Science blogger Hannah Waters speaks of her experience with feeling "not quite harassed" by Bora Zivkovic, Blogs Editor for Scientific American - yes, THAT Scientific American...
He would talk about how he gets to hang out with so many smart, beautiful women for his job (as if we should be flattered), make offhand comments about his own sex life, and occasionally tell me that he loved me.
The most significant event happened early in October 2010 after a science blogger gathering at a bar in the Financial District. Bora and I were walking in the same direction and chatting, a bit tipsy, when he asked me if I would walk him back to his hotel. I lost my breath for a second. I froze and stuttered, “No, I have to go.”
After a hug goodbye that lasted a second too long, we split ways, my head spinning. Did I imagine that? Was he trying to sleep with me? And then: Am I actually any good at writing, or was he just supporting me because he was sexually interested in me?
I doubted myself, my value to a community in which I had found a home, my worth as a writer. I came home crying to my roommate, so unsure of what this meant for my future, whether all my seeming accomplishments were no more than a ruse.
I’ve carried those thoughts with me ever since.
Women have a hard enough time in the STEM professions without all this bullshit. When we are on the receiving end of harassment, our instinct is to just brush it off, "I don't want to cause any trouble," "Maybe I'm reading too much into this..."
If we resolve to "just let this go" every time a minor instance of bullshit happens to us, the bullshit accumulates, forming one giant bullshit mountain...
I had a minor instance of workplace harassment happen once...and I let it go...I don't remember this individual making me feel uncomfortable again, but by letting it go, he may have gone on to harass others.
I work in a women-dominated social science, so I can't recall many instances of workplace harassment. If any have happened, I've probably blocked them out.
If you feel so inclined, please share Hannah Waters' blog post and please share your story in the comments.