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Unread 08-11-2017, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

I was 21 years old when I arrived in the USA, from Moscow, Russia. It was my first time living away from family of origin, in an English speaking country. I primarily cared about how well I spoke English and how gracefully I conducted myself. I did not pay attention to the fact that a married male professor 28 years older than me instantly befriended me and started showering me with positive attention. His wife is 5 years older than him.

Initially it was social - my friend in Moscow was a friend of the eldest son of the American couple.

Eventually the Professor would share mild sexual thoughts with me, hint at sexual desires, describe the bodies and, less frequently, faces and hair color of women he liked. For instance, he would frequently talk about how happy he was when he had worked at Stanford (before moving to his current state), because young people on Stanford campus were close to naked thanks to good weather, and often blond.

Eventually he grew to be in a state in which he could not take his eyes off me (and I have dark hair, so I found it funny and innocent that he would speak non-stop of blonde women but not be able to take his eyes off a non-blonde one).

His wife was visibly pained when he talked of how he'd like to be Marylin Monroe's husband or when he recalled his happiness seeing close-to-naked bodies on Stanford campus. It seemed to me that the professor was sadistic towards the wife - it seemed that he intentionally talked about his desire for other women to cause her pain.

She, in turn, would berate him for liking actresses in movies. She also recruited their teen twin daughters to berate and ridicule him for liking actresses in movies and to protest when he would describe the body of a woman he liked as "zaftig".

Eventually he invited me to audit his classes, suggested better universities for me and wrote recommendations on my behalf, first for universities and then for summer employment. When the relationship was already very intimate but not yet sexual, and I was auditing his classes, he shared that another male faculty member recommended a nurse to him and that the nurse was a blonde sex pot who cooed over him. He was visibly please recalling how the male faculty member friend and he "shared" the affinity for the blonde nurse.

When he and his wife went away, I house-sat and his male faculty member friend propositioned me, and I rejected him because I did not want to hurt the feelings of the Professor. When he eventually learned of my "faithfulness", he both acknowledged that he would have been upset seeing us together, saying that his friend, admittedly, liked women, and claiming that he did not feel entitled to my faithfulness.

It was clear that he would not speak of the cooing blonde nurse to his wife.

Essentially he assigned to me the role of a woman whom he could at the same time:

- adore,
- put on a pedestal,
- admire,
- "love bomb" (this is a new expression I learned reading about narcissists - I suspect that the Professor is a narcissist without empathy)
- desire sexually

AND share his admiration of other women with, in contrast with his wife.

At that time, being very young and liking him a lot, I welcomed that role, but now I see that he groomed me for a secretive somewhat-sexual relationship that followed. I also see that his conduct fits the description of sexual harassment in retrospect.

Oh, and he always spoke critically of women who complained of sexual harassment, as if it had not existed.

Does this type of "grooming" - pervasive, persistent (a sexual or near-sexual allusion at each meeting, with meetings at least once a week), but welcome-in-real-time innuendos - qualify as harassment?

Years later, working through issues in therapy, I realized how pernicious his conduct was. In March of this year, things he said on the phone (after several years of leading up to it) caused me to overdose. So I no longer recall his pitting me against his wife as young, "so sexy", and un-strict (yeah, bring your sexual desires for other women to me - both you and I know very well that it is me whom you desire the most) as beneficial to me.

In fact he's quite a dangerous manipulator.

Thanks for guiding me!
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Unread 08-11-2017, 02:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

What did you tell him when he shared his sexual innuendos with you? Did you outright tell him he's a ridiculous S.O.B. and shouldn't be telling you that crap?

He's an idiot.
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Unread 08-11-2017, 07:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

I would say the harassment component of it is valid if it was unwanted by you. Did you ever feel confident enough to put this creep in his place? I'm sorry you went through that. I hope you can put this behind you with therapy if need be. Not all men are jerks who prey on young, innocent women.
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Unread 08-11-2017, 08:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

Yes, this was sexual harassment.

I quit college partly because my professor made a pass at me. He rubbed his hips up against my rear while I was working with him. That's really all he did, which was definitely sexual harassment, but it freaked me out so bad to have to deal with his advance that I quit college and didn't graduate!
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Unread 08-11-2017, 08:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

What a jerk.

I think it would qualify for harassment only if you told him to stop and he kept going. If you didn't, it could appear as it was consensual. Overall I am glad you are in
Therapy and are healing. It's a shame older married man would think it's ok to behave this way with young student
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Unread 08-11-2017, 11:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

The issue here would be you didn't act negatively or reject his advances and to some degree were complicit.
For me it's difficult to see how one would not understand his behaviour was out of order simply due to the fact he was married.

Following that however, there is no doubt his behaviour was out of order as your tutor he over stepped the boundaries.
I am unclear that it would be classified as sexual harassment. This would imply he was behaving contrary to your expressed wishes. Certainly in the UK his advances would have to be unwanted, and sexual or obscene in nature.

We're you unaware it was illegal to be involved with a student?

If you felt obliged or unable to refuse because of his status.

Did he ever ask for anything and you refused?

Don't mistake my questions as me blaming you in anyway, I am simply trying to understand the nature of the relationship better.

Whatever, he sounds like a repugnant and creepy individual, and you have obviously felt harmed by his interactions with you.
It is unfortunate that in our naivety we can get swept up in something that we can later whole heartedly regret. Which is why people in positions of authority are supposed to stand stronger than the rest of us and not allow for these things to take place.Certainly they shouldn't be hand feeding them to the people they are responsible for.

I hope you are doing better now, and have been able too be on some from this experience. All the best.
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Unread 08-11-2017, 12:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy Hitch View Post
What did you tell him when he shared his sexual innuendos with you? Did you outright tell him he's a ridiculous S.O.B. and shouldn't be telling you that crap?

He's an idiot.

No, I did not.
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Unread 08-11-2017, 11:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

I welcomed his conduct - it was a ploy to make me grow attracted towards him. He then "sold" me his growing detached from his spouse as a valid currency, but I see now that the currency was value-less. I got nothing but harm to me from the relationship with him.
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Unread 08-13-2017, 06:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

No, in my opinion, it's not sexual harassment.

Just because you have some (justifiable) bitterness about his and your own behavior, doesn't mean that you have to label it. You both made a mistake, but you're human....

It's in the past. Let it lie there.
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Unread 08-14-2017, 12:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is this Sexual Harassment by a Professor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sophiesmom View Post
No, in my opinion, it's not sexual harassment.

Just because you have some (justifiable) bitterness about his and your own behavior, doesn't mean that you have to label it. You both made a mistake, but you're human....

It's in the past. Let it lie there.
It is not in the past for me, but a current issue - he caused my overdose in March of this year and another sui attempt in 2015.

I do see how not labeling it would be correct, but no, it is not in the past.
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