Psych Faculty & Sexual Impropriety

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by DynamicDidactic, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. DynamicDidactic

    DynamicDidactic Ass of Prof

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    Hope we don't consider this only a problem in Hollywood and politics, here are some recent allegations in two eminent psychology/neuroscience departments (I doubt anyone on here actually believes psych faculty don't fall prey to the same phenomenon as other humans).

    Professors say they won't advise students to work or study at U of Rochester

    Dartmouth College professors face criminal investigation for alleged sexual misconduct - The Boston Globe

    I have heard many anecdotal stories of how commonplace faculty-student romantic relationships were in prior eras during doctoral training. I was also exposed to some in my time; one during my training and one during undergrad. I've known of a few faculty that were married to their past students as well.

    Not sure if I have a questions, just thought this was interesting food for thought (and juicy gossip is always fun to read, the relationship I knew about in grad school was a train wreck from the start).
     
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  3. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I saw two (that I recall, perhaps more if I thought about it from undergrad, but two come to mind immediately) different professors date graduate students with whom they had an evaluative role. There were more than a few other attempts by those same professors to 'increase their sample size' with other grad students. When asked about a paper length requirement, I had a different professor explain that it "should be like a woman's skirt" (cover the topic but keep it interesting for me). This is one of the interesting impacts of the power dynamics between graduate students and professors in academia as a whole. In my experience, most cases of this aren't reported for fear of reprisal.
     
  4. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I only saw one such relationship, but it was in an adjacent psych department (not clinical). I had a lot of undergrads hit on me when I taught, but never had a problem turning down those advances.
     
  5. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    During undergrad a friend of mine was hit on by one of her psychology professors, who once showed up at her front door unannounced. He is well known in his field and gets a lot of media attention. I am aware of several psychology faculty (mostly in non-clinical areas - not sure whether that is coincidence or not) who had sexual relationships with grad students in their own labs or areas. They all managed to keep their jobs, but in the current climate I'm not sure they would.

    As in other fields, typically women are aware of more such incidents than men, since they are more likely to get advice about whom to avoid or be careful around.
     
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  6. FionaGoode

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    I’ve re written this comment a million times. In my experience, the dynamic between advisor and advisee (in some circumstances) puts the trainee in a position to be taken advantage of in many many ways, including sexual harassment and other heinous things. These inappropriate relationships certainly exist, but other more sinister things also take place and I don’t think trainees feel safe to discuss it.
     
  7. affectiveH3art

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    I unfortunately have heard of some relationships happen between faculty and students. Some in our department and some not. In fact I am the product of a student- professor relationship so this is always an interesting topic. Although not in psych, my father graduated with a phd from Stanford, became faculty at a university where my mother was a student. Mind you they were married for 10+ years, their relationship became a spotlight for a lot of politics that even caught media’s attention. That’s a lot for a child to grow up in. In general, I think there are too many issues that come up, especially power dynamics. Although they are divorced, my father continues his shady behavior. Now he’s with his secretary. So I think this behavior is so very unsettling as it more likely than not a single incident. Just saying.


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  8. msgeorgeeliot

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    I'm masquerading as msgeorgeeliot. I'm listening to "Cranes in the Sky" by Solange. I contribute on here frequently because I care about trainees.

    I was raped by my academic advisor. in his office. for 6 months every week.

    "What was wrong with you? Why let him do that?"

    I had no wits about me. I was dying inside. I'm still recovering. Trump and his ilk don't help.

    I did nothing in hopes that someone would notice, say "not ok," help. No one noticed, said "not ok," helped. Welcome to adult life for young women who deserve better.

    I can't get rid of it. He said I was brilliant. He raped me. Am I smart? I think so.

    You're a witness. Don't look away or explain me away.

    Are you better than me because you would have been smart enough to prevent someone from raping you?

    It must feel super pleasant to be a male on this forum, clucking in safe self-righteousness.
     
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  9. Meregold

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    I'm so very sorry that happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story.
     
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  10. msgeorgeeliot

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    PS to "Dynamic Didactic" -- those of us who have experienced this issue firsthand are here to entertain you with "juicy gossip." I would directly quote your original post (which I'm glad you made, btw), but apparently because I don't have enough posting history under this alias, I'm not allowed to respond directly on this forum.

    Signed, humorless feminist who is sick of self-righteous and bitterly judgmental humans on SDN
     
  11. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    These things run the gamut of the trai8nwrecks that DD talked about, to successful marriages, the absolutely horrifying experiences. DD is hardly one of the people I would label as "self-righteous and bitterly judgmental humans" here on SDN. There are ways to bring about constructive dialogue here, baiting and trying to turn this into the ****posting that goes on in the SPF isn't it.
     
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  12. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    No one has insinuated, much less said anything of the sort.
     
    #11 erg923, Nov 16, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  13. PhDPlz2011

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    msgeorgeeliot, I'm so sorry that happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story here. I'm also so sorry that your story is being met with defensiveness by men who somehow seem to perceive that you have been unfair to them and somehow seem to see defending themselves as more important than acknowledging what happened to you. Being a woman can be so exhausting...I, like you, have found it especially difficult in the current climate.
     
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  14. msgeorgeeliot

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    I totally agree re: the gamut, and I did not label DD as a self-righteous and bitterly judgmental human. That was more of a global editorialization of many participants in this forum. You can call it fair or unfair, but I think it's fair game to make the observation without being accused of "baiting." And re: your characterization of me as trying to turn this into a "****posting" (I don't understand what that means, but ok) -- I am being flooded with this type of **** All. Day. Long. That includes my clinical work, my social life, and my general attempt to be an informed citizen re: current events. I am SO sick of this topic. So, I would submit that I'm not trying to "bait" anyone, but if that's how you see it (because clearly this is more your forum than mine), that's fine. Sorry not sorry.
     
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  15. msgeorgeeliot

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    That's fantastic. I applaud you.
     
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  17. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    It's not about fairness, it's about starting a dialogue, rather than trying to stop it before it can even start. But, you do you.

    Thank you, I'm quite pleased with myself.
     
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  18. PhDPlz2011

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    If I had a dollar for every man who thought I was hitting on him because I treated him with basic human kindness (e.g., smiling)...I wouldn't be rich, but I would have a LOT of dollars. Just sayin...
     
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  19. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I know what you mean. But usually, asking me out to the bar goes a few steps beyond smiling in terms of the intent. But, that's neither here nor there. But, we can go back and forth and beat this strawman all we want if it provides some entertainment.
     
  20. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    This emerging vitriol toward male posters and males in general is misplaced and uncalled for. Dont become what you despise.
     
  21. msgeorgeeliot

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    I will do me! Because clearly I am also a self-righteous and bitterly judgmental human. I am self-righteous about my prerogative to tell my story however I please. I am bitterly judgmental about your assessment that I am a dialogue crusher. I'm reminded of how my conservative white male friends are CONFOUNDED as to why people of color sometimes engage in riots to express their fury. "Why don't they engage in a reasonable debate?" I take quiet delight in challenging your assessment of what productive dialogue looks like.
     
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  22. MCParent

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    I've never been hit on by a student. I'd like to think I'm not utterly repulsive. I do tend to be very NOT buddy-buddy (e.g., require undergrads to address me ad Dr. Parent so that no boundaries are blurred at all), which I think helps make it clear that attempting that sort of thing would not go anywhere. My syllabi also include mention of the inappropriateness of sexual advances in any directions between me (instructor)/the TAs/students. My experience has been that people don't just hit the ground running on impropriety, but build up to it (friending undergrads on FB, not immediately closing down flirtatious behavior, talking to them if they see them out especially as a social/bar thing, etc.).

    Is psych better or worse about this impropriety than other fields? It's been suggested to me in other conversations that humanities is much worse about this than science/social sciences, but I've got no evidence for that. Obviously any is bad, but field-related differences might be suggestive of how or why it happens.

    In my study of in appropriate interview questions, we did get people reporting sexual advances from other students and faculty as early as the doctoral interview process. But it would not surprise me if the same person was involved in more than one of those incidents.
     
  23. PhDPlz2011

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    I despise men who talk over women, who refuse to listen to women, who think they understand women because they married a women, who sexually harass women, who assault women, who think the hurt feelings they feel when women talk about how ****ty men as a group have been to them are important...I don't see myself becoming any of those things.

    My response to WisNeuro was a bit lighthearted but gets at a serious issue that I have faced since I was a pre-teen (and that is definitely not unique to me)...men actually believe that if I am nice to them it means that I'm "coming onto them." When I then clarify that I was not hitting on them, they get pissed off which sucks for me when it leads to aggression against me. I have been lucky that most of what I have experienced has been verbal and relational aggression (not great for my career or felt safety, but okay for my body). Many women are not so lucky. So, when I hear some guy claiming that "a lot" of undergrads have hit on him, I feel pretty confident that I've encountered a guy who misinterprets women, and I know that when men misinterpret women they sometimes end up harming them...so I speak up. Maybe I'm wrong and WisNeuro is such a fox that all the college girls wanted him.
     
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  24. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Yeah, I'd be curious to how the number breaks down between different academic disciplines. I wouldn't be necessarily surprised if the social sciences are higher due to the nature of clinical and counseling, but it seems more of an assumption at this point. Maybe this could be your next training related paper MCP ;)
     
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  25. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Seriously, it was like one of those Axe body spray commercials.
     
  26. MCParent

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    That's why I thought the clin/counseling people would ask more inappropriate questions in my other study. But they didn't; experimental people did.
     
  27. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Hmm, intriguing. I know you've posted it before, and I quickly glanced at it the first time. Could you post it again in here?
     
  28. MCParent

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    Yup; TEPP made the article free to download, not to put too fine a point in it. :)

    https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/tep-0000068.pdf
     
  29. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I've been hit on my undergrads too, including bluntly sexually propositioned. It's not just smiles.

    Clearly sexual assault and sexual harrassment are issues that need to be discussed. Some of that involves the shock value of 'holy ****, that happens?'. It brings attention to an issue. Once something has attention (which this needs) then a dialog can start. So instead of saying something that comes off as insulting or dismissive, its better to have a dialog.
     
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  30. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Looks like the n reported for the "Were you approached or spoken to in a sexually suggestive manner" was too low to do any meaningful comparisons. Any thought to a follow up piece on this concentrating on training issues during grad school that included sexually inappropriate actions or comments? I wonder if APPIC would consent to posting a link to a survey type study within their e-mails? It'd be the best way to reach the most students at one level who had completed most of their doctoral training.
     
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  31. PhDPlz2011

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    Thank you for man-splaining how dialogue works to me. I would argue that acknowledging and tolerating women's anger is an important part of this conversation. So many of us are so angry and we have every right to be. I am dismissive of male defensiveness in response to women expressing their anger. I am eager to engage in dialogue with men who want to understand women's experiences, to open themselves up to considering how their past behavior toward women might have been harmful, and to discuss steps they can take to reduce sexual violence against women. Any takers?
     
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  32. MCParent

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    Sexual harassment only matters in one direction of the genders involved?
     
  33. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    Encouragement of more productive dialogue is shut down by use of a silly, faddish, term whose sole purpose is invalidate ones point/point of view because they are of a particular sex (male). Awesome.
     
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  34. PhDPlz2011

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    Of course not. However, gender and power dynamics in our society lead women to be victimized at much higher rates than men. And men are MUCH more likely than women to perpetrate sexual violence against victims of all gender orientations.
     
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  35. msgeorgeeliot

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    Actually, the term was preceded by an important essay by an incredible woman scholar, Rebecca Solnit. Highly recommended. Here's an excerpt from her new introduction to the essay: "Young women subsequently added the word “mansplaining” to the lexicon. Though I hasten to add that the essay makes it clear mansplaining is not a universal flaw of the gender, just the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck."

    Men Explain Things to Me
    Before there was mansplaining, there was Rebecca Solnit's 2008 critique of male arrogance. Reprinted here with a new introduction.

    It looks like SDN won't let me paste the link because I don't have enough posts under my alias. The article is publicly available on Guernica Magazine.
     
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  36. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    Whatever its historical origins, would you agree that an attempt for more productive dialogue in this thread was shut down in the name of this term? (ie., the posters suggestion that she will engage in debate on her terms only and debaters are not raise any points that counter the narrative...because to do so would be "man-splaining").
     
    #34 erg923, Nov 16, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  37. MCParent

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    Except that it’s meaning is degraded when it is used as a power play to invalidate a point of view, making it as relevant as “that’s offensive” or “check your privilege.”
     
  38. msgeorgeeliot

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    I would circle back to PhDPlz2011's excellent point about tolerating anger.
     
  39. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    I dont know what that means.
     
  40. msgeorgeeliot

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    An angry use of the term "man-splaining" is actually not a shutter-downer. It only becomes one if the recipient of the anger *chooses* to shut down. Anger is part of the dialogue.
     
  41. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    While I agree about the ability to tolerate anger, at what point does the toleration of such stop and the party that is tolerating get to have an opinion? Not just in this instance, but in any similar conversation about systemic issues? Serious question. Because, if it's all about having to sit silent and tolerate anger for an indeterminate amount of time, a lot of people across the political spectrum get turned off to these issues and are just fine with the polarized sides expressing their anger at each other while we get on with other things.
     
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  42. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    Can I dictate the content of the dialogue in the name of "woman-splaining." And then blame you when you for shutting down/limiting the conversation? Or would that be wrong? I'm confused.
     
  43. msgeorgeeliot

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    The ability to 'splain is inherently linked to power (same reason why "reverse racism" is nonsensical). So no, women-splaining is not really a thing.
     
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  44. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    My female boss 'spalins things to me all the time. She def has power over me too.
     
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  45. PhDPlz2011

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    So...my use of "man-splaining" is all it takes for you to decide that dialogue is shut down?
    Do you have an opinion? I'll listen to it. Things I've heard from the most active (male) posters on this thread are: "this is a fun, interesting thing to talk about," "your anger makes me feel upset and I don't like that," and "you are shutting down dialogue with your anger." Do you have something else to say about the issue of sexual misconduct in academia? Ideas about reducing it? Thoughts or feelings about how it relates to other power imbalances in academia or our society at large? Ideas for what you can do in your own life to be an ally to victims and challenge perpetrators?
     
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  46. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    No. Your dictating of what content is acceptable in the dialogue (and what you will "dismiss")is...with justification by use of the term.

     
  47. PhDPlz2011

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    Do you have anything to say on this topic other than your opinions on the way I communicate?
     
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  48. Meregold

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    This has really devolved from an interesting thread by a well-meaning poster to just vitriol. OP was intending to spread the word that sexual harassment happens in psychological departments, and that the power imbalance makes grad students vulnerable. Their intentions were good. OP also made a dismissive remark they should not have about "juicy gossip" that I'm sure was just intended to apply to non-abusive teacher-student relationships, but came off as super cavalier about people that have experienced assault and manipulation by someone in authority over them.

    msgeorge was rightfully put off by this terminology, but probably replied with a lot more anger and accusations than OP deserved. But as she (I assumed?) is someone who has been woefully wronged and taken advantage of by not just a person but a system, I believe it would be much more productive to respond with grace and empathy than tone-policing. People who have been abused and taken advantage of have a right to be angry, and even if it is sometimes misdirected dialogue is a whole lot better served accepting and tolerating it, than focusing on the fact that your feelings got hurt. If she were here in person and day after day directed anger towards you about things you didn't do that's one thing. But undeserved anger in one message board where she also disclosed repeated rapes is a pretty good time to just take the insult in stride and let it go.

    Your opinions are valid and fine, but there's a time and place. "I was raped and abused and screw the world for letting it happen" is, imo, not the time to be nitpicking "screw the world". Or whether you think mansplaining is a real thing or not. Focus on the first part. It's just not the right time and comes off as extremely dismissive of someone who has obviously suffered a ton.

    "I'm sorry, that's terrible, I hope we can all do more to keep students safe in our institutions" is all you need to say. This thread had the potential to be a super interesting discussion about how we can do better to look out for and address abuse in our own communities. As someone who has also experienced assault, it's super disappointing it's turned into this and I hope we can take someone else's anger in stride and focus on the original goal.
     
  49. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I have many opinions, and experiences surrounding some of these issues. I fully acknowledge that I can't understand certain perspectives being a larger, athletic, male who never really has had to have a concern about his physical safety. I can empathize, but I can't understand what it's like from a visceral perspective. And, I have witnessed many instances of sexual harassment, and even stopped at least one sexual assault. I would say that many get turned off by being lumped in to a singular category. Some men do terrible things, and now you want me to answer for the Harvey Weinstein's of the world. I understand that is not the intent, but can you see how that message is perceived by many?

    In terms of messaging, I would argue that many progressive causes would do well to heed the literature on persuasion within social science/economics. It's something the left is terrible at. We actually engage in messaging/communication that we know will entrench the opposing side and turn off those who are undecided.
     
  50. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    Sexual violence bad. Holding perpetrator accountable good.

    Seriously though, all of this is bit vexing to me, as I have not really found it all that hard to not sexually harrass women. In fact, its pretty easy not to. I realize this has been systemic and enabled at the institutional level to some degree over the years, but I really don't know what to do about it. This is not rocket science. Men should treat women equally, and with respect. Does not seem that complicated to me.
     
  51. PhDPlz2011

    Joined:
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    Given this:

    Are you interested in learning from women who do understand what it's like from a visceral perspective? Do you think you might be able to learn something from us? Do you have questions?


    That's fair. I am married to a man and have male friends; I don't hate all men and I do understand why the anger I and other women express toward men at large would upset you. That said, I have been raped by nice, respectable men. I have been harrassed by nice, respectable men. The Harvey Weinstein's of the world are not who I'm worried about...I'm worried about the nice male professor down the hall from me who won't say anything when the other nice male professor makes a comment about how nicely I've shaped up post-pregnancy. So while I don't hate all men, I do expect good, decent men to own up to the harms that stem from toxic masculine gender norms and to be willing to consider how their own behavior has contributed to the systemic oppression of women.
     
  52. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
    Psychologist Faculty

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    This is dismissive and rude. I want a dialog. You want a dialog. I've been nothing but clear since my first post in this thread that I consider this an issue, that I consider the problems inherent to the power differential in graduate school to be potentially problematic and prone to exploitation. I have also made clear that I consider sexual harassment / assault a problem. Instead of having a dialog with me, you dismiss my experience of sexual harassment and tell me to open up about how I could be part of the problem.

    Do you mean to tell me that having women objectify me, because I am a male, is not worth an equal weight in this conversation? That's insulting and devaluing. So to my original point, and let me quote,

    Let me know when you want to do that.
     
    msgeorgeeliot and MCParent like this.

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