If you're seeing this post, you've undoubtedly heard about the series of events that rocked the online science community over the last week. On the off chance that you haven't, here's a quick recap:
- On Friday, 11 October, Daniel Lee posted an entry to her blog at Scientific American describing a vile incident in which a editor for Biology Online (now a former editor) called her an "urban whore" for declining to contribute to Biology Online when he told her that the site wouldn't compensate her for her writing. (link)
- On Monday, 14 October, Monica Byrne updated a year-old post describing an incident of sexual harassment and identifying Bora Zivkovic, Blogs Editor for Scientific American (now former Blogs Editor).
- Soon after that Hannah Waters described a series of incidents involving Bora.
- On Friday, Kathleen Raven described another series of incidents involving Bora, and included e-mail excerpts from some of the exchanges.
I read all of these accounts with a mixture of shock and horror. I don't know either Danielle or Bora, although I've seen many of their blog posts and tweets. I was shocked and dismayed that in 2013 anyone would think of calling Danielle an "urban whore" simply because she politely declined to write something without receiving compensation. And I was shocked and dismayed that someone many members of the online science community regarded as the "blogfather" engaged in such reprehensible conduct.
It's that "shock" that I want to say something about.
I'd heard or read many times before this week that it is very likely that every woman I know has suffered some form of sexual harassment, many of them repeatedly. It was a fact that I knew and I'd probably even repeated, but somehow i didn't really know
it. Somehow it never really struck home until I started seeing a few of the hundreds of tweets with the #ripplesofdoubt
hashtag. That and a conversation with a colleague and it finally became real. I guess I'm revealing how clueless I am most of the time, but I also hope I'm capable of learning and that I'm a little less clueless (about this at least) than I have been.
Then I started thinking...