A very tough situation:
This past year, my sister had a complicated experience with sexual harassment at her undergraduate institution. She told our family and also her therapist about this over the summer and has done a lot of really thoughtful processing in her personal life. Now she’s considering going to the institution’s sexual harassment counselor and initiating a formal complaint process. She is concerned that the professor be held accountable for his actions and also that he doesn’t turn around and take advantage of other students in the future. She doesn’t want the burden of keeping an eye on him entirely on her shoulders (obviously!). We’re all supportive of her looking into this, but my parents are concerned about the personal impact for her in going public (even in carefully controlled circumstances) with what happened. From a political/feminist point of view, I think it’s important for her to speak up, but also know there can be heavy personal costs to doing so. It’s unclear how the professor will react, obviously, when/if she lodges the complaint, and she will probably face some skepticism about her side of the story somewhere along the way. I would be grateful for any wisdom from your readers — especially people who have gone through a similar situation in the higher ed setting — on what to expect, how our family can support her, and what resources are out there for handling this particular part of the process.
Thanks in advance for any feedback!
Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone dealt with a similar situation?
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