My Name is Rachelle

My Name is Dr. Rachelle Jones (Editing note: There are multiple women in STEM with this name, no other identifying information was given by the author. If you wish to say this is not your story, please write us @metoostem on Twitter or metoostem@gmail dot com)

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Dr Jones was harassed for years. She carefully documented what happened and thought her university was protecting her. They weren’t.  Dr Jones declined to provide a photo.

I was harassed for two years by a colleague with an office near mine. He used his body, his words, and his influence to compromise me, make me feel unsafe, and sabotage my career. I kept careful notes, documenting everything. When the time was right, when he had clearly put the future of my students (about 45 of them) in danger by reporting me for unethical research practice during an undergraduate course to a government body, I reported his behaviour to my Chair. My Chair investigated and found me completely innocent and launched an investigation at the upper admin level.

I was asked to hand over all evidence, including witness statements. I was told that because they were intending to roll me into a tenured position, it would be best for me to keep quiet and let them handle it. I complied.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 5.02.15 PMI received a letter of apology for ‘our mutual misunderstanding’ with the recommendation that I accept given my career aspirations.

Five years later, and now at the end of my contract, my harasser’s wife has been rolled into a tenure track job, I have enjoyed annual performance ratings of ‘outstanding’ each time and have been promoted to Associate professor (without tenure) and I found out that there was never a chance of a tenure track position.

This isn’t the only example, just the worst.

I Have Given Up On: Speaking out in defense of myself.

This Has Cost Me: Mental Health: I’m in therapy, of course, working with a grief counselor to learn coping strategies for the loss of a career and the anger that I feel towards the administration. I’ve spent a couple thousand dollars on this so far, $2000.

Given that I was under the impression that I would have a career at this institution, I wasn’t as proactive in finding another position, searching only seriously for the last year. So there are lost wages, for sure, probably about $200,000.

There was certainly damage done to my reputation as this harasser worked within my community to convince people to not work with me. Priceless loss.

Something You Should Know About Me: I’m ashamed of myself for keeping quiet.

Is There a Bright Side? My husband tells me every day that I am a good scientist.

My Fight Song

My Secret Weapon: Setting long term goals and working only towards them.