In Which I Attempt to Extinguish the Stupid-Fire, Because It Burns

Oh, the stupid I’ve gotten in my comments the last few days. I’ve deleted them all, because this is my house, and you don’t come to my house saying stupid shit and expect it to get a fair hearing. But in case any more of you CU-Boulder apologists, or sexual harassment skeptics, or Men’s Rights Activists, want to come around here and think you can fuck with my game, here’s a quick takedown. I’ve not got much time, so, no clever preamble:

1. The CU-Boulder APA report did not contain details of actual individuals or victims because that would have been illegal, you fucking morons. Anyone who is currently being accused of a crime (or the violation of a university bylaw) has the right to due process; anyone who is the alleged victim of an infraction has the right to anonymity.

2. The APA Committee on the Status of Women site visitors were heroes, not “lazy.” They knew 100% who the perpetrators were (and often the victims), but had no choice but to keep these identities and any identifying details secret. That was a chief parameter of the visit’s report in the first place.

3. Everyone at CU knows exactly who they are talking about, and that is what matters. When I ran afoul of management at my last pre-academia job (because, actually, I was sexually harassed by my superior and he was reprimanded but not fired, so I was retaliated against for the next two years), there were a flurry of emails sent out to all employees about “new rules.” No flyers for off-site parties on the bulletin board (that had been standard practice every time there was a birthday/departure, until mine). No fraternizing between the day and night staff (100% made up to stop me from talking to my friend Frank). Everybody knew that it was because my boss had it out for me–nobody needed to see the word “Schuman” on those emails to know. (Don’t cry for me–“someone” sabotaged the back-sides of about 100 of said boss’s business cards and then shuffled them back up in the box before “someone” left for good. Also, that company got bought out and fired everyone).

4. The innocent victims at Boulder are not being “ruined” because of an “unfair” witch-hunt (SEXIST!), they are being saved from a cannibal-rat-infested Titanic full of abusers. Grad students can and should transfer out (it is not hard to transfer between PhD programs of the same caliber; CU Boulder is about 24th, so they should have no problem joining another middle-tier program). Or, grad students should take this as an opportunity to mercy-kill their academic “careers” and thank the scandal for saving them from a lifetime of adjuncting, since most of them will not receive tenure-track jobs anyway. There are no junior female faculty left at CU-Boulder. Senior female faculty can hold out for a scant few years and then take their pensions, or keep looking for other jobs (as most of them are). Male victims of bullying have similar options. Those who “wanted” to help but just “couldn’t”? Well, they’re getting the Chickenshit Prize now. Yes, it’s not the greatest that a few dozen people who didn’t do anything wrong (but did, often, stand by while wrong was done) will likely have their reputations stained for awhile. But think of it like this: when CPS yanks a kid out of an unfit home, that’s an awfully traumatic moment for the kid. But it’s in the kid’s best interest (usually; we’re thinking of a non-corrupt CPS department here). That’s what the current Double Secret Probation is to this department. Yes, maybe it’s “not fair” (except it is), but it’s in the best interest of a department that quite obviously cannot run itself.

I’ve got to get to work, so that’s all the stupid-fire-extinguishing I can do for now. Please feel free to comment on this if you can find it in your heart to be sympathetic to the victims of harassment. If you can’t, please kindly continue to fuck off.

5 thoughts on “In Which I Attempt to Extinguish the Stupid-Fire, Because It Burns

  1. In an early job in a previous career, my very powerful boss helped create a hostile work environment. I stood up to her. It cost me. Not my job, but basically any meaningful future in that job. In fact, before long, every day was kind of a living hell.

    I say this not to mansplain that “Women can be jerks, too, ya know,” but because I learned two important lessons: 1) I had to insist to myself that the fucked up environment did not mean I was fucked up; and 2) it was much more important to do something than to hold onto that particular job. Or any job.

    The price you pay for the ass-hattery of so-called superiors is a real price. But the price you pay by not doing anything is greater. That price comes in the form of knowledge that by not calling out crap behavior, you’re helping creepiness become just a little more creepy and intransigent. You’re enabling needless suffering.

    No one wants to lose a good job. A job in a philosophy department in a scenic college town, in this day and age? So what’s a little slap on the ass every now and then?

    Here’s what it is: a power play, based on sex. F that.


  2. This is a problem everywhere and administrators don’t want to address it in any way. I was sexually assaulted in my freshman year at a Christian college and when I reported it to the Dean of student affairs, he told me there would be an investigation. I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing did. Then I learned no action was taken because he decided I was lying.

    Victims of sexual harassment and abuse who have the audacity to speak out are dismissed out of hand or punished for upsetting the status quo. That won’t change unless we keep protesting unacceptable behavior, so thank you for sharing the article and speaking about it openly.


    • I absolutely, 100% could not agree more.

      I know dozens of people who are the victims of workplace harassment, including myself.

      Literally everyone–down to the person–was retaliated against, punished, demonized, doubted, and re-victimized for reporting it. Including me. Policies exist so that institutions can say “we have a policy.” So that they can avoid culpability. So that they can avoid responsibility. Look at the apologists and victim-blamers just on this blog’s comments alone. It’s pervasive. It’s disgusting. It makes me want to puke.

      I’m so sorry about what happened to you, and I hope that you have been able to heal despite the fact that nobody would help you.


  3. I’ve heard stories of sexual harassment (or histories of child molestation in 2 cases) at most of the colleges and universities I’ve been connected with as a student or faculty (8 out of 11). They ran the gamut, with inappropriate advances to students the most common, but also hostile climate kinds of sexist (and racist) remarks, e.g., a dean telling a Hiroshima joke to a Japanese-american secretary and comparing his winter-tan skin tone to that of a dark-skinned female African-American professor. I heard of only two losing their jobs, one a (male) secretary, which took a while, the other a senior professor whose child molestation victims grew up and came forward.
    The recent apologists for Woody Allen show how pervasive and long-lasting this stuff is.


  4. I’m sorry that this also happened to you. It should never happen to anyone. The whole “we already did everything we should do to enforce the policy by instituting the policy” thing is a nightmare of circular reasoning that leaves victims with no voice and no recourse.

    How does anyone dare to be angry with us for taking the only recourse we have by talking about it?


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