My name is not Max.
My Worst Moment: Holding my chest in shock and terrified in the elevator, still feeling his impact on my breast like it was happening over and over again repeatedly but yet still confused that it maybe didn’t happened at all because these things shouldn’t happen, especially at work. Trying to convince myself after repeated harassment and assault, to just let it go, that reporting it would just make things worse and I didn’t ever want him to know that he scared me, because I knew that was what he wanted, to put a strong confident successful queer woman ‘in her place’.
I Have Given Up On: Feeling like anyone at the University would understand or actually help. I gave up on feeling safe at work and even gave up on the fact that that was not ok. I have given up on justice – that there will be any consequences for his actions.
I’m Afraid: Every day at work, every time I hear a noise, turn a corner, the elevator doors open, I open a door, walk into a room, go in to the bathroom alone and think this is it, he has finally snapped and is going to kill me and still nothing will be done except some professional cold email will be sent out from the department about how ‘sorry they are for the loss.’
This Has Cost Me : $2,000, have avoided all departmental meetings to the detriment of my career.
Something You Should Know About Me: I am persistent, I do not give up, and I speak up for what is not right – but this form of harassment, intimidation, and assault is insidious and convinces you that ‘it’s not worth reporting’, that ‘you probably misunderstood’, and he’ll win if you let him see how much he’s hurt and scared you. I kept quiet for 4 years, do not make my mistake, speak up and out. We have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well- Time’s up.
Is There a Bright Side: I kept complaining when it got so bad I was going to quit right after I defended my PhD and leave some projects unfinished –I’d rather be out of this nightmare than have a higher impact paper. My advisor stepped in as a strong advocate. She said it would be a failure of the University for me to leave like this and demanded change. He is now banned from the floors I work on and I feel safer.
The bright side came when people not only believed me, but too action as an ally. I just had to invoke my power, speak loudly and clearly, and realize there is no weakness in reporting it and no shame in fighting for your rights.
My Fight Song: ‘I’ll make a man out of you’ from the Mulan soundtrack- Reminds me why the fight is worth it and the ceaseless strength and power inside every woman that is suppressed by oppression.
Secret Weapon: Network of allies who are reshaping our field and dedicated to speaking up for what is right.