Some management bodies of our universities and some of their teaching staff have very actively contributed to anonymously disseminating, through social networks and even in the press, comments on the sexual lives of those victims of sexual harassment who have dared to report and on those of who have dared to support us. According to international criteria, the interference in the sexual privacy of any person is considered gender-based violence. When it is perpetuated to a victim, it is also considered revictimization and, when it is perpetuated to someone who supports survivors it is defined as second order of sexual harassment. In the case of this article, everything that has been said is a lie, everything that was used to generate more scandal, more morbidity and more audience, has been invented. However, even if they had said truths, it would also be interference in our sexual lives and, therefore, harassment.
That interference from the harassers has been so intense and continued that it has created a climate in which even many individuals with good intentions have collaborated. Many people have asked me, without my permission, if I had any sexual engagement with my dissertation advisor, in a context in which, if so, all slanders that were said about the research group that broke the silence about sexual harassment in our universities, would have been considered as proves.
A journalist recorded a talk in which a student told me that a friend had rejected proposals from her dissertation director and asked me if that situation is harassment. I asked her if the friend’s “no” had academic consequences, and the student said it had. Then I replied that it is indeed harassment.
After the talk, the journalist told me that I was very tough since two adults can have sex whenever they want. I replied that they can, that I stand for freedom, which is why I am against all harassment such as the fact that the professor, instead of accepting the refusal, had used his academic power to harm her.
When she asked me again if I had had any kind of engagement with my advisor, I replied I hadn’t, adding that I was answering her because she was nice, but that she cannot ask a question like this to any woman who does not want to be asked; even less to a sexual harassment survivor or to whom supports survivors. I also wanted to create awareness on her on the fact that another effect of this kind of interference is to coerce us, so we do not exercise our freedom. She defended the right of the aforementioned professor to insist on meeting her student and, nevertheless, considered a confirmation of harassers’ attacks that my advisor and I had had any relationship. To exercise that freedom, assuming we had wished to, would have meant to terribly increase the attacks against the victims and our families.
At the same time, I pointed out that harassers base their attacks on the fact that we interfere with people’s sexual lives. However, we have never done so. While they do not stop doing it continuously, as anyone can verify in anonymous slanders on Internet and in the “yellow” press, no one can find any single message of interference from us, neither in their private lives nor in those of any person. They cannot find them just because they do not exist.