Sarah Viren wrote an essay for the New York Times about the accusations of sexual harassment against her wife that went viral. Her wife Marta worked as an assistant professor at Arizona State University, and one day she was informed she had been accused by her student of sexual harassment. The story that spirals from there — a bureaucratic nightmare of being dragged before a tribunal, a marriage that is strained by disbelief and mistrust — was riveting and felt singular. Sarah and Marta felt as though they must be the only ones to experience such a baffling and bizarre process of trying to prove innocence when it was difficult to ascertain the motivation behind the accusations and the frailties and inadequacies of the Title IX system. But no, there were others.
Through The Inbox, Sarah Viren talks to some of the people, mostly professors, who wrote to her after her essay was published, saying they had experienced similar false accusations and had struggled to retain their jobs and their sanity. And through these stories, you get the more complex perspective on a system that was started with good intentions, as a method of protecting women on campus from sexual violation, but whose flaws are so major it often ends up punishing the innocent or being used as a weapon of retaliation. (I am not really unbiased in my understanding of Title IX, having watched a friend struggling to maintain her equilibrium as she herself dealt with a round of false accusations a few years back.)
And the stories are striking. A woman is falsely accused of sleeping with students by a bitter colleague, a woman terrorised by a vengeful ex. Each is trapped, being asked to prove innocence despite information being withheld, and despite punishment being doled out arbitrarily. Viren is careful in her framing of these stories, giving dignity to people who have been through hell and have not been able to talk about it for a very long time, while also maintaining the overall focus on the failures of the system itself. It’s a tough listen, but rewarding.
Was einem sofort auffällt, wenn man diesen Artikel mit Artikeln über Männer, die sexueller Vergehen beschuldigt worden sind, vergleicht, ist, dass hier die Frauen anscheinend eindeutig unschuldig sind.
Es sind hier auf einmal definitiv Anschuldigungen, es sind Motive vorhanden, es ist keine Rede davon, dass man erst einmal den Anschuldigungen glauben muss und das jegliches Leugnen falsch ist und dem Patriarchat zuarbeitet etc.