so on.  That was weird, but then at the end in his office he tried to hug and kiss me.

      I was in shock, pushed him away and got out of there.  I complained and met with the head of the Dept. who was "shocked" to hear about it.  Another female Prof. called me into her office one day to tell me many other women had complained about him, and told me she would contact others on my behalf, to join my suit.  She knew of two personally who had complained to the head.  In the end I trackd down another 10 women, none would come forward publicly.

      The suit was never filed, the lawyer just wanted to know how much money I would settle for, I wanted justice.  The EEOC complaint went nowhere because it was my word against his.  Every other male prof. I had treated me differently, with obvious discomfort in my presence (except one angel of a man).

      In the end he was forced to retire, I think enough people knew the truth, but he was already old, didn't lose anything, and I didn't get justice.  That was the end of my career in that field--no final grade in the most important class and no recommendation from the one Professor I needed it from because of my specialization.

      I thought I was "ok" until 6 months later in a tai chi class when I freaked out.  The sub teacher (male) came up behind me and touched my back to correct my posture, and I snapped, turning around and nearly decking me while I burst into tears and ran from the room.  6 months of therapy helped, but in the end it was bewildering because my chosen career was over before it began, right at the end of university.

      Thad McCotter, Republican Policy Committee Chair, on bipartisanship: "Those tribal animosities and ancient hatreds, they tend to reassert themselves."

      by lizah on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:40:05 PM PST

      •  Oh lizah... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, lizah

        what a heartbreaking story. I'm so sorry no one else would come forward...and...well, for all of that. That's just awful. God it makes me MAD!

        And then to feel that way for months and months...well, sad to say I know exactly how that feels...for other reasons. But I do. I'm so sorry. I hope you have found some happiness in the career you ended up in though?

        •  Thanks Elise (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise

          I know you understand what the aftermath is like, it helps to share it and it's even better to know I was strong enough to move on and face life ahead rather than dwelling in the past.

          I wonder sometimes what would have/could have happened--would I be a CAP fellow or something, things like that.  But in the end it worked out, I forged a business career from a very interdisciplinary approach combining the academic background with other things so it has worked out.

          And the whole "fuck this, I have to get out of here" mentality led to me being abroad, in the right place for said interdisciplinary forging.  All's well that ends well...

          Thad McCotter, Republican Policy Committee Chair, on bipartisanship: "Those tribal animosities and ancient hatreds, they tend to reassert themselves."

          by lizah on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 12:13:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Reading this Diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      keirdubois, tryptamine, Elise, jessical

      Reading this diary is an amazing experience, and not necessarily in a good way. Look at all of these responses. Listen to all of these stories about how many women here have been sexually harassed. It happened "then," it's happening "now."

      I'm goin to save this diary, Elise, and when I need to demonstrate that sexual harassment still exists, I will have the unfortunate data I need to prove it.

      And action-lady, this might be worth sending as a link to any elected officials who take a strong feminist stance.

    •  Oh, one story to add, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, Elise, jessical, kath25

      at the "sexual harassment training" given to all new employees at a leading investment bank, Imus was being broadcast on a large screen TV while we read the policy, and the definitions of sexual harassment, and filled out that we had read the relevant info.  Imus was talking about a movie about Ray Charles, and how many women he had "boned."  He talked about "boning" women for quite some time, with whomever his guest was.  Then he started expressing his opinions about homosexuals - take a guess.  Finally I had enough, and asked the HR person (guy) to change the channel.  The look I got was clear, "ok, we have a trouble-maker here."  

      I subsequently complained to his boss.  Guess what was done.

      "Nothing," would be the winning answer.

      •  My office, which preaches "zero tolerance" had an (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Elise, jessical

        outside contractor presenting a continuing ed course.  The hypothetical he continually used was offensive and not at all sublte. Several of us complained and the contractor ceased working for our office.  Great result, although he did traverse the state spreading his slime before the axe fell.

    •  Reading this Diary, pt II (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, Elise

      As the son of a feminist, it doesn't surprise me that this stuff still happens. What's heartbreaking are the individual details of each story. Every one of you who have had to live through sexual harassment is made of stronger stuff than me. I honestly don't know how I'd handle it if it happened to me.

    •  Jesus H Christ! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise

      Who the fuck cares if these ladies are divorced, single, have children are dating black dudes or whatever, this is their personal life!

      This type of shit irks me to no end, the petty powerful fuckers at a community college fucking with their employees is just so sad. This Harry fellow needs an ass whopping or he needs to be dragged into court and held up to some scrutiny for his sad pathetic behavior.

      Ladies, I apologize for this sad mans behavior and promise if i am ever in a position of power I will not care who you date nor will I leer like a sex starved fool, but don't kill me if I take a quick look on those days you wear that skirt that shows off your assets. Do we have a deal?

      absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

      by jbou on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 11:14:03 PM PST

    •  Dr. Asshole (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Helen in MD, tryptamine, Elise

      Elise, What a horrible situation.  Thank you for writing about it.

      Have you investigated whether Mr. Ogler is harrassing students as well? Chances are, he is.  He is obviously a person who enjoys the misuse of his power over women.  And if you're putting together a case against him and the college, there's no better way to get the community (even a fundamentalist community) behind you than to have evidence that their fair young daughters are being abused by predatory professors / administrators.

      I entered college back in the late '70's, planning on being a math teacher.  I had detested math in high school, although I was quite good at it. I got married young, and as a counter irritant to the dumbing down process of raising small children, I got a calculus book out of the town library and taught myself calculus.  Not only did I have a fine time doing so, I thought I saw some better ways to teach the subject.

      However, Dr. Asshole intervened.  Dr. Asshole taught the course in what essentially was basic proofs.  Absolutely required for all mathematics majors.  He was very unpleasant in class, but that was par for the course.  However, he graded capriciously, using criteria of 'elegance' of proof known only to himself.  The final straw was when he scheduled an additional class time for struggling students to review homework that I couldn't make because I had to be home when the kids got home from school.  I dropped the course, dropped mathematics, and became a physics major (and later an engineer/scientist at IBM).  Any improvements I might have made in teaching math never happened.

      Anyway in due course, I became a physic graduate student.  Now at my college, the senior and junior physics majors had offices.  As a result, the grad students got to know the younger students quite well.  As one of only 2 female graduate students (and the other one was very unapproachable), I ended up being the de facto mom/advisor for some of the female students.  It was in this capacity that I became friends with Alissa (names changed to protect, etc.)  

      Alissa and Jimmy shared an office and were good buddies.  Jimmy was a nice guy, really nice.  Jimmy and Alissa signed up to take Differential Equations, and who should be teaching the course but my old friend, Dr. Asshole.

      One day, after the first exam, Alissa came to the office to rant about Dr. Asshole.  Dr. Asshole demeaned every girl who asked a question in class. And he ridiculed every girl in class for stupidity whenever and however she answered any question. Dr. Asshole had given her a D+ on her test.  

      I asked her did she have any prof in math who could look at her test and check it out for her.  She did. She took her test to her old calculus professor to regrade.  He said that he did not see how he could grade it lower than a B+. Grades were a real concern for Alissa, because she wanted to get into med school. She came back and told me about that.

      So I told my story about dropping Dr. Asshole's class.  And advised her that it was necessary to know differential equations in physics, but it was not a required course to graduate.  In any case, as she knew well, the math curriculum was about 1 to 2 semesters behind the physics curriculum, so she had already had to do differential equations before she took the class.  Since her goal was to get into med school, perhaps dropping Dr. Asshole was the thing to do.

      And she did.  And went on to become a doctor.

      However, the story intrigued me.  I thought Dr. Asshole was an asshole when I took his class.  I took his sneerings and behaviors as something that was personal to me, not as symptoms of his behavior to all female students (of course there were about 3 in the class when I took it, so perhaps there was a reason I didn't notice..)  So since Jimmy was also taking the class, I asked him his opinion of Dr. Asshole.  Had he noticed Dr. Asshole harassing the female students?

      And Jimmy said that while Dr. Asshole was a bit of a jerk, he hadn't noticed anything like that.  So I wondered if Alissa had been a bit of a drama queen about it all.  The next day Jimmy came into my office with his eyes as wide as cartwheels.

      And he told me that Alissa was right.  Every time a woman either asked or answered a question, Dr. Asshole demeaned or ridiculed her.  He couldn't believe he had never noticed it.  

      And so Jimmy and I learned something right there.  People focus on themselves.  

      If you're not the victim of something (like Jimmy), you can miss that an asshole is harrassing some whole class of people that you don't belong to when the behavior is right before your eyes.

      And if you are a victim, as I was, you can take it personally and not see all the other victims in the room.

      However, the story does not quite end there.  Ten years later I was reading my morning paper, and what do you know?  There was Dr. Asshole.  He had gotten fired from the college.  And here's why:  You remember the class for struggling students?  Well, he was offering even further help to young struggling female students--in return for sexual favors, and renting a room at his house.

      So now you see, as I did how the whole scam worked:

      Lower the self esteem of the female students.  Undergrade them on tests.  Schedule extra help sessions for those with low grades.  Pick the ones you want to hit on from that subset.  Hitting them for rent as well as sex was a unique test of his own, though.

      All invisible, because so few people are like Alissa, who can see the whole pattern at a glance.

      And so, Elise, check out what this guy is doing to students, because there is a pattern, if you can find it.

      And good luck.  The academic world would be better off for losing a few more Dr. Assholes.

    •  is there no sexual harassment policy in place? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, Elise

      the community colleges I know have policies and procedures for these complaints. Don't know about the bible-belt tho.

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