91 Stories of Archaeology

Posted on April 14, 2018

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Reading this first sentence is easy, it is making it to the next sentence and then the next and the next, until the end that will be the challenge. For some, the words will be too raw, too real, too personal, too disturbing – don’t read. For everyone else, all I can say is that there are 91 stories of archaeologists here; each one is unique. You really can’t fully comprehend until you read them all and even then…

The Stories

In December, Karen Kelsky, of the The Professor Is In, started a crowd-sourced a survey on sexual misconduct in academia, currently at 2438 responses, all recorded in a public spreadsheet. Searching through them I found 91 of these stories involve archaeologists*. What follows are follows are the experiences of 91 of your peers:

What is happening at LSU?

It is joint department so it is hard to tell if the issues are from geography or anthropology but there seems to be a clear pattern:

“At various department social events, other professors made lewd remarks about my wife and other women and daughters. At one party, when my wife was pregnant, she was told that pregnancy must agree with her because her breasts were filling out and looked sexy, and that I must be loving that. I was standing right there! Neither of us knew what to say. At another party, one of them looked my wife up and down from the back in a lewd manner while standing in line to get pot luck dishes and commented on what a sexy figure she has. Again, this is in front of me, so I don’t know if that classifies as sexual harassment of her or of me, or of both. At another party, one of them came up behind someone else’s tween daughter and pushed her into the pool and then remarked that she was beginning to look great in a wet T-shirt. When I got tenure and my daughters became a bit older we stopped going to social events like the Christmas party, crawfish boil, and so on out of disgust at this toxic department culture. And we didn’t want to expose our daughters. I can’t remember the last time I went to any department social event (or “total creep show,” as my wife refers to them).”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I complained but nothing happened”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “A negative impact on promotion and merit raises”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It’s depressing having your family suffer sexual harassment, having the university do absolutely nothing about it, and seeing the perpetrators get away with it year after year as well as make decisions about your promotions and raises.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I and my family have withdrawn as much as possible from interacting with my department. I now keep my professional and social lives fairly separate. We still get together for dinner with other faulty, grads, and their families occasionally, but it’s always in small groups where we can control who is there and make sure none of the creeps show up.”


graduate student – “In May 2007, I went out with friends to join the usual department happy hour at a local bar. I was wearing a wrist brace for recently-diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome. Someone at the table asked what the brace was for, I explained. High ranking professor at the table, drunk, overhearing the conversation commented to me, “Well, if you can’t use your hand, I guess you’ll have to learn how to suck testicles!”  I was too shocked to respond. Someone at the table who heard his comment must have said something to him because a few seconds later he said, “Oh you’ll read about this in the Reveille [student newspaper] tomorrow! Professor charged with harassing students! hahaha”  ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I reported the incident to HRM maybe a month or so later after consulting with two female professors and gathering my courage. Before going to HRM, following LSU policy, I reported the incident to the current department head, who was about to leave the university for another job. Apparently it was his duty to accompany me to HRM to make my complaint, but when I told him he just sighed heavily and said, “Well, what do you want to do?” So I went to HRM alone. I wasn’t able to provide witnesses to the professor’s comment – my friends who were with me didn’t hear it and the people who did hear it were the professor’s fiancee/wife at the time (she was one of his current or former grad students), and a few other grad students who were buddy-buddy with him. ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “According to the letter I received from HRM, he denied everything but the comment about the Reveille which he claimed was “regularly said in the department.” He was, “advised that if he made those comments they were inappropriate and unprofessional,” the university’s policy on sexual harassment was “reemphasized to him”, and he was told to limit his interactions with me. He later became department chair, and was up to become dean of the graduate school at one point. Myself and many other female students from my cohort made sure that that didn’t happen the only way we knew how, by writing letters of complaint to the selection committee about his behavior. He’s currently a professor emeritus in the department at LSU and teaches at another university overseas, he’s received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships over the years.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health- “I still have carpal tunnel so I’m still, unfortunately, frequently reminded of his disgusting and uncalled for comment, even 10 years later. But overall I’m fine.  He’s gross and he has to live with that. Mainly I still deal with anger at the department and LSU for doing nothing to punish someone who clearly had a track record for this type of behavior, and anger that he continued to be promoted after my complaint and what I later learned was a mountain of others.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory- “This was the first time I had experienced harassing behavior from a superior in a professional context. I had dealt with incidents before from peers. It was disappointing to learn from this incident, and from speaking with other female students, how rampant this behavior was among several senior male professors in the department. It fortunately didn’t effect my career trajectory and that of several of my fellow students, but I worry about the effect it may have had on others who weren’t as lucky as me.”
Other Comments- “Years after this incident, I was contacted to take part in a lawsuit against this professor about something completely unrelated. (I never did) Apparently the lawyer was able to get this professor’s work records from LSU HRM and it was close to 400 pages of content, including my complaint.  I can only imagine how many others were in there!”


PhD candidate – “Sent emails by my major professor asking me to do sexual things. Also saw/heard same professor make suggestive remarks to others in class (in front of whole class, we just laughed uncomfortably like idiots) ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any)- “HR told him not to talk to me again; All but two professors in the department treated me like a pariah for reporting it because it was an “open secret” and not a big deal. Some faculty members tried to intimidate me into leaving the program. A brave faculty member who had also be harassed by the same senior faculty member years before reported her harassment to HR after I did and apologized to me for not reporting it when it had happened  (I understand after reporting it why she didn’t & in no way do I blame her). ”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Where do I begin? It took me a while to put together a new committee that would work with me since I was a pariah in the department for reporting him. Many faculty members suddenly suggested “this program isn’t right for you” to me after 3 years of successful course completion and receiving over $40k from the department in stipends over those years. I doubted myself. I had anxiety anytime I was around my cohort or department members. I was an emotional mess. It was a major blow to my self-confidence and it took me longer to complete the program (as I had to find a new committee, etc), costing me extra time and money. (I did find two wonderful faculty members who were willing to advocate for me.)”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Awful. At one point, I seriously considered ending everything during the height of my position as a pariah. I saw a psychologist and sought help. I had the worst episode of depression for about two years. I spent lots of money (and credit card debt) on therapy.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory- “All of this has changed the career trajectory I saw for myself, as my lack of confidence and social anxiety has hindered my desire to apply for many jobs. I am still uneasy about male coworkers and find myself just waiting for it to happen again…and wondering what I could do to prevent it. I don’t think if it did happen again, I’d ever report it given how I was treated. I still have pretty bad social anxiety, which isn’t helpful as far as being a good colleague. I decided not to pursue R1 tenure track jobs because I just didn’t have the self-confidence & I knew my social anxiety would be a strike against me. I’m also worried that those who treated me like a pariah would tell others in my field things to persuade them to think less of me because I reported it. I am still fearful of reprocussions from people in that department as they have a lot of contacts in our discipline & professional organization. My harasser has since passed away and some people make me feel like I’m destroying his decades of contributions to the field & legacy if I bring it up…like somehow I, the victim, am to be responsible for not victimizing my harasser’s legacy. It sucks. You can contribute important things to your field and have done good work yet still be a harasser. It isn’t that black and white. ”


“The Department Chair posts provocative posters of women on his office door. Picture a large pinup of a nude woman with pouting lips laying in bed, covered only by a thin sheet, pulled down to expose much of one breast.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – None

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – Complaining about it has resulted in retaliation

Women Predators

While 90+% of harassers were male, there were still some females. These are the stories of the victims, both male and female:

2nd year undergraduate, A SW US community college – “In 1992-1993 an Instructor forced me to have sex with her about 40 times during the academic year under threat of failing class and derailing my career trajectory in archaeology. Instructor eventually got pregnant (she lied about birth control) and tried to force me into a domectic type relationship. It only ended when I left the institution.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None. It was never reported.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None…I went on and became a professor at a R1 and she still teaches at community colleges.”


Late-stage PhD candidate, new Assistant Professor, Indiana University – “Over the course of several years, a female archaeology faculty (then tenure track assistant professor) serially harassed young female LGBTQ identified students (grad and undergrad) in the field, during the academic year, and at professional meetings. This was done in a way in which relationships of “trust”and “mutual dependence” were formed usually in the field and then amplified afterwards. I ended the working relationship on purely ethical grounds out of concerns for student safety.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None/Not Reported”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I have become extremely careful about the kinds of field, lab, and office situations I let students work in. Their safety and security must be my top priority. This doesn’t effect me in a particular way, but I feel it does challenge me to raise my own ethical standards and actions. I have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “None per say, but a lot of lost sleep and many difficult conversations.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory- “I have stayed the course of my career, but like I said, I work pretty hard to promote a safe and equitable place for career development. Frankly, at the time and much to my own deep embarrassment, I had no AA/EEO training and simply didn’t know what to do. That is not the case any more, and I take these situations all very seriously.”


Graduate Student by a Fellow Graduate student – “A rumor was spread around the department that I was sleeping with a senior faculty member, who was also my graduate adviser, and in exchange was receiving preferential treatment.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – none
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I felt isolated within the department, many people believed the accusation and it made the relationship between myself and my adviser strained.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I was depressed and hurt by how many people seemed to believe the rumor. Worse they made it seem like that if this situation was occurring (it wasn’t) that it would have been my fault.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I quickly finished my degree and left the institution.”


pre-candidacy doctoral student (harasser-Advisor; full professor)  – “early 2010s. Advisor talked to other graduate students about my body (along the lines of, “hasn’t she gotten fatter?”) and used it as pretext for not offering me potentially career-advancing field opportunities; my actual abilities were unchanged. Additionally, advisor historically gave preferential treatment to male students. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Some were floated (reimbursement for missed $$ opportunities; denial of step promotion opportunity for harasser) but nothing material came to fruition. Department chair did have her write a signed letter of apology. ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None really, at least not because of this particular series of actions. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “There were field experiences and opportunities denied to me. This individual is fairly well connected in our field and and we work in the same region, making our regional conferences uncomfortable for me. I switched advisors, but my current advisor does not work in the same area or topic as me, and could not meaningfully help me with networking or collaboration.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Increasing self-doubt; intense worsening of grad-school related anxiety and depression ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Hard to quantify, but this (plus many other things) has contributed to me not wanting to pursue academia when (if?) I finish my PhD.”


grad student – “I was made to feel uncomfortable by a professor who thought she was “helping” me prepare for a job interview. She commented repeatedly on my clothing, my appearance, and my bearing. it was clear that she was using her “counseling” guise to justify her demeaning comments about looks and my sexuality.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It made me feel so ugly inside.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I had to leave academia to get away from people like her.”


Graduate student- “A student in my cohort ramped up a pattern of inappropriate sexual comments and behavior, culminating in sexual assault. Over time, she showed me her breasts and crotch, talked about the size of her vagina, and touched my breasts. At a bar one night, she repeatedly groped me and pushed up my skirt while I told her over and over to stop touching me and leave me alone. She grabbed my pussy from behind. She only quit after I screamed at her that I would punch her if she didn’t stop. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None. She had a habit of accusing other students of “violating” her or making her uncomfortable. I felt that I couldn’t report her, because I suspected that she would make a counter-accusation to muddy the waters. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I left the field. I kept running into her at conferences, and my friends still work with her, even though they know about the assault. It was too much. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I have been angry and traumatized for years. ”
Other Comments – “I think the reason I’ve been unable to move on from this assault is precisely because of its invisibility as assault. I felt my peers didn’t take it seriously because the perpetrator is a straight cis-woman. The fact that some still work with her seems to confirm that invisibility. ”

What is happening at Chicago?

Ph.D. student- “I was assaulted during work in the field by another participant on the excavation.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Reported but no response of which I am aware”


Graduate student- “A faculty member, ***, Department of Anthropology, cornered women at parties, kissed and groped them.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Irrelevant – This was the 1970s”


PhD student- “Professor groped me.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – None/Not reported

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Continual wondering about the worth of my work”


Ph.D. student – “I was stalked by a professor in my department”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Chair of department listened to my complaint but nothing (that I know of) was ever said to the stalker”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “General feeling of powerlessness and devaluement”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Increased anxiety and depression”


undergrad and grad student – “When I was an undergrad at the University of Chicago and in the early years of grad school at Penn, I was sexually harrassed by a mentor. He put enormous pressure on me to respond to his desires and I resisted. When he and I moved to Penn, there was a moment when, in a sick moment, he stuck his tongue inside my mouth and I let him feel me.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I told no one about it.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I struggled in graduate school, to find my place, to write, to finish. He mentored me into intellectual life (at all — I am the first in my generation to go to college) and it was forever tainted by the duress and enormous pressure he placed on me sexually. I suffered through graduate school. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I was depressed, angry, unable to write. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I stuck it out in grad school and ended up in academia. ”

It is Complicated

(LSU) – “At a department backyard social event one evening I heard the department chair say to one of the associate professors that sometimes he just wanted to give him a great big french kiss. The associate professor said something like, “Oh come on, please stop with all that.” That made me think I had overheard some sort of ongoing situation between them. I was shocked. I did not know either of them was anything other than heterosexual. Both were married. I doubt they realized I had overheard because it was a dark part of the backyard and they were standing a little ways off by themselves, but the sound carried so I heard it clearly. They never said anything to me about it. I never said anything to either of them or anyone else other than my partner, who had long held the opinion both were secretly gay and this incident only confirmed it.”

“Sometimes when you witness what you think might be sexual harassment of one person by another it’s not entirely clear what to do and you end up doing nothing. What if all is fine between them and it’s consensual, but you end up outing them? One could say go to the one being seemingly propositioned to talk about it, but they both had so much power over the future of my career that I could have ended up making them both hate me and ended my career. But what if you witnessed something that really was abusive and failed to act and thereby enabled the abuser? I would greatly appreciate if you could address that issue on your blog.”


Associate Prof – “A married male colleague in another department kissed me in a private meeting, but it was consensual. A couple of years later he was reported for sexual harassment of a student. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Administrators basically went on a wtch-hunt/ fact-finding mission, asking people with whom he had associated if they had ever experienced harassment, without naming the perpetrator or why they were being asked. As far as I know they never found anything related to this Prof.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Was put on leave, then was reinstated but with severely restricted access to students. ”
Other Comments – “This is a poorly designed survey as the questions are geared towards only people with a harassment story to tell – but you also need to include responses of people who have nothing to report to fuller understand the scale/scope.

In terms of this case, I don’t doubt that this happened based on his overstepping bounds with me, but I felt that the process was incredibly flawed.”


Ph.D. student – “While I was a graduate student, I met a tenure-track professor at the AAAs whose work I liked and who had been recommended to me as someone to connect with. We spoke initially at a panel (he offered to read my dissertation draft and suggested we collaborate on some work) and then later continued the conversation at a drinks party for our AAA section. He and another male tenure-track professor in our field bought me multiple drinks, and he told me he was separated from his wife and they were getting a divorce. We left together and everything that happened was consensual, but six months later I received an e-mail from his wife (still married, not separated, not divorced) telling me that she knew all about our “highly inappropriate relationship” and that I should never contact him again. She contacted me as well through Facebook, and continued to message me. I don’t know how she found out or got my contact information, but I never responded because I was so mortified and had no idea what to say, and didn’t want to add fuel to the fire.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “none, I didn’t report anything as I didn’t feel harassed by the man since it was consensual. However, I did feel misled when I found out he was still married, and in retrospect feel that he was able to use his position relative to mine to draw me in (promises to read my work, etc).”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I found myself avoiding situations where I might see him or work with him, because I am legitimately afraid of his wife coming after me again. I have also had to tell friends who are considering working with him or who do work with him to be cautious about bringing my name up unless it’s strictly about my work, and to never mention me around his wife if they interact with her at department functions or other social settings. I feel that this has derailed potential research collaborations and steered me away from academia. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I have ongoing embarrassment and self-doubt about ending up in such a cliche situation. The emails and messages from his wife were very stressful and I was consumed with guilt that continues to linger. I still fear her wrath, although I feel “safer” now that I am married and have a kid. I never would have crossed the line from professional to personal with this man if I had known the truth about his marriage. ”


Fieldwork

Ph.D. Student (University of Minnesota) – “Upon arrival for summer fieldwork in a foreign country, my graduate advisor insisted that we share a hotel room with a single bed, and spent the night attempting (without success) to get me to declare my love for him and to sleep together (I insisted on sleeping alone on the floor).  His inappropriate comments, touching, asking me to “at least” give him a piece of my unwashed laundry to sleep with, etc. continued, despite my firm refusals, for the remaining weeks of the project, and all I clung to was the hope that the relationship would become purely professional again when we returned from the field (and to our respective fiances).  Things did seem better back home during the fall semester, but in the winter he and his fiance broke up, and the inappropriate emails and invitations resumed.  He even began forwarding me email conversations between himself and an undergraduate who he had insisted on taking on dates after she had come to his office asking for a letter of recommendation (he had spelled out all the details in the emails).  I can only imagine that he was trying to show me the kind of grand romance that “I was missing out on,” or something yucky of the sort.  Ultimately, my refusals to meet privately with him escalated to him threatening to give me a bad annual review and have me thrown out of the program.  I next went to the (then) department chair, director of graduate studies, and a female professor, to ask for help, and was repeatedly turned away.  I finally reported him to the Title IX office, and things only got worse from there.  I turned over all of the emails and a list of willing witnesses, and the “investigation” dragged on for almost a year (during which I was forbidden to speak about it, but continued to be slandered within the department) before the Title IX office issued a report stating that some of his ill-advised behaviors “may have led [me] to feel that [I] was being harassed,” but they concluded that I actually was not.  The report was also worded in such a way that it painted me in a very negative light.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Retaliation for reporting. ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “A couple of years later, he was denied tenure (he appealed, claiming that it was due to my “false” accusations, and they concluded that it was for unrelated reasons).  He left the department and was given a position advising undergraduates.  This didn’t last more than a year or two and then he quietly left the institution.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “The Title IX report was circulated within the department and I was pegged as a liar and a troublemaker.  I was kicked off a book project (for which I had been co-editor of a previous edition), and most of the faculty on my graduate committee emailed to state that they were no longer willing to serve on my committee.  I persisted in completing my research, with assistance from mentors in other departments and at other institutions.  I did manage to graduate, but it took several additional years to acquire a new advisor and committee.  I am very thankful for those who ultimately did come through for me.  When on the job market, several faculty declined (or outright ignored) my requests for letters of recommendation, despite having earned a 4.0, and excellent comments, in every one of their classes.  I landed a tenure-track position, anyway, with recommendations from other successful colleagues.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I experienced periods of deep depression and despair, as well as feelings of inadequacy and shame.  At times, I still struggle with “impostor syndrome.””
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I have managed to stay on track toward my goals; however, it took approximately five years longer to graduate and land a tenure-track position, than it likely would have if my original advisor had remained professional and supportive, if I’d had positive access to the full network of my professors’ peers, and if all the faculty who knew my work best would have been willing to recommend me.  It’s possible to calculate, based on the job that I ultimately got, how much my lifetime earning potential was reduced by entering the job market five years later than necessary.  It’s not pretty.”


Graduate student (University of Wyoming) – “I overheard a male faculty member discussing the physical appearance (“fuckability” in his terms) of female field school students; witnessed this faculty member leering at particular students and encouraging them to drink with him…rumors that he pursued multiple students (and slept with at least one).”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Not reported…a different male faculty member (same department) was reported for sexually pursuing a student and while well documented and widely known nothing happened- did not feel comfortable reporting.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None (promoted I think)”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Not comfortable taking his classes or including him on my committee (as encouraged by my adviser) but finished my degree.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I still gag every time I see this guys name in print.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Has made me question the emphasis placed on fieldwork and made me hesitant to join field crews w/o asking trusted colleagues about PI behavior.”


Graduate student- “On a field project in Africa, the professor I was traveling with climbed in my bed and groped me in the middle of the night.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Title XI and Office of Institutional Equity investigation; other accusers came forward.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Professor found guilty of sexual misconduct and was suspended for one year but was not fired.  Is resuming his position beginning Spring 2018.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “As yet undetermined, but he told a lot of people that I was his accuser and I have had to deal with the embarrassment and frustration of my name being revealed.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Anxiety and depression resulting from the investigation being so long and drawn out, the university not keeping me informed of the progress of the investigation, and finally, after all of that, him being able to keep his job.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Undetermined as yet.”


I was a graduate student – “While doing fieldwork for my dissertation, sexual harassment was pervasive and extensive, from local employees trying to convince me to sleep with them, asking inappropriate questions, and groping me; to colleagues commenting on my breasts, sharing conversations about my body they had with local employees, and persistently making sexual innuendos; to my supervisor promising the employees he’d send only pretty students to that place to conduct fieldwork. When I had a conflict with another female student, it was generally assumed to be because we were sleeping with the same employee (… we were not, and it was not).

My supervisor asked me if a mutual friend, who was an artist, “painted me like one of his French girls.””

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I never reported my supervisor. I did report some details of the employees’ behavior to my supervisor (who managed the field site), and I was able to fire the worst harassers. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I cut my field season short because I was so fucking tired of dealing with harassment. I love fieldwork, and I love my research, but I didn’t do it as well as I could have because I spent significant mental energy mitigating all of this. I was less productive than I could have been in a harassment-free context. Writing up my results for my dissertation took longer because I kept having to dive back into data collected when I was being harassed (oh yeah, this is the day they asked me when I first started having sex. Oh yeah, this is the day they joked about having a threesome with me). When I compare my work and output to my much more productive male best friend in the program, I think one major difference is that he didn’t deal with pervasive sexual harassment and he could put this whole mind into his research the whole time.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It was exhausting and traumatic. And in our #metoo context, it feels like every time I open the internet, I can’t escape conversations about sexual harassment and assault.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I chose to continue in my field despite being sexually assaulted during my first field experience (not in an academic context). That means that I’m already working through stress and trauma and thinking about this when I go to the field. I haven’t let the more explicit harassment keep me from doing the work and research I love to do. I feel like my interactions with my supervisor have been the more damaging and insidious part of my experience. He’s been incredibly supportive and helpful in many ways, but also clearly thinks less of me and feels comfortable making sexualized comments in a way he doesn’t for his me students, and I know that will have to come out in things like letters of recommendation.”


PhD Candidate – “I was newly arrived at my field site and the director of the research institute I was affiliated with invited me to lunch, where we spoke about our shared research interests. I was pleased that such a senior scholar found my work interesting. Then he pushed me against a wall and forcibly kissed me, shattering the illusion that he cared about my scholarship at all.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None – I did not report”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I realized that I would never, ever work at that institute. He made it clear that he could hire me, but the offer would be conditional on us having a sexual relationship. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Yet another incident where I was reminded that a senior male scholar saw me as a sex object, rather than a colleague. These incidents are undermining and induce self-doubt.”


Graduate Student, Trench Supervisor (Archaeological Excavation) – “Summer 2015  I was a graduate student and a trench supervisor on an archaeological site and he was the director of the field school students; it was his first year working with our (established) team. He was given the (honorary) title of co-supervisor in my trench, despite contributing nothing to the actual supervisory duties. It began casually enough, with comments about the kinds of women he finds attractive (followed by a string of adjectives that more or less describe me), questions about my dating history, and comments that men must show interest in me often. It developed into specific comments (So-and-So must have hit on you when you were working at X (other) site) and suggestions about exercises I could perform in order to, for example, improve my bust (his word, not mine). All of the comments came when no one else was within hearing distance. He would make “jokes” about being heartbroken and suicidal that I wouldn’t follow him home and would hold my writing implements hostage so I would have to talk to him in order to get them back (I avoided him otherwise). He carved my name onto an ancient artifact (HIGHLY inappropriate, regardless of what you carve on there). I spoke with the site director about my discomfort and he spoke with the Offender, but things escalated. He kept asking me for drinks after dinner and, during a social event, pressed his body against mine and only backed off when a (male) colleague entered the scene. Finally I addressed the issue with the Offender myself, at which point he told me that I only said I was uncomfortable because I felt threatened in my authority in MY trench I asked for clarification on this comment three times, to be sure that I didn’t misunderstand him. He said that, yes, he did not believe I was actually uncomfortable with his behavior and comments, only that I felt like he was “taking over” in my trench. He assured me repeatedly that he would “let” me retain authority, I could calm down.  I was furious and cried on site, but he remained working on site, in my trench, for the remainder of the season. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – None

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I avoided an entire area of my trench in order to avoid talking to this man, which meant that I lost a great deal of information about what he was doing. I did not attend social events without a (male) friend to run interference. I cried on site more than once. I continue to think about the six-week period of harassment, two years later. It has affected my relationship with my site directors and advisors.”


Assistant Professor – “During academic fieldwork, my co-collaborator (a senior male, and also my former dissertation advisor) had invited a senior French archaeologist who was his close friend to join us in the field. Based on prior experience I knew the two of them would act somewhat badly, so I warned my younger female students that there might be off color jokes etc. The senior French archaeologist acted badly beyond anything I could have anticipated. Not only were there stupid and childish homophobic jokes and generally stupid male banter between the two senior males, but the French archaeologist also proceeded to talk in a disgusting and sexist manner about the local indigenous women in Church who we had seen on the weekend, discussing their body parts and how he would like to have sex with them (in a much more vulgar manner). All of this was in front of three younger female field assistants who came to me later in a panic- they had never experienced this sort of behavior before (being sexually harassed), one put it this way- that she had never felt so uncomfortable but at the same time that she had no power to say anything to ask the behavior to stop. I decided I had to confront my co-PI and tell him that this French researcher would no longer be invited into the field to work with me as he was sexually harassing the female students. My co-Pi (remember this is my former dissertation chair) blamed the whole incident on me- I was told that yes, this French archaeologist was a sexist but that I just had to deal with it, and moreover, I had been “pushing his buttons” so whatever had happened was my fault. Never have I felt so unsupported by a male colleague in my entire life. ”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “He said later to my colleague that he would never work again with me in the field and that he would try to ban me from getting research permits in the country where I work. This has not happened but I do know he has called me difficult and bitchy to other male colleagues. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “The whole incident was incredibly stressful and disappointing, but I am glad I stood up and said something to my co-PI. It made me change my relationship with him- we are not as close now and I lost respect for him in many ways. ”


In a tenured Museum research position – “In the field in a foreign country, an undergraduate student researcher who was working with my co-PI (also my former dissertation advisor) was sexually assaulted by one of the local men my co-PI had hired to work on his crew. While I had been part of the fieldcrew, the assault happened after I had left. My co-Pi had let female US students smoke pot and drink alcohol with other males on the crew and other local (foreign) male workers. As a female researcher, I knew this was not acceptable cultural behavior in this part of the world and told the female students as such, but because I was not head PI of the project they did not have to follow my advice or my rules. My co-PI let this female student go fishing, alone in a boat, with a male field worker (foreign) who then sexually assaulted her and threatened her life numerous times. Once the assault was reported by the student it was reported to the local police. My co-PI did everything he could to keep the story under wraps and out of foreign newspapers and US papers so as to save his own reputation. He also called me and asked me to lie to the local police stating that he did not want them to know that he and the student had been smoking pot (which is illegal in this part of the country). ”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “The student who experienced the sexual assault left archaeology. She thought about suing the PI managing the project for inappropriate advising while in the field, as he had her sign a form stating she would not smoke pot or do illegal activities in the field, but then she did so (in participation with him). ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I experienced a great deal of trauma due to this event and they way that my co-PI (my former dissertation advisor) handled the sexual assault of one of his female students. It has caused me to loss respect for my dissertation advisor and to alter my relationship with him. ”


1) young graduate student in early 20s; 2) mid-level graduate student in mid-20’s; 3) TT-Asst. Professor in late 30s – “I have heard so many stories, so will just report my own. I will only report three main ones. 1) In 2002 I was a brand new graduate student doing fieldwork in a remote location. I was warned in advance that the PI had a “reputation” so I was wary. After about a week we were all sitting around a campfire. I had avoided him, but he seemed to find me. He sat down and started talking. I admit to being abrupt with him, but didn’t want to be rude so started talking more. He seemed just conversational but then asked about my body, which took me off guard. He laughed and said he just wanted to know what sports I had done in high school to shape my body for life. After telling him I had been a cheerleader he would frequently come up to me after and during work and say, “You know, I had always wanted to date a cheerleader…”. It just just awkward, but these comments went on and on every day. No specific one seemed overtly disgusting, but I just wished it wasn’t happening. There was a lot of drinking and smoking pot and playing games and as the fieldwork progressed it started to feel “normal” somehow. It seemed like he really liked me. I started to feel flattered. One night he kissed me. I broke it off, and he started to feel my chest. I told him no, and he persisted a bit but ultimately backed away…but he barely spoke to me for the rest of the fieldwork (many weeks). He found someone else who would sleep with him, which was a very clear message that had been his only plan the entire time. I felt dirty and used, like it was my fault, that I had instigated or encouraged it, and that there was no way I could ever tell anyone because I would be the fool who didn’t see it coming. After all, hadn’t I been adequately warned? A year or so later I saw him at a conference. I tried to sit away from him at dinner after the talks. He got drunker and drunker, and would not leave me alone. There was dancing. He would dance over to me and comment on how I moved, persistently, trying to touch me. I would just laugh and move away, trying to make light of it. I walked back to my hotel in a group, and said goodbye to them all in the lobby. The next thing I knew, he was calling my room at 3am asking if I could come see him. I had many roommates, one of whom answered the phone. I told him no way, but I’m sure it damaged my reputation. I just never had the guts to try to explain it to anyone. Fortunately, he was a PI at another institution and I never had to deal with him after that. He was married and had two kids the whole time. 2) In 2004 I was a mid-level graduate student and I was doing fieldwork in a different place. There was a senior graduate student who was in a supervisory position (married, with two kids). Several of us took a night off on a weekend to go into a town, and stayed in a hostel. There was drinking. This man got very drunk and was all over me, whispering in my ear “I’m going to make you come over and over” and groping me. I told him no, no, no, so many times. I tried to squirm away. I didn’t want to make a fuss about it because I had to work with him, and everyone knew him as the “dirty old man” anyway so I figured they would just see it as me making a big deal out of nothing. I could not seem to get away from him without raising a fuss. We were in a shared room with several other people and I took the top bunk. He got up there with me, trying to touch me, and I just kept shoving him away with my feet. I really didn’t want to make the situation awkward for other people, or for myself when everyone woke up the next morning and had to go back to work together. I must have stayed like that for an hour or more, just shoving his hands back with my feet through my sleeping bag until eventually I guess he just passed out. The next morning he pretended like nothing had happened, and every once in a while I see him and he hugs too long, squeezes too tight…but he does that to all the women, so I feel like if I brought it up I would look conceited. There were rumors that all the men (PIs and male graduate students) would get together and rate the female graduate students and undergraduates on the fieldwork. I can’t know if any of that was actually true, but I would not be surprised. 3) In 2016 I was a TT Asst. Prof. I thought all of this was behind me. I am married with two children. I did not think I would be a target any longer, because I was now “old” and cynical. I was invited to attend a workshop. Afterwards, several of us colleagues went out…and out…and out. We just kept going from place to place, chatting, having a great time, generating ideas. We were in a group. It felt like my grad school years, but the good parts of them. I chatted for a while with someone who was probably about my age. We knew a lot of the same people, but had never met in person. I showed abundant pictures of my husband and family. He seemed to like seeing them. At the last place, the music was loud. I went to the bathroom and when I came back everyone was gone except for this guy. I asked where they went and he said they had all left. I thought that was weird, and since I had been following the group I didn’t really know where I was. I started trying to figure out how to get back to my lodging. A rad song from the 80s started playing and I said I liked it. This guy said I should dance to it then. So we danced, not touching, in a crowd. It was fun – I hadn’t done something like that in maybe 10 years. We kept dancing, and he kept getting closer. I kept trying to keep it light, keep my distance, but he kept getting closer and I could not find a way to move away without making it awkward, feeling like he was trying something that I was telling myself he couldn’t possibly be trying. After all, he’d seen my family photos and I was no longer a young, naive graduate student right? It just kept happening and I couldn’t find a way to stop the situation without bringing attention to it. I felt like that would be awkward, sort of like accusing him of something, which to me felt both conceited and like it could become an issue if we ever worked together in the future. Eventually he pulled me in all of a sudden and planted a huge kiss on my mouth. That was a pretty clear signal that it wasn’t all in my head, so I pushed him away and scolded him and reminded him I was happily married. He just smiled and acted like nothing had happened and tried again…and again…after a couple of minutes of trying to “be normal” I just gave up and said I needed to go. He walked with me, pretending like nothing had happened. I felt a terrible, awful guilt – just like back in grad school, like I must have been responsible for it simply because I hadn’t made a big protest about it at the start. He kept trying to take me on all these detours back to my lodging to “show me things around the city”. I eventually just got out my phone and found it myself, feeling stupid that I had let that happen on top of everything else. I still feel terrible, like I’ve done something wrong. I saw him later at a conference and pretended he didn’t exist; he did the same. It all felt so childish, stupid, and like being back in high school, which was very distracting when I was supposed to be at a professional conference. Those are just three incidents. They do not include all the many times I have to greet senior men and they hug too long, kiss on the cheek too long, and make comments about my appearance. One committee member told me at my dissertation defense (in front of the crowd) that I sure didn’t look like I’d just had a baby (my son was about a month old at the time). It’s just tiring. I was glad to get old enough and secure enough to be what I thought was beyond all of that…”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I never said anything to anyone except friends/significant others. In hindsight, I should have reported every one of those incidents, but I just felt so terribly guilty about all of them and I just wanted them to go away. I figured as long as they didn’t happen again, they were in the past. I took the blame for hanging out with people, for drinking with people, for just being present in a situation where there was potential for this to happen. I kept saying to myself, “it’s not like you were actually raped or anything”. Now I look at that and I think what a poor benchmark that is. But I don’t know if I would have the guts to report them now officially or not if I ever found myself in that same situation again. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I feel cynical, wary, and fed up. I don’t think it had any direct impacts on my career because I did not allow it to get me down to the point where I wanted to leave and ultimately I was never harassed by someone with direct control over my career. However, I have felt very embarrassed and as though when I attend conferences everyone thinks they “know” something about me. It’s just been a lot of extra mental and emotional work to have to deal with when I need to focus on other things. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Just emotionally draining – one more thing to deal with. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I did not want to go back to do fieldwork with the PI in situation 1). I may have missed out on an opportunity there, but I had other opportunities that led me in an equally rewarding direction. I was lucky to have a supportive (and harassment-free) primary supervisory team who would write me letters, recommend me for projects, etc., including a strong female model.”


A and B I was a graduate student. C and D I was an undergraduate (A and B Duke, C and D Stanford) – “A I was harassed by a professor while doing fieldwork, B I was harassed by a professor while visiting another field site, C I was harassed by a graduate student who was the head of my fieldwork team, D I was harassed by a graduate student who was the head of another fieldwork team”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “A, B, and D never reported. C they requested written documentation.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – None
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Never returned to the site while they were present. Lost research opportunities. Eventually, quitting academia altogether.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health –  “Distracted and depressed me for years”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Quit academia”
Other Comments – “In addition to the instances above: my postdoc advisor, graduate student advisor, and undergraduate mentor were all accused of misconduct and/or harassment before or during the time they were in power over me. While they did not harass me, this absolutely took a toll on me and had a substantial effect on my experience as a junior academic.”


Graduate student – “1. Accused of being a a whore by colleague, behind my back. Did not know until years later. Asked to file a report and was told not too. 2. Raped while conducting  fieldwork. I was told not to let it interfere with the research. Told not to write or speakabout it. Given no institutional support/advice. 3.advisor asked me to pose as his s girlfriend when we were traveling abroad. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None. Silencing.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I’ve wanted to give up.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Depression, anxiety, want out of this career I loved.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Considering a career change.”


Conferences

Graduate student, then professional working in private sector (A public university in Tennessee,  Full professor and my advisor at the University where I got my B.A. My research area was very small and specific, and he had high standing in that group of researchers.) – “Both instances occurred at a large regional conference for our field within the last five years. This professor had been my undergraduate advisor and mentor (and chair of my undergrad thesis). The first instance occurred during my first semester as a graduate student at a different university. Two female friends of mine (who were still students at the University where the professor taught) and I were hanging out with the professor and a few other (male) professors and former students of his from different institutions at the hotel bar. He was buying my friends and I drinks and had clearly had a few himself before we showed up. Pretty soon the other people we were with left for the night and it was just my two friends and I with the professor drinking and catching up. Pretty soon the conversation turned sexual, with the advances very pointedly directed at me. There was no touching (this time), but the comments were very sexual, and he even insinuated that I should go up to his room with him instead of with my two friends who I was rooming with. It was completely unexpected since this professor never made any remotely sexual passes at me while I was his student. None of us knew how to react except to laugh it off. The next day he approached me and apologized “if” he had been inappropriate the night before and blamed it on the alcohol. The last night of the conference we ended up outside the hotel smoking with a group of maybe 10-15 professors and grad students from various universities. He was very drunk again and came up to drunkenly apologize again, but insisted that he hold my hand while doing so. After this conference I began to doubt myself and question if the A’s I earned in his classes, the letters of recommendation he wrote, and the research opportunities I had with him were only given to me because he had sexual/romantic feelings for me and not because of my merit as a scholar. Two years later at the same conference I confronted him about the incident (I had seen him a few times since, but it had been kind of awkward and I tried to keep my distance). We had both been drinking, but him especially. He told me that he “loved me in many ways” but that he would never give me recommendations or opportunities I didn’t deserve based on my abilities. I believed him and I felt that we had reached some sort of resolution with the whole thing. Then, a bit later that night he went to two female friends I had been with during the first incident and propositioned them to come up to his room with him to keep him company. That sense of resolution immediately went out the window. After the conference he contacted me to apologize. I insisted that he also reach out to my two friends and apologize to them, which he did. I haven’t seen him much since, and I think things will always be a little awkward between us.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None- I never reported it to anyone. Even if I wanted to I don’t know who I would have reported it to since I was no longer a student at the University where he taught and the instances happened at conferences.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Nothing overt, but it has made me work harder to prove to myself that I really deserve every achievement and opportunity I have and that I didn’t just get here because a powerful old man thought I was attractive. I also don’t tell people about these incidents (only the people I was with and my husband know the specifics and who the perpetrator was) because I’m afraid they will think that I was favored and didn’t really earn my way.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “This has definitely amplified the feelings of imposter syndrome that, as a female in this field, I would probably have regardless. It’s also ruined what had been a great mentor/mentee relationship up until that point. I really looked up to this person and almost saw him as a father figure. Now I don’t know what to think about him. I still respect him as a scholar and I think he feels genuine guilt about his actions. But I also wonder if he has found new young and naive victims. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I left academia after finishing my M.A. and I now work as an archaeologist in the private sector. I’ve pretty much abandoned the research I did as a student and now focus more on public archaeology and another area of the sub discipline. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest reason is that I realized that as a woman working in that specific research area, I would always be a second-class citizen. It was a good old boys club and I lacked the main thing required for full membership. There were a couple of senior female scholars working in this research area, but they were often marginalized. The harassment I experienced convinced me that my fate would be no different, and that I would never truly be taken seriously because of my gender. ”


graduate student in 2nd or 3rd year (I don’t remember his institution but he was from a different institution than I. it happened at the American Anthropological Association conference) – “White guy at major conference in my field approached me saying he appreciated the comment I made at a session. He asked me for coffee to continue the conversation. After talking about our research, he asked me if I was multiracial because he thinks multiracial women are hot. He then proceeded to tell me about his exploits with African women in his fieldsite. I promptly ended the conversation and left. I was a graduate student at the time (2nd or 3rd year) and it was my first time attending this conference.”
Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “didn’t report”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “annoyed and disillusioned”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “more guarded about meeting new men at conferences, even when it seems professional”


PhD student – “Mine happened at an academic conference. I was a grad student hoping to network, I met a colleague of a friend, a recent graduate who had landed a tenure-track job. We chatted, he introduced me to people higher up in my field (funny enough, people I hadn’t approached before because I was warned they were sexual predators thus to be careful). All happening at the bar, where people mingle at conferences. I feel safe with this person as a buffer and I assume things won’t get weird since we both mentioned our significant others.Things did get weird. At the end of the evening when going to the elevators, after what I thought was a fun platonic evening of chatting with colleagues, he aggressively starts making out with me. I try to disengage but it will take me about 10-15 minutes for me to convince him to go to his room. I woke up confused and with bruises. When the next day I told him he had misunderstood my intent, he got angry and said “well it sounds like you’re saying I assaulted you, but you were drunk (I had drank moderately) and were flirting all night (I wasn’t).” I’m ashamed to say I believed him rather than face the fact my one successful networking achievement had actually assaulted me. The “flirting” continued periodically for a few years at various conferences, continuing to confuse me. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I never said anything, I even assumed I was to blame for years after”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None. He rose up. There are also rumors floating about him with undergrads now. He went from a teaching college to a R1 institution. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “He was a “cool kid,” you’re either in his circle or you’re not. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Huge. He made me believe that I had cheated willingly on my boyfriend. There has been a ton of guilt and shame dragged around.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Led to the breakup of a long-term relationship. ”
Other Comments – “Conferences were not an option of venue, but that’s a minefield. Also, fieldwork is one of the main places in my discipline where assault is possible. Archaeology is a group effort, and groups in remote places with hierarchies blurring while all sharing in the discomfort of the field is the perfect setting for sexual predators. I heard so many stories that happened there in my discipline. ”


Postdoc – “An older white male professor commented in detail about vividly remembering a sleeveless top I’d worn at a mid-summer conference many years prior, then ordered me to sit between him and another male professor at a post-conference dinner saying something along the lines needing a young female presence next to them.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I felt uncomfortable working on a project with his name attached to it and did not attend conferences or research meetings where I knew he would be present.”


Postgraduate candidate – “While at a conference dinner a senior and highly respected Professor put his hand up my dress and grabbed my crutch. I responded by calling him out and several people around the table (all male and all senior) berated me to ‘relax’ it was a compliment. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – None

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Deep insecurity and suspicion”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Anxiety and imposter syndrome”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “changed career/ discipline ”


PhD student- “There are many incidents that I could report in laboratory, remote fieldwork, and conference settings. One that sticks out was at a national conference when a peer and I were invited to a hotel party with several people I trusted. When I arrived, there were about 10 people in the hotel room, including four senior male researchers in my field. It seemed innocent enough at first, but after being offered a glass of whiskey, one of the senior males grabbed my foot and wouldn’t let go. Suddenly, another one of the males was having sex with a former graduate student in the middle of the room. We were all kind of shocked and everyone left the room, but the foot guy kept trying to kiss me on the elevator and another very married senior male wouldn’t stop touching my friend. My friend and I eventually escaped, but we were grossed out about these supposedly wonderful researchers. ”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Unsure”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I still feel guilty about this event because although small gatherings can be good for research and job discussions at conferences in my field, perhaps I should not have agreed to go with trusted colleagues to this party. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I am still in academia, but I find most men in my field gross because they can get away with disgusting behavior at conferences and in field settings. ”
Other Comments – ” To echo another comment already posted:  the field setting and conferences are common spaces of harassment. I have been harassed and bullied in field settings on four continents, forced to share a room with a much older colleague, asked when I would be having sex with certain people, ganged up on by male researchers about how old and barren I am, touched inappropriately, etc. etc. One thing that particularly concerns me about male researchers in my discipline is their role running field projects and overseeing female students in remote settings. ”


Graduate student – “I was physically groped at a conference by an older (well-known) male faculty member. ”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Everyone told me that ‘he’s just an old man, he does that all the time’ ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Question self worth”


MA student – “I’m not sure where to begin. First, a lab coordinator at my anthropology program (prominent forensic anthropology program) had vicious rumors circulated about her saying that she got the job by sleeping with professors during her Master’s degree. This was a tactic to discredit her. I had multiple professors (women) warn me about a prominent forensic anthropologist that was known for sleeping with students, harassment, and having a long term affair with a married former student. I had multiple traumatizing experiences at conferences where I was propositioned or had dirty jokes told about me, due to my appearance, including a very explicit come on by a friend of a colleague. Other colleagues either laughed it off or did not believe me (I don’t attend major conferences anymore). I’ve been told that my career in forensic anthropology was unlikely due to who I was (gender, appearance and LGBTQ+ status). I felt pushed out of opportunities by professors, and colleagues distanced themselves from me after speaking up about the comments and experiences I had. I’ve had untrue rumors circulated about me claiming that I slept with other male students, and that my partner was a student of mine (not true). I also commiserated with another PhD candidate about the situation at conferences, and he privately shared that he had experienced similar behavior by women professors. I have not been taken seriously during fieldwork, given access to data, or invited to certain events, despite an excellent record. A mentor of mine was harassed and bullied by other professors (as they were competing for tenure at the time), horrifying stuff to where they (including my advisor at the time) would even write up complaints about her leaving her office to use the restroom.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None, just verbal warnings to students, blame placed on students”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Significant, I left the subfield due to the pervasiveness of harassment”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Significant at the time”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I left the subfield. I am much happier now in a different area of anthropology, but it did limit my opportunities and delayed my career by years.”

What is Happening at UT Austin?

There are a lot of reports from the Classics at UT Austin. There are archaeologists working there but I can’t tell if there are involved so these stories might just be Classics. These are the stories from UT Austin – Classics and Anthropology.

PhD student – “When I expressed other feminist sentiments at a department social function, he asked, publicly and loudly at a bar and in front of fellow students,  if I had been raped and then said it was a fair question and he assumed I was since I was so sensitive about thees issues.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Not reported”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Some social repercussions in my cohort”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None immediately”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I’ve had to talk to my counselor about it a lot because it makes me feel like if I care about women’s studies, people will make assumptions that I’m just a crazy victim”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I don’t know if I can stay in this field if this keeps happening.”


Graduate Student; my friend was an undergrad, then grad (Peer graduate student, same class; but my friend was his student, and became a junior grad student) – “A friend would get drunk and send texts that I should go home with him, on a regular basis. I had slept with him once, and decided that I didn’t want to again, and told him to stop. He only stopped when I got a boyfriend. This harasser went on to groom one of his undergraduate students. She said that he inspired her to join the grad program and, when she did, at first he sent her explicit and flirtatious messages, then told her that he wasn’t interested in her.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I never reported what happened, and neither did the younger student.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Not a direct result, but my harasser took my first dissertation topic. Also, my friend had entered the department partly because of him, and she’s still here, not particularly happy with it.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I thought this harasser person was my closest friend for many years, but he was actually very controlling. Would speak to me intimately and spend a lot of time with me, then blow me off when his girlfriend was around. Also, would say upsetting things to me, and get angry if I repeated them; was constantly correcting me. My then-boyfriend noticed it and was very critical, but I just didn’t see the controlling behavior for what it was. As for my friend, she admits that she’s still a little in love with him, even though she knows he led her on.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I lost 6 months on the dissertation topic because of my harasser. My friend is stuck in the program, and will most likely have a job afterwards, but I’m not sure that this is what she wants to do.”


I was a doctoral student (Senior faculty member, Department of Classics, outside committee member) – “A senior member of the Classics Department at the University of Texas at Austin. I was a doctoral student and he invited me to his house under the guise that there would be several of us watching a Spurs basketball game. I was the only one. He tried to pin me to a wall and kiss me as I tried to leave. After that point, presumably because I rebuffed him, he treated me terribly. I have emails to prove it. Even as an outside committee member, he refused to accept my dissertation for more than two years. It was horrifically stressful and I had every reason to believe that he was bad-mouthing me everywhere (turning the fact that I could not get my dissertation done into the message about my lack of abilities…when he was the one refusing to read it). It is well-known that this professor is a sexual harasser. Her was formally accused more than once through the University and both of those women had their careers ruined. He remains and is still teaching today.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I did not formally report it because prior reports ended up hurting the accusers. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “It was horrifically stressful and I had every reason to believe that he was bad-mouthing me everywhere (turning the fact that I could not get my dissertation done into the message about my lack of abilities…when he was the one refusing to read it).”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Now, about six years after finally getting the dissertation through, I think I am finally ‘uncoiling.’ I really had to be so protective of myself and always felt like I was on the edge of losing everything. It changed who I was in profound ways.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I swore, after this experience, that I would not work in a department with a doctoral program. I think that advising students at that level can bring out the worst in people. I don’t want to work with people who act the way that I saw at Texas and I don’t want to be complicit in behavior that can hurt students.”


Graduate teaching assistant – “As a TA for a large intro course, I (female) was assaulted by a male student who was unsatisfied with his grade on an assignment. He attacked me in front of several other graduate students, called me a variety of names, and had to be pulled off of me by two bystanders. I reported this to the professor of the class (recipient of a MacArthur genius grant), and told him I thought the grade was more than fair. It was a solid D paper, but I’d given him a C. The professor read the paper and said even a D was generous. However, he then raised the student’s grade to a B, thereby rewarding him for attacking me. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None, although campus police investigated the incident. They told me, ‘He’s a veteran, so…'”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Did not accept any further TA program assistance, did not enter academia after completing my PhD”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Nothing too terrible, although it made me very angry, and I am still angry.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Decided the academy was full of violent male hypocrites who hate women and went somewhere else to work. Never looked back.”


Graduate Student/TA – “I was walking to the stadium when a group of undergraduate boys drove up next to me in a car and slowed down. Three leaned out and they shouted and whistled at me until I hid behind a bus. Then, they honked and drove off.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – None
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Very little”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Sense of extreme vulnerability every time I walk on campus.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None”

UK

While most of the reports are from the US or Canada there a few from the UK:

PhD student (UK university) – “On the morning of my viva voce, a colleague (who is also a close friend) suggested that I should flirt in order to pass.  He asked what I was wearing, and before I could stand up from behind my desk, he jokingly asked if I was wearing a power suit.  I said that I was more comfortable in a dress.  He replied that, in that case, I’d have to bat my eyelashes at my (male) examiners and speak in a diminutive, feminine voice–which he proceeded to demonstrate.  I quipped, ‘Is that how you passed your viva?’, and tried to brush it off.  However, it was an unpleasant way to start the day, and it left me wondering if everyone would be paying more attention to markers of my gender than to the academic merits of my research.”


ma student (University College London) – ” I was invited to the UK by a professor I met at a conference to undertake an MA at UCL. He is the world expert in the author I reaarch. When I arrived in London, in our very first meeting he pulled out champagne, sat very close to me and when we said goodbye he insisted on hugging me and putting his hand on my butt. This continues throughout the year every time we met for class on a weekly basis, he would ask that I stay behind to talk to me in front of the other students and then would touch me always on the ass again when saying goodbye. He asked me a few times to meet him after hours in the being on weekends which I said I was unable to do. This lasted about 1 full year, from the first to the last time he touched me. I had no idea what to do and so pretended it didn’t happen and eventually came up with a story that I was a very religious and gained about 20 pounds on purpose to make myself less attractive. This made him stop. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Never called him out”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “He dumped me as a supervisor eventually and made me an outcast to many of his colleagues. I have no solid proof he bad mouthed my work, but those closest to him no longer reply to emails or speak to me.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I hate men.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I don’t feel I can progress in my career in the UK at a normal pace, it gets harder every time I enter a new faculty. People assume my relationship with this professor went sour because I am not a good scholar.”


Lecturer on probation (Assistant Professor) – “I have had many incidents, most of which are leaving me out of email, excluding me from departmental projects, or sending emails around about me which are slanderous to the department/school/executive group (more on this one below). I have also been denied access to departmental funds to take students on excavations (2000-present). Though there is one incident that I always report. I was called an ‘hysterical feminist bitch’ by a male colleague in 2003. He took credit for the development of a new MA, for which we were both designing,  in front of a group of students. He said ‘my MA that I am so hard at work on’.  I said, that’s ‘we are doing it’. Just after the team taught class he screamed (I am not exaggerating) at me saying that I should never embarrass him in front of students. I responded that he should give credit to people for the work they are doing. His response was ‘it’s not important and you are behaving like an hysterical feminist bitch’. I turned my back on him, walked away, and I went to our university HR, but I was still on academic probation, and was told it’s his word against mine, and there will be trouble for me, not him.  Given my status as a young lecturer (Assistant Professor), I didn’t have any support. Fortunately this person is in a different department from mine and that was the last day I ever spoke to him or taught with him. He continues to damage women in the University. Moreover, the MA he was so diligently developing never came to fruition after I turned my back on him. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “It’s his word against yours. There was nothing anyone could do.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Continue to encourage his behaviour, as I know other women who continue to have problems.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “This one off event was an indication that women have no voice or protection at my university. This is further evinced by another colleague’s actions that have been continuous since he joined the university in 2007. This colleague has gotten away with sending slanderous emails about colleagues (various genders, no one is safe) that are unfounded to the entire department, school and to members of the University executive group. There are yearly, if not monthly, complaints made to HR about his behaviour, but it was only when men started complaining that action is beginning to be taken, though even this is slow. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “For the feminist bitch comment, it was a wake up call that there is no support, so I didn’t let that ‘get to me’, my objective is to tell everyone I meet about it to warn them about the person and the university. I have been a victim of the email harassment I described in the previous section three times. The first time it happened I couldn’t eat and lost ten pounds, I went to HR because I had proof in writing, but they did nothing. The second and third time, I didn’t let it get to me, but went to HR both times, they did nothing and told me I was overreacting. I was overreacting to someone stating in an email to the entire school that I had no skills to contribute to archaeological excavation and didn’t deserve departmental funds to take my students on excavations (I’ve had more digging experience then said person, who basically ruined his excavation just outside Rome and is banned from digging at that site, and have written books on the subject with reputable publishers: Cambridge, Brill). I have learnt to ignore these emails, but am perplexed why when he does this to men, they are not said to be overreacting.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I am trying to develop a career outside of academia. I love my research, I love my students, but I am sick and tired of the University’s spineless reaction to these people, who get promoted much quicker than those who actually contribute to the place! I am also very tired of this kind of behaviour. ”


student (University of Reading) – “Member of staff had a sexual relationship with a troubled undergraduate student (not me). She was very mentally unstable. This person had multiple sexual relationships with other undergraduates, but this relationship was the most troubling. He helped her through her degree program.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I was a student, but he never bothered me; None”

Being a Women/Having Family

PhD Student (Brown) – “Continually demeaned for being a woman; was told “We only give full funding for men for all their years of study — for women, we make them all pay the first year to prove they can cut it”; had all accomplishments unacknowledged or “disbelieved” (“but you don’t *really* know that language, right?” — even though I had studied it for years); Chair touched his ding dong in front of a beloved female faculty member–who then resigned; Chair tried to sabotage PhD dissertation even though prestigious Ivy League postdoc had already been granted (female dean had to step in and make it clear to him his behavior was not appropriate & took the reins thank God)”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Female dean blocked his attempts to sabotage my dissertation so I could graduate and start my prestigious postdoc ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I did not want to use any of the harassers for recommendation letters due to their disgusting and atrocious behavior & switched my field of research as a result (a shame, really)”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It made a time when I should have been celebrating a prestigious postdoc one of unnecessary stress since my jealous Chair tried to sabotage my dissertation passing — but thankfully was thwarted by the female dean who came to my rescue (and understood what he was trying to do)”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I switched fields of study to avoid having to interact with these sexist “giants” of their discipline”


first a brand new assistant professor, later a tenured associate prof. (Texas A&M) – “To me: when I was first hired under the caveat that the department had to hire a woman or they wouldn’t get the line, I was told after my hiring by one colleague (they were all male): “I didn’t vote for your to be hired.  I figured, if we had to have a woman, we might as well get the one with the big tits.”
To me: when I was a tenured professor talking to an older colleague, he made the casual comment that it was ridiculous for the Faculty Senate (on which we both served) to have to talk about family leave for childbirth, adoption, or even caring for older parents.  His argument: ‘Women shouldn’t even be faculty members.'”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None, I never said anything about either incident.”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “One of many factors contributing to my decision not to continue on in academia after a diagnosis of breast cancer in 1999.  Yep, I walked away from my tenured position.”


I was a tenured professor, victim and perp were grad students. (Texas A&M) – “Female grad student in the department was sexually harassed by a male graduate student who had violent anti-woman cartoons up on their shared office wall and once grabbed her by the neck and started choking her in the hallway late one night when no one else was around.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Department head really didn’t care, cited First Amendment for cartoons on wall, said the whole thing was a he said/she said situation.  I went to a meeting with the student and the perp and someone from the higher administration, but the perp brought his lawyer with him, and they kept insisting that since she didn’t tell him to stop choking her, it was consensual.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None, except to cement my disdain for my colleagues in the department.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I was afraid to go into the building at night or on the weekends.  I no longer allowed my young teenage daughter to accompany me into the office unless she stayed right by my side.  I felt terrible that I hadn’t been able to help the grad student more.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Yet another reason to walk away from Texas A&M.”


ABD (University of Michigan) – “He said he was sorry to hear I was engaged to be married, because he had thought I was serious about archaeology. He had two young children. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Not reported. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Aimed lower in general ; stopped relying on my natural mentors. But I did get a t-t job. ”


PhD student – “During graduate school, PhD advisor told me (upon learning I’d gotten married), that there would be “no babies on my watch.” Over next four years, I had to hear explicit conversations about who graduate students (male/female) should date and what sexual behavior was acceptable (hook-ups, ok; relationships, no-no). When I got pregnant, same advisor tried to push me from my degree program because I had demonstrated I did not have dedication to the field.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None, although department faculty were very aware of the behavior of the perpetrator and some engaged in creating the toxic environment.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I was almost pushed from a graduate program! I finished, got the degree, but was told advisor would never recommend me for an academic position (and he didn’t!).”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It was horrific – to be judged on my reproductive anatomy, and feel the behavior of graduate students was somehow under the control of our advisors was disgusting.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “It taught me that women were considered non-assets in academia. Our bodies were the property of our institution. I tried to talk to department chair about these and other issues, but was told that although they were very aware of his behavior, he was senior, and so they could do nothing. The chair’s only idea was for me to make a public complaint, although he stated that he knew it would probably have a consequence on my career. That seemed to be a price I’d have to pay for their negligence.”

More and More

Part of the way through this process of curating the responses I broke. I just couldn’t keep creating categories of sexual harassment and assault. So here is are the rest of the stories:

PhD student (Harvard) – “I was asked by a visiting scholar (we had previously met fortuitously while I was traveling for research) to meet at the Ivy League institution where he was lecturer. He promised to introduce me to leaders in my field and help me develop my research plan. He said I could stay in the same house as him- that he was renting a large bed and breakfast w many rooms. When I arrived in the city he picked me up and brought me to his one room bed and breakfast. He slept on the couch but still we were in the same room. He did not introduce me to any collegues. Took me to dinner, took me to the movies, held my hand when we met friends of his, and basically treated me like a date. When I inquired about meeting w collegues he simply said they were unavailable and was completely uninterested in my research project. ”

The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Discouraged to attempt further development in my field bc I assumed that it must have been my fault that he didn’t take me seriously.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Did not continue in academia. Finished PhD but felt that I would never be taken seriously if I couldn’t create a professional relationship. I now realize 10 years later that it was not my fault. ”


Graduate student (Northwestern University) – “I dated a fellow student briefly and then we broke up. I ran into him months later at the campus library. He said he’d been checking by my carrel to see if I was there. I hadn’t told anyone where my carrel was. We got on the elevator, and once inside he pinned me against the side and tried to forcibly kiss and grope me. I was choking him but couldn’t get him off me. He stopped when the doors opened and I was able to get away. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “The office for handling sexual assault complaints helped me document everything and walk through my options.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None. I didn’t report.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “It was difficult to finish my dissertation because I found the library triggering.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I feel uncomfortable with men on elevators or in other small, enclosed spaces.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None. The support I received at NU helped a lot. ”


Grad student – “I was stalked, police involved and my family. Went on for several years.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Uh…they felt bad for me. I repeatedly called the police. My brother moved over 1,000 miles to move in with me. University took no official action, didn’t ban him from the department but I heard they limited his access to the lab. I don’t believe he even needed access to the lab but that was the only action they took. ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Made me weary of being nice to people. Was afraid for a few years when he persisted even when I moved out of state. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Distressing. My mother died before I started grad school, my grandmother died a few months later and I was displaced by a hurricane in my first three month of grad school. Stalker was an unexpected stressor left over from my field school. Pretty amazing in retrospect that I made I through in two years, pretty motivated to get out of grad school, and wasn’t the only creep I came across during my time there. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I don’t doubt any word of harassment that I hear from other women. It was rampant, it is rampant. We love science, we love our field, and it’s an unbelievable reality and distraction of what we had to do to get through. ”
Other Comments – “As a supervisor now, I still feel like I lack the metal behind me when others come forward. Organizations have strongly worded statements, but honestly anthropology is collaborative across multiple institutions. When it happened to someone I supervised, I didn’t know what to do. I researched her options and she decided to not come forward. Archaeologists are often up late and drunk at conferences- creates a very ambiguous environment-. And as a former victim I’m sadly doing what was done for me- providing information and options, but very little action. ”


Professor (University of Maryland) – “Several undergraduate students (who were presumably male) made sexually charged comments regarding my body on their course evaluations. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Did not report or discuss with anyone”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “My experience in the classroom has overall been a very positive one but I remain hurt that some students were motivated to reduce me to an object.”


Graduate Teaching Assistant (University of Maryland College Park) – “The professor I was working with as  a TA for a summer class (Prof A) sent me to the home of another professor from a separate university (Prof B) ostensibly to pick up some research materials. Prof B answered his door wearing only a bathrobe and insisted on taking me to dinner. His home was miles away from any large town, in the woods, and I did not feel safe. I told him I’d just collect the research materials and leave, thanks. Prof B said he didn’t have them at home, they were in his office. I asked why he’d contacted Prof A to have me come and fetch them, and he said he’d tell me about it over dinner. He was very handsy with me as I tried to get away from him, and I became worried that if I just ran for my car, he might physically stop me. I agreed to accompany him to dinner (driving separately), and made my escape as soon as possible. When I told Prof A about it the next day, he said, “I suspected that he might not be all business.” Prof A is the highest-paid professor in his department, and Prof B later became a University Vice President. I decided not to go into academia. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – None
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Changed dissertation topic to get away from one Professor, decided not to stay in academia”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Nothing too serious, but it pissed me off”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Although Prof A threatened to destroy me when I took my dissertation topic elsewhere (his exact words: “If you do this, I will destroy you”), I have had a very satisfying and successful career outside the academy. I run a small, community non-profit in my field and also have a paying job I love. ”


Graduate Instructor for an Archaeology lab associated with an Introduction to Archaeology course. (University of Missouri) – “I was a graduate instructor for an archaeology class during my PhD program. A senior faculty member, who was rumored to have been inappropriate in his advances to students, approached multiple students of mine. He would approach young female undergrads and offer them research opportunities with him in Europe. Essentially, he was asking 19 year-old-girls if they wanted to go to Croatia with him, to be his research assistant. This happened multiple times, over multiple semesters. I asked my department chair for advice, because very excited students would rush in to talk to me about it, he told me to walk those girls into his office. While in there, with me present, he would tell the young ladies that professor in question was a sexual predator, that the University failed to do their due diligence and force him off campus. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “The department chair at the time warned students, publicly, but nothing was done in spite of numerous attempts by him to file formal complaints. Eventually, after apparently decades, the Harasser, tried to corner a student in the school library, at this point, since he was elderly, she was able to get away, and the harasser was banned from campus (of course at this point he was already emeritus).”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None that I could discern.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It pissed me off.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “It made me rethink, along with other factors, to leave the PhD program. I moved to secondary education and continue to advise students to speak out when confronted, or witness to, harassment.”


first-year graduate student (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) – “I was harassed during my first year of graduate school by another graduate student who wanted to date me. I wasn’t interested, but he persisted in pressuring me indirectly, by getting all of the other graduate students to try to help set us up. Since he had been at said school a year longer, and was the self-appointed social chair, he had much more sway socially than I did. So I stopped hanging out with the other graduate students, and endured instead a constant stream of teasing from him before and after seminars.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I didn’t report it. I regret it, particularly because this behavior became a pattern for this particular harasser.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I almost dropped out, and seriously considered transferring, but chose classes that my harasser was not taking and avoided him socially instead”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Immense. I was depressed, and felt completely alone, since I thought all the other graduate students were on my harasser’s side”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “This is really hard to quantify. I am glad, in the end, that I stuck with my degree, but I am not happy about the way I and other graduate students who knew what was happening handled this situation.”


graduate student (Penn), then post-doc (NYU) – “There is one man I know who has a terrible reputation for inappropriate behavior among almost all of the women who know him.  In my last two years of graduate school, I became a member of the same society of fellows that he belonged to.  This fellowship invites its graduated fellows back once a year, so I see him every year that I attend.  He is now a tenured professor at a respected university.

It is hard to explain how insidious this man’s actions are.  I first met him in my first year of graduate school, when he briefly dated a friend of mine.  He was extremely full of himself, and when I saw him now and then at school events, he was one of those awful men who made long-winded comments in the Q & A.  But I really only got to know him when I was inducted into the fellowship, and he targeted me.

Every year, he has this habit of identifying the newest, prettiest women, and he follows them around flirting/insulting them.  At the fellowship meeting that first year, as I asked this (married) professor for advice about the job market, he would sprinkle in little comments like “If only I had met you earlier…”  I was initially flattered, but over time I began to see that it was a ritual.  The last time I attended, he (and a few other senior male colleagues) latched onto a beautiful graduate student.  When he is in this predatory mode, he will come over and put an arm around your shoulders or a hand on your waist.  He will get in your personal space, and treat it like a game when you try to rebuff him.

I graduated, moved on to my postdoc, and one year into it, he became a visiting scholar at the same institution.  In fact, he was put at the next desk over.  He was always leaning around the partition to bother me, and there was always a sexual undertone.  This is where it gets harder to pin down though.  The only specific incident that I can remember is when we were talking to a couple of other people and I said something about a box, and he gave suggestive look a look and said “Your BOX?”  It was things like that.  Always bringing it back to sex, when we were in our WORKPLACE.  And then when it was about work, such as at my public lecture, he would tell people behind my back about how unoriginal my ideas were or how unconvincing my argument was.

I complained about him so much that after I left the postdoc, my boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to unfriend him on Facebook.  That was liberating, even though he made comments about it at the next annual meeting.

I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt this way (the mere mention of his name often elicits an eye roll), but I was surprised when a friend at another school brought him up this fall (pre-Harvey Weinstein).  She was a graduate student a few years before me, and she’d had the same experience.  We had been talking about inappropriateness from male colleagues in general, and she said something like, “Well, you-know-who is the worst.”  I suddenly though, Yeah, isn’t it a problem that all of these women have felt threatened by him?

I know you will hear much worse stories, but this type of sexual harassment is completely pervasive and undermines our careers.  It is men treating women as sexual objects rather than colleagues.  It doesn’t matter what you wear or how you act.  These men perpetuate an uncomfortable atmosphere for women, make us insecure about our self-image and our accomplishments, and have the power to pass on their opinions to others.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I never reported it because it didn’t seem “major enough.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “a LOT of anxiety and self-doubt”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Fortunately, I didn’t let his mind games get in the way of getting my tenure-track position at a “little ivy.””


graduate student – as was my friend (University of Southern California) – “2003-4 (or possibly the year earlier): professor sent creepy harassing emails to a friend in a class of his, along with telling her inappropriate stories about his personal life and divorce and such; I read the emails and they were to my eyes very inappropriate, but as he was a hotshot young guy on the way to big things, it was doubtful that that interpretation would be taken by the department, so he got away with it.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “It was pointless for her to report it – USC was terrible and he was a star in Humanities”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “He’s a big name and I see him everywhere. He likes to run down female scholars I know… it is less than charming. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None on mine beyond feeling queasy now – my friend changed her thesis to get away from taking any more classes with him”


Student (University of Toronto) – “A Chair at the university I attended and worked at sexually harassed me and three other student works at the library we all worked at. He would grab us, brush up against us and stare at us while we worked.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “He was banned from the library for 6 months, we were asked to meet with him face to face so he could address our accusations. HR handled the case appallingly, they insisted we not meet all together so as not to fed off one another hysteria, they even posed the idea that when we were being sexually harassed the professor had simply been “deep in academic thought”. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None, except my suspicion about HR opting not to hire me right after the complaint ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “As an individual with mental health issues to begin with I found the incident very disruptive to my mental well being. I have difficult trusting men, difficulty believing that anyone cares what happens to me, or women as a group.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I’m now a firm advocate for victims of sexual abuse and an ally for women, I feel like it’s made me very weary of men, and institutions of power that prompt and shield toxic masculine behaviors. ”


PhD student (Washington University in St. Louis) – “I was TA for an undergraduate who wrote a very sexually explicit poem directed at me, “a goddess in business attire,” and attached it to his paper “because he was a creative writing major and was so inspired by the visual analysis assignment.” The professor of the class dismissed it, saying “You remember what it was like when you were 19…”  HR couldn’t help me because “they’ve never had an undergraduate to graduate harassment situation before and weren’t sure if I was a student or an employee in this situation.””

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Department didn’t know what to do, Dean didn’t know what to do, HR didn’t know what to do, finally a woman in the University Judiciary committee was able to come up with a plan to handle it; I was not to grade the student’s paper or final exam, but he would remain in my section since there were only two sections left, and he was not to speak to me directly except for class participation.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – None
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I cannot trust superiors, both academic and administrative to stand up for me in harassment situations”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Nearly a month with hours of meetings with university personnel who did not know how to address the situation had a severe impact on my own work for months after.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I’m in an alt-ac position now and can avoid “ambiguous” situations with respect to teaching status and power dynamics.”


grad student – “Grad school; a star professor clearly and persistently hitting on/ flirting with another (female) classmate.  This caused a great deal of difficulty in the class, because the rest of us felt that she was getting special treatment because she was pretty.  We were inclined to blame her for being flirtatious.  At the same time she was very disturbed by it and made a point of not being alone with him.

This (married) prof had a reputation for hitting on female students but always “waited to be asked”; was rumoured to have had several affairs with students (his wife had been a former student, but also others, both before and after my time). This introduced sexual competition into an environment in which we should have been judged for intellectual activity only.

He also had a favourite undergraduate student, admittedly brilliant, who spent hours alone in his office with him and flaunted this to everyone else; again causing other students to feel as if we had to compete for his attention through sexual attractions rather than through intellectual prowess.  And this element of sexual competition introduced rivalry where it should not have been.  So, for example, I didn’t like either of these students simply because they got his (sexualized) attention.  This should not have been an issue.  They were not the problem.  He was the problem.

And here I want to mention an issue that I’m not sure if others have mentioned.  Partly because I knew he was “available”, I had a huge crush on him. I did nothing about it, and avoided him as much as I could because I was ashamed of how I felt.  It felt like my fault; that I was the one was sexualizing the environment by having a crush on him.  And I think that female students, in particular, tend to often have crushes on male profs; and it is the prof’s job – because he’s the one with the power – to downplay that, ignore it, and desexualize the environment as much as they can (which, obviously, he didn’t.)  But I felt as if I was to blame. And I was jealous as hell of the students he was paying that kind of attention to.  Was I not pretty enough? Was I not smart enough?  This complicated grad school. And I should say: this paragraph was hard to write.  I am still ashamed of myself and still blame myself. Perhaps rightly. I finished my degree 25 years ago. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “At one point (before my time – he was a serial offender) efforts had been made to discipline him, but nothing happened.  He never became chair, however.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Never became chair.   Acquired every other possible honour, however, and probably didn’t want to be chair.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None. He was a good advisor to me personally.  The grad student he was hitting on left the program and went elsewhere to finish, and cited his behaviour as  the primary reason. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Self-doubt.  Hard to say if I would have felt the same anyway. I mean, I had huge self-doubt problems in grad school. As does every female grad student I have ever met.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I didn’t finish the PhD until I left the city, and produced the whole thing while living elsewhere and sending it in, chapter by chapter, by email. However, got a job (this was back in the day when there still were jobs) and got on with my life. So, probably none. ”


graduate student – “After a campus event, we were all standing around and I was looked up and down and asked if I was “wearing a bra” (diffusing giggle) — it completely caught me off guard.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “not reported”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None, although I did fire back with “are YOU wearing a bra?” and “that’s pretty inappropriate, you know” (sarcastic giggle) to which he replied something like “ooooh, feminism” to which I replied something like “yeah, down with the patriarchy” — it was very meta.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None really, but I did consciously avoid him on campus at at subsequent events.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Feeling that a mentor relationship was not possible with this person, because he was toxic and clueless. I was wary of trusting other senior male faculty and being alone with them from then on.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None — fuck that guy. Now I know how to deal with this sort of stuff since it can be hard to understand what is happening in the moment. I take much less shit these days.”


I was a graduate student taking the professor’s course, I was not in his department. – “A classmate was invited to a “work” dinner by a Visiting Professor while we were taking his class. He propositioned her, telling her he was into her and that he and his wife had an open relationship. She refused and told me about it afterwards. My friend reported it to the department after I encouraged her to do so and they allowed her to finish the course as an independent study under the supervision of a different faculty. The professor was allowed to teach the rest of the semester and no announcement was made in class.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Student was allowed to finish course under a different faculty’s supervision. Other students were not informed of the incident.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – None
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I personally ended up getting an incomplete. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I was very angry about what had occurred and the lack of transparency for students taking the course. I had lost respect for the professor and really didn’t want to finish the course.”


grad student – “Before I arrived at graduate school, I was warned by my previous mentor to stay away from a particular tenured faculty member because he had a “track record”. I actively avoid this faculty member, but know multiple graduate students who have been verbally attacked and sexually harassed by him. He even talks explicitly about sex and grad students at conferences. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “The chair of our department and other faculty members have either ignored the situation or told people who have come forward to forget about their experiences.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I’ve cut myself off from university resources and networking opportunities because it would put me in the same place as this individual”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “His presence and his actions against my friends and colleagues makes me upset daily. I am always conflicted about whether or not to come forward. He hasn’t done anything to me personally, and my friends don’t want to come forward for fear of retaliation.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I’m completely disillusioned about academia, my previous career choice. I have 3.5 more years til I get my phd, but I am considering dropping out. If I stay, I will likely switch careers after getting my degree.”


Grad student – “A professor was overtly sexual with me (lots of innuendo). It culminated right before my defense when he made a clear pass at me (“you look great. Where are you going after this?”)”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Never reported”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Unsure. I laughed it off and have not had much direct contact with his field since graduating.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I have been anxious when attending conferences/events in this field, as I am nervous I could end up a room alone with this person.”


graduate student – “A mentor repeatedly tried to convince me to enter his hotel room and lay in his bed”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “did not report”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “It made me question my worth as a scholar and why senior men wanted to work with me (or not)”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Felt objectified, sexualized. Worsened my imposter syndrome and undermined my sense of belonging.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “avoiding this person’s institution professionally and avoiding contacting them though my research is relevant to their work”


Assistant Professor – “1981 I was aggressively groped by the Dean of the School, and I objected to his behavior. I was subsequently subjected to disparaging remarks over several years, as well as to lower raises and other compensation that he had final say over.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Some faculty supported the formal University inquiry, and eventual court case against the University, and others were extremely critical and supported the harasser.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “The Harasser had a long-term reputation for this behavior with women graduate students and assistant professors. The University was displeased, but took no direct action at the time. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “In 1985 I was brought up early for tenure, denied tenure, sued the university, and won. I was offered and accepted an excellent position at another R1 university, where I was granted tenure. While this event happened decades ago, when I think about it, it still infuriates me. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It was a grueling and humiliating experience during the last year that I was teaching at that institution, but I knew I was right. Having the support of several senior colleagues, and an excellent lawyer who specialized in labor law, made the difference in my ability to stay focused on my work while I sued the University.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “There were senior male scholars who thought I should have kept quiet. In situations where they could have evaluated my work, I tried to have their names excluded from review processes. The experience convinced me of the importance of speaking out, and I have been active in advocating for others at my University.”


2nd year phd student – “At a professor’s retirement party, he greeted me (and another female grad student) stating “if you had dressed like this in class, maybe I would have paid attention to you more.” (we were dressed formally- in dresses and makeup, etc, because it was a formal occasion!)”


MA/PhD student – “Professor carrying on sexual relationship with PhD advisee who was in and out of inpatient mental health care”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “No public acknowledgement, other professors recently have confided they were aware of it but didn’t do anything ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Continued mental health struggles, dropped out”


MA student – “I was kissed at a bar by a senior visiting professor. The kiss was witnessed by other grad students who taunted me behind my back afterwards. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I didn’t file a complaint”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It has always made me feel uncomfortable that he might somehow disclose this, or that the grad students who witnessed the sexual advance would spread a false story that it was consensual. ”


doctoral student in combined MA/PhD program – “I was sexually assaulted multiple times.”

Other Comments – “I am fearful this person will destroy me, my family and my career if I identify him or the school, because of the stakes he has in maintaining his reputation as a family man and researcher. ”


graduate student/TA (visiting assistant professor/the person whom I TA’ed for)- “Myself, and a number of women in my graduate program, were subject to sexually explicit jokes and commentary from a male faculty member. I was shown graphic sexual imagery. I was called sexist and derogatory terms, e.g. “bitch.” I received unwanted touching of a non-sexual nature, but that was definitely unwelcome in the context of this person’s sexualized everyday discourse.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “I reported to the dept Chair (a woman), and the Title IX office. As far as I know, they took no action. ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None. He went on to secure a tenure-track job at another institution.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Lost research time while dealing with the reporting process. Lost energy spent avoiding the harasser around the dept and now at conferences. Distraction from my work while in grad school. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “At this point, a decade of guilt, doubt, discomfort, and embarrassment, instilled by the harasser but even more so by the institutional response.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “It strengthened my desire to reach a place of power in the academy, where I can protect others from these situations.”


recent PhD – “During an on-campus interview for a tenure-track position, the department chair suggested we take a walk rather than meet in his office. As we walked, he put his arm around me and told me that he was sure I was wondering about the dating prospects in the small town in which the college was located. He went on to say that he had met both of his wives in the town. He left me with the clear impression that he considered me a possible choice for wife #3.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any)  – “I didn’t report it. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career  – “I didn’t get the job, but I had decided to refuse it if I received an offer (partly because of the incident but there were other factors, too). ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I still remember the situation clearly even though it happened 17 years ago. Reading all of the entries in this spreadsheet reminded me how very uncomfortable it made me feel. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None–I left academia years ago to pursue an alternate career path, but only after I realized that I really didn’t want to be a professor.”


ABD PhD student – “I was applying to a tenure line job at a Canadian University. The Chair of the search committee responded to my application with a note acknowledging that my application was received and (with a slight reprimand?) that the recommendation letters I had sent were not needed at that time. And then there was an attachment. The attachment was not mentioned in the note. The name of the attachment: rear pussy. And yep, that’s just what the attachment was – an incredibly lewd, perhaps underage, clear view r.p. jpeg.   ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None. I told a few mentors, including committee members. My chair laughed it off as one of those things, who knows what’s on your computer, you make an error, etc… I definitely told my peers, but we all didn’t have a sense of what to do other than make jokes in disbelief.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “A bit wiser for the wear”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Unsettling”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I have become much more outspoken. If this were to happen today, I would definitely not remain silent (institutionally or interpersonally).”


Ph.D candidate – “This happened when I was still a graduate student. I was asked by my advisor to help host a visiting scholar from a university outside the U.S. After some conversation, that visiting scholar mentioned that there was a postdoc available at his university. I was still in the my second year of graduate school, but I asked about the postdoc, such as what is its title and how would I apply? That person verbatim told me, “you get to know me”. I did not say anything. Afterwards, he kept leaving me notes on my apartment door and asking me to hang out with him. I declined and avoided answering the door. Years later, I saw him again at a small conference. I had just made it public that I was engaged. That scholar’s vibe became weird (because I was engaged?) and he left the conference early but right before leaving, he grabbed and kissed me. (I never did apply for that postdoc).”

Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – Nothing directly happened to this person related to his words and actions towards me, but later I learned he either lost or left his position related to other reports of sexual misconduct.
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I lost a lot of confidence in myself at first. For years, I felt an imposter syndrome that has been difficult to shake. I also felt that I could not trust people to talk about it, and wondered if people would think I was making a big deal out nothing or that I had courted such advances since I agreed to hang out with this person socially.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I did not even think of applying for the postdoc that person suggested, and would have thought twice about applying to anything in that person’s institution or even city.”


Doctoral student (writing dissertation) – “Was propositioned for sex in November 2016” (Chair of dissertation committee)

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Title IX office found him guilty of violating policy against sexual harassment and was imposed a fine and cut in salary as a sanction (by another office)”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Resigned”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Switched advisers late in my dissertation, but managed to keep everything on a need-to-know basis to minimize harm from gossip”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Still need to find therapist to deal with what became a “trust issue.””
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Do not think I could trust men that proclaim themselves to be “feminists” ever again.”


Master’s student – “A grad student (from another institution) that I was collaborating with denied me access to a database (a shared work product) because I wouldn’t date him. I was in a long term relationship at the time. He demanded to be an advisor on my Master’s thesis. Faculty from both institutions got involved. I was given a new, different dataset to work with and ended up delaying graduation for about 18 months as I reworked my thesis topic and did the analyses with the new dataset.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “My advisor hooked me up with another collaborator with a similar dataset. My harasser still works in the field. Many of my friends don’t know all the details of what happened.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None? He still works in the field and is well known/liked by many of my friends.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “My delayed graduation caused my doctoral advisor to consider me a “risk”. She said she almost didn’t admit me as an advise. She did, though, and I had a very successful early career. The biggest impact has to do with my participation in regional scholarship. I no longer go to my regional meetings (state level) because my harasser is very active there and still had many friend’s. To be a regionalist who doesn’t participate in one’s main regional society has made things difficult and if I were in a TT position, I’d be very worried. I’m in a great NTT position and have been able to successfully change gears. I shouldn’t have had to though.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Because my harasser still has many friends in common with me, I do see him on social media. It is unpleasant, but not much beyond that ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I mentioned above. I study California prehistory and haven’t been active in the main regional society for many years because of him. I see re-entry into that job market as more difficult now, but I’m mostly happy where I am. I am most saddened by those friends who did know all or part of the story who maintained friendships with him. ”


Graduate student – “As a first-year grad student, I and another female cohort member were attending a sponsored party at the field’s annual meeting. One of our professors introduced us to his PhD advisor, a preeminent scholar from another institution. The advisor immediately congratulated our professor for having arrived at the party with two gorgeous women, and insinuated that our professor should consider “sharing” us with him. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Our professor was appalled and immediately apologized for his advisor’s comment and behavior. We did not report the event.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I had been considering working in the harasser’s geographical area (the American Southwest). His comment was a contributing factor to my decision to conduct research in a different part of the world.”


Just completed honours student- “When I decided to leave the university where I had undertaken my graduate degree to pursue a PhD at another university, the Head of School (Archaeology) said to be he would ‘miss my tits’, I was so shocked I said nothing. I told male colleagues and peers of this man later and no one ever confronted him. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Constant concern that I was evaluated on my looks not my achievements ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Significant”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I left archaeology and did my PhD in history”


Undergraduate, Junior – “The director of an organization provided the data I needed for my senior thesis would only meet with me after everyone in his building had left for the day and would insist on hugging me – I’m not huge on being touched anyhow, but the way that he did it was especially inappropriate, especially considering the power imbalance. At the time I was confused by what was happening and, after three encounters I stopped being available to meet and, essentially, ghosted the individual.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “not reported”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I was able to work with the data but it made me wary about working in the city ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I felt guilty for years about the way I had handled things and it wasn’t until recently that I realized how inappropriate /his/ behavior had been at the time”


PhD candidate – “I was sexually assaulted by a colleague during a celebration”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “not reported”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any)
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “None yet”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “I suffered from intense depression and anxiety following the incident and now seek therapy”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I couldn’t work for a few months and find myself avoiding social (and professional) situations where I might run into the person ”


pre-ABD graduate student – “During the visit of the prospective graduate students, one of male prospectives, who was not a native English speaker, made lewd comments over drinks in his language about one of our current female graduate students to one of our current male graduate students. However, the current male student reported it to the faculty, and the faculty acted appropriately.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “The harasser had initially been at the top of the list of students to admit to the department. Upon hearing from the current male student that prospective’s remarks about the current female student, however, the department determined not to admit him.”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “No idea, but he is not a student in our department. He sent an angry email to both the male student who reported him and to another friend of mine, a junior professor from the same country; both emails were forwarded to a senior male faculty member who rebuffed him and told him that his application would be unwelcome in the future.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “My friend is fine because her safety was respected.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “So far that I know, fine, at least with regard to this incident, because the department chose to respect her safety.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None from this, because her safety was respected.”
Other Comments – “For once, this is a happy story. I’m not supposed to know it, but I am very proud of my department for putting the safety of a student first, once it was clear that this prospective student was a threat.”


High school student – “I’m including this here because my harasser, although this occurred when I was in high school (around age 16), is (or was? not sure if he is still employed) a professor; this happened after a summer program in which he was my teacher. I enjoyed his teaching, he said he was impressed by my intellect, and we kept in touch via online chat after the program ended. He also offered to write me a letter of recommendation. Over time, our conversations became less platonic on his instigation, and he moved from complimenting my smarts to complimenting my looks; I was initially flattered by what I naively thought of as romantic interest, then increasingly creeped out as he became more explicitly sexual. At one point he asked to call me on the phone, then during the call described the size of his penis and talked about it growing erect, asked me if the description made me aroused, and asked me to talk dirty to him. He also asked whether he could visit me after I went to college; I politely deflected that.
We stopped talking a little while after that, which was a huge relief for me. I didn’t hear from him again until I was a grad student, out of the blue: the institution I attended for my Ph.D. was the same one he’d gone to for undergrad, and I suppose he must have visited for an alumni reunion. I didn’t see him, but he somehow located my departmental mailbox and left a note asking how I was and whether I’d like to get back in touch. I did not oblige him.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None. I’m ashamed to admit I did not report this—I felt complicit and guilty about it, since I’d initially had a crush on him. I did mention it to my parents, who concluded that I’d encouraged him and just told me to stop talking to him. There was also no untoward physical contact or face-to-face interaction; it was all online or over the phone.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “I still ended up pursuing my interest in the field; the sad thing is that he was genuinely a good teacher and helped to encourage that interest in the first place. In the end, I felt I was able to separate what happened from my intellectual interests; I have been lucky in that respect. If anything, it made me more determined to excel in the field. But I still feel guilty for not reporting him.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It’s hard to say. I was a very insecure teenager, and in an odd, terrible way the whole thing was reassuring in its initial stages: it helped me believe that someone (whose intellect and judgment I respected) could find me attractive at a time when I felt I was hideous. I think my feeling of complicity in what happened was the most damaging aspect of the whole occurrence. I do have difficulty saying “no” to people, and I don’t think this helped.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Again, hard to say. I did end up going into my chosen field, and hope to succeed in it; if it’s had any impact, it’s that I’ve been extra-nervous at big conferences, wondering if he’ll unexpectedly turn up. I haven’t run into him yet, thank God. I’m honestly not sure if he’s still in the academy, as I’ve tried to avoid news of him, but I know that as of a few years ago he’d been (visiting) faculty at a couple of institutions.”


PhD student – “After I started my PhD studies, my undergraduate advisor and the Chair of the department began sending me emails about working together on a research project. The emails and our meetings gradually started feeling icky, with him for example bringing wine to a meeting we’d scheduled for 2pm and him insisting on sitting next to me rather than across the table. I thought I was being sensitive and instead kept turning the conversation back to business, hoping it would help. Finally, he sent me an email telling me he’d had dreams about me and would like to share them with him, using my recent break-up as an additional excuse to offer to “comfort” me. I told him his comments seemed inappropriate. He backed off and later apologized. We remain in professional contact, although infrequently.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “none, because I did not report it”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Who knows? I have collaborated with my harasser, so I guess good things came out of it; on the other hand, as I’m perceived of as “his favorite”, I’ve been ostracized by some others (who do not know about the harassment).”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “It caused me a lot of stress, but mostly briefly. Since then, I have always felt the need to be careful around male professors and worry about their motivations to support me.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “Not drastic. I have decided to leave academia, but not because of harassment. I guess my harassment seems like one more symptom of a field largely run by favoritism and personal connections, which is one of my least favorite things about academia.”


She was a senior undergraduate – “This is the story of a friend who never entered the field, but was likely the most brilliant undergraduate I have seen. She caught the eye of a very senior full professor in the department where I was a PhD student. He started inviting her to one-on-one tutorials and reading groups. And then one day he forced a kiss on her while groping her. She was devastated and barely graduated, and gave up her plans to go to graduate school.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Never reported, but the faculty knew about it”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “None. He has since retired.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “The student in question left the field.”


Graduate Student – “I experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting for 3 years by a professor/predator in my department. (There were at least 6 other students who experienced something similar with the same perpetrator to varying degrees). He used foreign countries and study abroad programs in order to gain the trust of his students and build “relationships” with them, once he had their trust and goodwill, he pounced and then used them/us as suited his needs. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Original provost response: Sanctions/probation 5 years
Chancellor response upon receiving appeal that included medical documentation: Termination”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Termination and no letters of rec – career over (as far as I am aware)”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Currently, none — unless you count my new fear of male professors, no trust in academia, fear of continuing in the field, and fear of going near my University. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Complex PTSD which is now treated with daily drugs (this keeps the nightmares and flashbacks at bay). Therapy for over a year to deal with the after effects of sexual and emotional abuse. Continued inability to put my personality back together and or my self-confidence and self-respect. Continued shaming by friends and academics. ”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “At present, I left the University to pursue research abroad because staying in the same town as my abuser was too painful. I fear the majority of my department. And most of campus has become a trigger for flashbacks. ”
Other Comments – “I will add that while none of the faculty was aware of exactly what he was doing, there were many rumors about his “relationships with undergrads.”  Most of them wrote those off because he was “open about his friendships” with his undergrads and ex-students. Several of them looked the other way when he invited only female undergrads/grads to his apartment for movie/game/wine nights. When I confronted him about these things he informed me that, “I wasn’t being fair. That he was simply trying to fulfill his duty to be a good representative for the department and really there was nothing wrong with it.”  He would also take them on trips alone and had multiple students sleep in his bed at one time. The abuse was evident on multiple victims, all of whom (including myself) exhibited traits of “trauma bonding.” ”


PhD student, Teaching Assistant – “I was asked out on a date by a student. ”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “Never Reported”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Nothing severe but the experience made me question my authority in the classroom and rethink how I self-present and engage with students as a woman in her mid-twenties.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “None as of yet”


Assistant Professor – “A famous academic was offering an invite-only seminar. I arrived when the room was almost full and found a seat around the table. The famous academic (male) pulled a chair next to me, rubbing his leg against mine. I tried adjusting my chair to avoid contact, but he only spread his legs wider as he spoke to re-establish contact. All the seats were filled, and the chairs were clearly arranged around the table. I would have had to get up and leave the seminar to halt the contact. There were senior people in the room who would have questioned me for snubbing him, so I stayed, angry the whole time that I felt trapped.”

Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – None
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Shattered confidence. Disgust for frequently cited scholar that I couldn’t publicly state.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Distress”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “None”


Graduate student – “On of my good school professors always commented on my appearance if I dressed up. He regularly hit on female students and made them feel uncomfortable. He clearly favored students he considered more attractive allowing them more opportunities to advance their scholarship.   The worst part wa s how he treated my best friend. He could often ask her to do his work for him given that he was her advisor and had a lot of power over her career and research trajectory. He/would her into his office in private and use that as an  opportunity to ask her to be physically intimate with him or touch her or invade her personal space inappropriately. Of all the female grad students, he only took it that far with her and while at this point it is pure speculation on my part, it seemed he was taking advantage of the fact that she was quiet and reserved and infrequently socialized with others in her cohort. The worst part about this is that others, who in similar situations would speak us agains such transgressions dismissed his behavior as simply a product of his upbringing in a different country combined with a bit of senility as he was close to retiring. These same students who turned a blind eye to this situation are now “advocates” for calling out sexual harrassers in academia and successful in their careers while the victim chose to leave and start all over again in a very different career path.”

Institutional Responses to the Harassment (If Any) – “None, but then no one would risk making formal charges ”
Institutional/Career Consequences for the Harasser (If Any) – “Retirement and a life time achievement award”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Career – “Recognizing that I cannot trust anyone to support me if I ever needed to report a harasser in academia.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Mental Health – “Mostly I’m frustrated that this man is venerated and his victims’ experiences and feelings are further invalidated.”
The Impact of the Harassment on Your Life Choices/Trajectory – “I veered away from the specific area of focus so as not to interact with that professor or those who continued to support him.”


 


 

 

 

*To get the stories reviewed here I pulled all archaeology and related subjects. I then when through them to see if I could remove those non-archaeology related ones i.e. cultural anthropology from anthropology. Out of roughly 130 entries I managed to reduce it to 91. Some of these are clearly archaeologists but for some it is less clear. For example, the department of Classics at UT Austin has archaeologists in the department but it is not clear if they victims or perpetrators considered themselves archaeologist.

The survey came with this warning-

“PLEASE BE AWARE: Your answers will automatically be entered (totally anonymously, with no way to track your identity) into a PUBLIC SPREADSHEET, VISIBLE TO ALL, which you may view by clicking through to it. Please do not share any information you don’t wish to be immediately visible to the public.”

Thus, why I am sharing these stories as they are already published publicly with the respondents knowledge.

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Posted in: Wildcard