26 Percent of Female Scientists Say They’ve Been Sexually Assaulted Doing Fieldwork
One of the most difficult parts of getting a Ph.D. is finishing your dissertation. Those last three months were certainly the hardest of my life. Beyond the mountain of work a dissertation requires, graduate students also have to face feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, and anxiety about the looming job search. Sometimes, they need a gentle, supportive push to quit stressing about every last comma and—after years of blood, sweat, and tears—finally turn it in.
So when Kate Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, chided an old friend who was still a graduate student about taking that last step to finish her thesis, she thought she was doing her a favor. But she was floored by her friend’s response.
Clancy remembers her friend saying, “Well, I was sexually assaulted in the field, and every time I open the dissertation files I have flashbacks.” On this week’s episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast, Clancy goes on to say that conversation “was the first time that it really hit me how much these kinds of experiences can not only emotionally traumatize women, but also explicitly hold them back in their research.”