Below is an e-mail message from a reader. I have responded to the e-mail privately, but I hope some readers can also help with advice or other support.
I'm about to quit research because I can't take the sexism anymore. Would you still try and convince me to stay?
I'm recently recovering from a rape assault, and as a result am finding it impossible to cope with sexism in the workplace. I feel like my reaction to this sexism is completely justified, but that I might not have found it so overwhelming had I not been going through this particularly difficult time.
I'm at the point where just going to work is emotionally draining and I am actively considering quitting. The main reason for my choice is sexism, not other difficulties which exist with a career in academia. I fear I may be throwing research away because I'm going through a very difficult time recovering from the rape assault.
In the last year, I've been so upset by this, that the quality of my work has degraded. I'm a postdoc, so one unproductive year is important. Given the sexism and rumors that exist in the workplace, I can't imaging discussing the rape and its effect with anyone at work.
The sexism I'm talking about is both indirect (witnessing patronizing comments about women and porn which is openly accepted at my workplace) and direct (patronizing comments about my gender, sexual advances from PhD adviser, sexual harassment from colleagues at every institution I've been at - in one case it was violent, victimization when I complained).
Thanks for your time and any advice you may have. Feel free to post this letter on your blog (not my email address).
Sincerely, Burnt out astronomy.
PS: Thanks for your amazing (and depressing) blog.
10 months ago