[INDOLOGY] Another form of harassment

stella sandahl ssandahl at sympatico.ca
Fri Oct 7 09:46:32 EDT 2016


Dear all,
This whole discussion reminds me of an episode that happened  long ago at the then Sorbonne. 
One of my students rushed in and embraced me - the room was otherwise empty -  declaring "Je vous aime, Madame" 
- to which I calmly responded "Jeune homme, je ne m'occupe pas de baby-sitting". End of story.
It never occurred to me that I should report him for sexual harassment. 

With best wishes to all
 
Stella Sandahl

On Oct 7, 2016, at 9:28 AM, Isabelle Ratie <isabelle.ratie at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear friends and colleagues,
> 
> We are all tired of this discussion and I apologize for belatedly adding my voice to it. My intention was to remain silent, but I have changed my mind because Audrey Truschke has rightly pointed out that so far those voicing their disagreement with her were all men.
> 
> I am a woman. I am European. There is hardly any need to say that I consider sexual harrassment utterly unacceptable. Yet as Walter Slaje and Arlo Griffiths, I did find Audrey Truschke's message somewhat disturbing. I realize that she had nothing but excellent intentions in posting it and this is certainly not to hurt her feelings; besides, Philipp Maas is probably right in pointing out that this whole disagreement might simply betray a cultural gap between the USA and Europe (which, as he also pointed out, is NOT to say that Europeans would take sexual harrassment less seriously than Americans, but only that for instance my French colleagues and myself would expect such a grave matter to be judged by an independent court of law, not by a mere university committee!). Anyway as Walter Slaje, I find public pillorying extremely unpleasant and dangerous, especially when a defamation lawsuit has been filed and a court decision is still awaited: this defamation lawsuit is presented in the post as a devious way of "silencing" the victims, and the rhetoric of the post leaves little room for the possibility that a wrongly accused man may be fighting to get his reputation back when his whole career and probably much more are at stake. Contrary to some of those who have contributed to this discussion, I believe that we cannot afford to let the medias' carelessness and self-righteousness force us to "take sides" in matters that are not theirs or ours - but only the courts' - to judge. I entirely agree with Audrey that sexual harrassment is awful and that it can occur in all academic disciplines, including ours (and indeed why would it not?); but it seems to me that it's also important to keep in mind that innocent men and women are sometimes wrongly accused; that this is why courts must be allowed to investigate in their own time and independently; that filing a defamation lawsuit is not a sure sign that a guilty individual is trying to silence his victims; and that a scholarly forum such as INDOLOGY is not an appropriate place to discuss such matters.
> 
> With best wishes to all,
> Isabelle
> -- 
> Isabelle Ratié
> Professor of Sanskrit Language and Literatures
> Sorbonne Nouvelle (University of Paris 3)
> http://www.iran-inde.cnrs.fr/members/permanent-members/ratie-isabelle.html?lang=en
> 
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