One of the major issues in academia arose in 2017 was sexual harassment.

In the wake of #MeToo, women from within various fields have come together to share stories of their abusive experiences collectively.  To reveal the scale of the problem in academia, Karen Kelsky, a former professor, created her anonymous survey that chronicles the extent of sexual harassment inside the wall of the ivory tower. The document, created on 1st Dec 2017 has gained more than 1,600 entries in less than a fortnight.

Graduate students, who have little job flexibility, are often trapped at the same university for years, and depend on the support of a few key professors for career success, seem to face the most harassment. Tenured professors, who have the most power, experience far less.

The Angry Black Woman getting her PhD is a Haitian American from California and also a 5th-year graduate student working towards her PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology. Her experience in academia started quite dramatically. In the previous lab she worked, she dealt with racism and sexual harassment repeatedly. When she voiced her concerns, she wasn’t taken seriously and she never felt safe. Despite the struggle, she kept going for 4 years before switching to another lab and department.

As result of this abusive environment, the Angry Black Woman suffered from severe depression. She is slowly healing through cognitive therapy and making sure to take care of her physical wellbeing daily. She keeps a balanced diet, listens to motivational messages and tries to surround herself with inspirational people who always push for something better.

Education is a right and abuse must not come with the journey.

The Angry Black Woman did not expect this outcome before applying for graduate school at all. Her idea of science and academia was a place where people could come together, regardless their background, to work on a common goal. A diverse team can look at the same issue from different angles. These different perspectives can be pieced together to create a complete picture, which allows us to tackle issues.

Unfortunately, her experience in academia proved all this to be wrong. So many people are discriminated against and treated as if they are not capable of reaching their goals because of who they are. Talent, drive, intelligence comes in different packages and academia, as a community, should embrace this concept.

If you want to know more about the Angry Black Woman check her YouTube channel.

I believe that this story does not need any further comment.


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