Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Here we go again

Remember this?

It appears as though my "friend" is back. Or I have a new friend. Whatever. The harrassing phone calls are back.

The "good" news, if there is any, is that since I've now been down this road several times before, I knew exactly whom to call and in what order. And the other "good" news is that the outrage that was largely missing the last time around is very present now. Seems like those around me are finally recognizing these events for what they are: unacceptable, ugly, intimidating events. No one's really sure what to do about this, beyond trying to identify the offender, but the conversation has started.

I've spent the day oscillating back and forth between anger and despair. The first few times it happened were not fun, but it was easy to delude myself that perhaps these were just random, freaky coincidences. But now, it's clear that even if this is a different person, something is dreadfully wrong here. As far as I can tell, I'm the only person who's come forward with these phone calls, which means to me that I am, somehow, being targeted. And that's Creepy.

Even as my colleagues express their outrage, I feel more alone than ever. If this person wanted to intimidate me, he's succeeded, in spades. I don't feel wanted here. I feel singled out. And I wonder how much longer I'm willing to put up with this, how much I'm willing to sacrifice my sanity in the hopes that the women who come after me won't have to put up with this complete and utter crap.

15 comments:

What Now? said...

Jane, how terrible. I'm glad that your colleagues are recognizing this harrassment for what it is, but I'm so sorry you're having to go through it.

Lisa, Paper Chaser said...

I am so sorry this is happening. I'm glad your colleagues are supportive, but you're right; that can only take you so far. Shit. :-(

Marie said...

I am so sorry to hear that this is happening again. I wish I had some advice I could offer. I'm glad to hear that your colleagues are more supportive now.

Ianqui said...

I am SO sorry for you. Would the school be willing to get the police involved? Maybe they can tap the phone. It sounds drastic, but honestly, it also sounds necessary. At the very least, can they change your number? It would deter him from trying to find you, maybe.

Jane said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Ianqui, the phone tap never crossed my mind, but that's a great idea--I'll suggest it to the powers that be.

Jyotirmoy said...

It is outrageous. I hope that whoever is doing it is caught and punished soon.

Astroprof said...

I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this. I'd suggest talking to the campus police about it. I don't know how the campus police are at your institution, but our police are pretty helpful and supportive, and I am sure would take a dim view of this.

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

ARGH! What a $%#@ing $#@hole! Is he some kind of $#(@ing caveman? Maybe he was frozen for 50 #@!-$#*&ed years and didn't realize that women are now equal. #$%@ing putz. I wish castration were a viable method of punishment sometimes.

I'm sorry. I've been through this kind of crap too many times to count.

Keep your head up.

Scooter said...

Part of me wants to suggest buying a handgun, but another part of me says you're not the type to be willing to use one...and a gun without a user willing to pull the trigger when necessary is a gun waiting to be turned against its owner. At a minimum, get some mace or the legal equivalent in your locale. Learn how to use it. Buy two cans, spray a friend AND get sprayed by your friend. Understand that a strong wind makes it near useless. Whatever you do, you mustn't live life in fear - that's what gives this person power over you. You need righteous anger and the confidence that you can eliminate the threat this person may pose.

Scooter said...

Furthering my previous comment, check school policies regarding self-defense sprays. It struck me that some schools may class them as weapons and if you were to use them, you might lose your job. Check the rules (and perhaps lobby for a change if it is classed as a weapon), your right to protect yourself should not be compromised, ever.

Jane said...

Astroprof, I haven't talked to campus police yet, but that's the next step.

FCSGS, ugh, I can't believe that you've had to put up with this too! What is it about this field that brings out the Neanderthals??? aren't we so past this already?? geez.

Scooter, you're right, I'm not a gun person. :) But I've received a lot of suggestions today of the same variety (protect yourself, somehow), and I must say that stupidly I hadn't thought about the personal safety aspect of this until it was brought up to me. Duh. Checking on school policies is a good idea, though, and I will do that.

C said...

Some suggestions (in addition to the above, which sound very good):

1. Since, you're a computing person, any chance one of your colleagues (or someone at another institution) would be able to analyse the voice and see if it's the same one as before?

2. Consider changing the contents of whatever message is played to people leaving a message on your voicemail. You could, if you wanted to, let any callers know that your voicemail is being recorded/traced.

3. Publicize anti-harrassment policies widely within your dept's courses, so that the perpetrator, if a student, will have no doubt that the school takes a dim view of this. Could be of the form "Will anyone who has any information about harrassment come forward..." - might not produce any information, but the idea is to deter the caller. Could be with a poster blitz, could be with every single computing professor mention it in their classes that week with a promise to hunt the perpetrator down. Don't let him feel safely anonymous. Plus you might be surprised at the support you might get (that's if it is publicized that it is you being harrassed, which isn't necesarily a good idea).

4. Do *something*. I am guessing that feeling a touch more in control of events will help.

Zuska said...

A foul, foul rash upon your phone harasser, that sneaky, cowardly scum of the earth. You've been given good advice - get the phone tapped, or at least leave a message saying it's tapped and calls are recorded; the suggestion to enlist colleagues in a publicity blitz against harassment is wonderful. If you don't want to go public as a person being harassed, maybe you could just get your department head and colleagues to agree to a general announcement against harassment week - you know, making sure students are aware of the university's policies against sexual/racial harassment, procedures to follow and possible penalities.

I am fantasizing pushing your harasser over a cliff. Or running back and forth over him with a tank. Or maybe just putting him in a stockade in the center of campus with a sign around his neck saying "I am a cowardly harassing bastard." We could all fling rotten fruit at his head. Wouldn't that be lovely?

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oh, Jane, I'm so sorry to hear this! It completely sucks and is just horrible. I really like the publicity blitz about harassment idea - though I'm not sure if your campus will go for it; one of the things that has struck me as a contrast between my last (public) institution and my current (private) institution is that the admin at my previous school was really admirably proactive about any kind of ugly incident like this (usually involving students, mind you, but that attitude was consistent): if something happened (defacement of a poster, say), the chancellor/other admin folk got on e-mail and said, "This happened. It's NOT acceptable." They don't do that here, probably because there is such a concern about publicity; the whole economics of attracting students makes this a legitimate concern, but it results in a less open atmosphere. But in any case, the reason I bring this up is that if there is any way just to have various people in the community - faculty, staff, admin, whatever - say that they know this is happening and it's not acceptable, I think that can actually be REALLY powerful.

(Sorry to go on and on!)

Jane said...

C, you have some excellent suggestions! It is possible that I could be getting some sort of trace thing on my phone, but even if not the message is a brilliant idea. I've started my own personal "media blitz" about this, but the idea of getting more people publicly involved is interesting.

Zuska, the stockade idea seems very appropriate. Public humiliation should definitely be in order for this person. And rotten fruit should definitely be part of the show. :)

New Kid, the last time this happened an email did go out from the administration. Apparently it worked soo well (rolls eyes). But I agree with the idea; I just think that whatever message the administration sends has to be much stronger this time. So I'll bring that up when I meet with the dean about this. Thanks!