My Name is Janet

“he complaint was quickly dismissed but I still had to defend myself while experiencing symptoms of PTSD from the night he threatened me.” Photo submitted with story

MY WORST MOMENT

was when I thought I had finally broken free from my abuser, finally realizing I could not wait to find another job to leave his abuse. This was followed, a couple days later, by him cornering me in my office, one Friday night, after most people had left for the day, threatening me, and then making a complaint against me for being a “threat to campus safety”. The complaint was quickly dismissed but I still had to defend myself while experiencing symptoms of PTSD from the night he threatened me.

I HAVE GIVEN UP ON

Academia actually doing anything to take action against the predators in their midst, when those predators are tenured. The whole system is completely bound to “tenure uber alles”. Tenured faculty and upper administrators are so bound to protecting those who are tenured, it takes only a PR disaster to get any action and then the punishment is more of a reward, as the offender is not usually fired but rather “prohibited” from teaching and required to only do research.

I’M AFRAID

of what my abuser is still doing to his other victims and that his behaviour will eventually lead to someone getting killed. One of his main abuse tactics is to try to bully his female grad students and female direct reports into doing things that are dangerous and potentially life threatening. Refusal to do so is met with retaliation and sustained verbal, and psychological abuse (he is a master gaslighter).

THIS HAS COST ME

I went to working 50% FTE from 100% FTE in order to get away from him: Half of my salary for 6 months ~ $25,000.
I had to start seeing a therapist regularly to recover from the PTSD from the abuse: Co-pays ~ $2000.

IS THERE A BRIGHT SIDE?

 Yes. The whole ordeal of putting up with the abuse and seeing no response, other than excuses, from my complaints and others’ complaints about the predator, made me give up on academia. I am now working in the Tech sector. I now have an amazing job, work with phenomenal and supportive people, have almost unlimited career growth options, and am getting money and stock options firehosed at me by my employer. Without the abuse, I likely would have never considered working in the industry I am currently in, but am delighted that I switched. I am realizing that academia was a bad fit for me, even before the abuse. My stress levels are the lowest they have been since before I started grad school.

MY FIGHT SONGS

 “Bulletproof Baby” by The Struts

MY SECRET WEAPON

has been my friends. My friends kept me from giving up. There were a couple times, after I applied for jobs that I was certain I could get (and was desperate to have as a financial pathway to escape the abuse), but did not get, that I was near suicidal. My friends kept me afloat. A couple people in particular where my lifeline and carried me through those dark days.