Many, many yars ago – I was a PhD student. At a conference, late evening, at the bar. A female post-doc in a low-cut dress and a jacket, asked me if I could buy her a drink. I did, even though I didn’t have much money and she had more. We talked, mostly on work related issues, but after a while she steered the conversation on to personal matters. She removed her jacket. There was a dance floor and she wanted to dance. We did, but it was awkward as she danced in a provocative manner. We sat back down at the bar. She slipped her room number into the conversation a couple of times. She wanted to dance again but I managed to find an excuse and left to find my own room and go to sleep.
The whole episode troubled me for the rest of my PhD-period as I was unsure of whether this would influence my chances of finishing my PhD, – she was after all influential in the lab.
This has happened to me several times later. I have other examples of women in influential positions, wearing low cut dresses, sometimes high heels – touching my hand, sometimes my thigh, and asking me to participate in dancing, sometimes provocative dancing.
I’m not sure if they are aware of what they are doing, – ….. oh wait … I am perfectly sure they know what they are doing, …. and what effect it has on me.
I wish these things wouldn’t happen as I feel as though I am being taken advantage of. I know I should have stopped things as events were closing in on my personal boundaries, but being in a vulnerable position in my career when these things happened …. I simply didn’t manage to.
Women in power needs to be made aware that wearing sexualized outfits, dancing in a provocative manner and touching other people can lead to serious distress and sometimes psychological damage to vulnerable individuals.
Note: I have left out names and description of places to protect those involved, and myself. This post is purely fictional.