Long time readers of my old blog may remember that earlier in my career at my institution, I was the recipient of a number of harassing phone calls. And that the resolution of these calls was largely unsatisfying. But it’s been three years since the last one, and so I thought that maybe that was it, that I could start to relax.
I got yet another one this weekend. Same modus operandi as usual. This one, at least, didn’t mention me by name, but it definitely sounds as if it was targeted at me.
There is one key difference this time: I have the support of my colleagues. My chair sprang into action the minute I told him what happened. Senior colleagues stopped by all day to see how I was doing, offer suggestions, and ask if there was anything they could do to help. (I should have said, “Not now, but can I call in a favor later when I have to face the deans and explain to them why they shouldn’t just sweep this under the rug, again?”) Colleagues from other departments have been checking in on me as well. Those of you who have followed this saga from the beginning know that this is a HUGE improvement over the past incidents. So if there’s anything positive that’s come out of this, this is it.
Of course, who knows how the administration will act, since in the past they have really disappointed me by their inaction.
But no matter what support I’m getting, the fact is that this incident makes me feel unwelcome, creeped out, afraid for my safety, anxious, and frustrated. I have a super-busy week, and I really needed to get a bunch of things done today….but in between dealing with the situation and feeling very, very distracted, not much got done. Certainly not the things that really needed to get done.
I keep coming back to wondering why someone, or a bunch of someones, want me to feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. I mean, isn’t the daily subtle sexist stuff enough? Why the need to “put me in my place”? Why the need to intimidate? What kind of f’ed up person does stuff like this? What kind of f’ed up culture indicates that it’s ok to do this to a woman professor?
But most importantly, why does this keep happening to me, and how can I get it to stop??