Since October, survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been sharing their stories and speaking out against their abusers with the hashtag #MeToo. Abusers in Hollywood faced consequences first, followed by a few politicians. Now, one former professor is drawing attention to predatory behavior in academia.
An anonymous survey that was launched at the end of November in response to #MeToo has been answered more than 2,000 times. The Google spreadsheet is called “Sexual Harassment in the Academy,” and it was created by Karen Kelsky, a former anthropology professor and current columnist for the Chronicle of Higher Education. While some likened the list to Moira Donegan’s compilation of “Sh*tty Media Men,” Kelsky’s spreadsheet focuses on incidents of misconduct rather than specific men.
Although the list depicts perpetrators of all genders, men were responsible for the vast majority of sexual misconduct cases, with almost 1,400 reported incidents committed by men. Graduate students were the most likely to be the targets of predatory behavior.
Kelsky wrote in the Chronicle that her goal in creating the list was “to make visible the scope and scale of sexual harassment in academe in the aggregate.” She added that she will not try to identify those responsible and that she would do nothing with the information besides posting it on her blog.
The reports in the spreadsheet range from sexual harassment to sexual assault. One woman recounted her adviser touching her inappropriately. Another wrote that she suspected a colleague had drugged her drink at a party.
If you or someone you know has been affected by predatory behavior in academia, the spreadsheet is still open for additional comments.
Sexual harassment and assault are serious crimes that no industry is exempt from. And while #MeToo has done a thorough job of increasing awareness about sexual misconduct, thankfully there are more ways to fight rape culture. We applaud Kelsky for raising awareness about this issue in academia. To all survivors of sexual abuse: We are listening.