A major problem with Massimo’s post, as commenters reminded me, is that it’s no good just looking around and saying X doesn’t have a particularly bad sexual harassment problem when we know that most sexual harassment is hidden. It’s a secret. It’s done when no one else is watching.
That’s not a reason to go all Recovered Memory, devil-worship in the day care center, arrest all the people. But it is a reason not to take a look at the surface of things and decide that everything’s pretty much ok.
Jennifer Saul made a point of saying that she was surprised by the stories of harassment that poured in when she started the What is it like to be a woman in philosophy blog.
Back in 2010, I set out to gain a better understanding of why this is. Inspired by discussions with other women philosophers who were worried about the gender gap in our discipline, I set up a blog where philosophers (of any gender) could share anonymous stories — positive or negative — about what it is like to be a woman in philosophy. I was not prepared for what happened.
Almost instantly, I was deluged with stories of sexual harassment.
I was shocked by these stories, and struggled to schedule them to appear, four a day, two weeks in advance. It kept up this way for months. There is still a steady stream of stories of this sort.
She didn’t know it was that bad until people started telling her. Massimo shouldn’t be assuming he knows how bad it is.