My Worst Moment: After over two years of constant harassment by a senior male who was my supervisor, and multiple complaints to my institution that went nowhere, I quit my job and filed a complaint with an external body. I paid for my own lawyer while the institution assembled and paid for his defense team (yes team, not just one lawyer). At the hearing, I learned that other senior faculty lied to protect him, and the fact that I continued working with him was seen as evidence that I ‘consented’ to his behavior. The harassment was never acknowledged. He still works there in the same position. Worst moment: developing severe depression as a result of ongoing stress and powerlessness, and attempting suicide.
I Have Given Up On: My former career path.
I’m Afraid: That he has not learned anything and will do this again to someone else. That after seeing him get away with harassment unscathed, other people will believe they can get away with it too. That institutions will continue to protect harassers, and continue blaming and discrediting those who make complaints.
This Has Cost Me: $4000 legal fees, $25000 lost wages, $2000 health costs (ongoing as I’m still receiving treatment for depression).
Something You Should Know About Me: Even though it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, I never for one second regret coming forward and making a complaint. Knowing that I stood up for myself and called out this harassment is an eternal source of strength and pride.
Is There A Bright Side: I was still able to use my qualifications and experience to get my next role in a different field (I know, I’m luckier than most), so my PhD wasn’t completely wasted. I now work in a job I love and have an excellent supportive team and a genuinely kind and decent human being as my supervisor.
Secret Weapon: The truth.