reply to all

kkaye at kkaye at
Tue Feb 8 08:28:11 EST 1994

IMHO, tuppenny's worth, etc:

I am very grateful for the occasional notes of support I have had from users of
the women.bionet group; I haven't always had a moment to reply to requests but
I am getting around to them. I don't think giving each other personal support
is a bad idea although this is a public forum: it's good to publicise difficult
cases sometimes; it's useful for people to know that we as women in science do
have issues to work out.

A lot of the flak I have observed of late on the net has to do with porn on
compuers used at work. This is absolutely not a problem in the UK academic
milieu. Maybe it's because we are actually so badly underfunded and underpaid
that we don't have money to waste on that sort of trash; it's more likely that
we have absolute professional standards. There is no academic workplace in the
UK, as far as I know, where pornographic images would be permitted to be used.
If someone did they would be dealt with very directly, at least in my
department and in my University. Harassing co-workers occurs in various ways,
and not merely by men against women; I'm not saying that society here is
non-sexist; but by-and-large we are here to do the work, and sexual harassment
is an interruption we prefer to avoid. Life is hard enough.

The workplace or research milieu is not an appropriate place for overt
sexuality. That includes a consensual screw in the stores cupboard; porn on the
screen; honeymooning in the corridors; or generally drawing attention to one's
or one's co-workers' sexuality and thus turning attention away from the work at
hand. A workplace is for work and related activities which do not interfere
with other people doing their jobs. 

If I were confronted by that sort of problem I would welcome suggestions
world-wide from people on how to handle it: at least such a procedure would
give me a good laugh and restore my sense of perspective! And if the people
concerned read it, well, you know what the old precept is: If you don't want to
hear bad things about yourself, don't eavesdrop.

Maybe Mike has learnt by his experience: bad news travels fast. Women do talk
to each other, even by Internet. There are consequences for what you do. It's
true that had I been Mike's co-worker I might have handled it differently, but
then again handling anger, resentment, and a sense of victimisation is really
hard, especially when you're so angry with a co-worker that you want to hit him
extremely hard and you're frightened of how angry you are.

Another vote for personal messages


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