#MeToo and Many Other Tales
With stories of sexual harassment and abuse circulating the internet, I thought I would include mine as well. You are probably asking yourself, “But Michele you wrote a whole poem about not being sexual abused.” Yes, I did and thank you for reading it (if you have not read it yet, click here), but I have been sexually harassed, both by men I knew and strangers. I usually just brush it off, because I don’t want it to set the mood for my day. Or I would laugh because I know that they are jokes and I can take a joke. But I have been honked at, whistled towards, and pulled away from my friends by strangers all because I smiled toward them. The last instance happened when I was in a German bar. I smiled at this guy who was probably my age (at the time) because he was staring at me; it is what I do when I don’t want to be stared at. He came up to me and started talking to me in German and I said I didn’t speak German, because at the time I didn’t. He then grabbed my arm and started pulling me to another room where the dance floor was. In a flash of insane clarity, I sobered up and grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her with me. I knew that numbers were better if in a situation and plus I could just dance with her and ignore him and stop something from happening. That move actually worked and I am thankful for my friend for knowing what to do and helping me out. I could have been a victim of something very bad if things didn’t work out the way they did.
Most recently I have had one professor, who has tenure, who likes to push the limit at what he can and cannot say in class. Though they are not directed toward me or anyone in particular in the class, it has set the mood for the class. We don’t know what he is going to say and how many times he is going to say it. Maybe he doesn’t know boundaries or has some sort of problem with knowing what is right and wrong, but bringing something up several times during the length of the sessions and almost every session after that is 1) annoying, 2) disrespectful to the individuals who paid for this class and 3) is a form of sexual harassment and bullying. He knows that most students won't speak up, because a) they think it will affect their grade to speak up against someone with tenure and b) the asshole has tenure and doesn't care what he says.
You’re probably wondering why tenure was brought up. Well sometimes in instances of complaints or allegations directed toward tenured professors, they are either squashed and the individual who has complained is pushed along. Or the professor is “reprimanded” with just a slight slap on the wrist. Now am I saying my university would do this? No. I would never assume what happens at administrative level, but if it is any indication as to what they might do: there is a certain student organization that has been accused of date raping co-eds at their party and they let them keep on trucking. There might have been a probationary period, where they can still function as an organization, but are under the watchful eye of the administration. Does this sound familiar? Of course it does, it happens at almost every campus in the United States.
What my professor keeps bringing up is a site called Doxy Spotting, I will not link it because I don’t want traffic sourcing from here. Doxy is a British slang term for prostitute or hooker. He brought it up once as an example for crowd-source mapping (this is a geography class), but has since then been able to lace into almost every lecture we have had. And as an added bonus our mid-term exam’s bonus question will have to do with this site. He wants us to “analyze” the site for interesting facts about the map and its contents. Um…I am sorry. What?! No! I am not analyzing some prostitute spotting site for extra credit for my exam and no one in the class should. He has also mentioned that he has used it in his other classes as examples and projects.
Today I had enough. When he brought up the site in class and then brought up the site on screen, I said “Could you not…” To signify that I was not pleased with what was going on and several other people were not as well. He then goes on to explain we will have a mid-term and that he will include this site as extra credit, but it is not meant to be "titillating, but informative." I get that it might have been a joke the first or second time it is mentioned, but read a room before dropping a joke. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! I want to pull him aside and talk to him about this and I probably will tomorrow, but if it is brought up again in class I don’t know what I will do. I will probably leave.
So, does anyone have any advice for me on how to remedy this situation?