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Women in Astronomy

Uncomfortable conversations and my responsibility within our community

28 Apr 2015, 19:00 UTC
Uncomfortable conversations and my responsibility within our community
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

“I’m about to have an uncomfortable conversation with y’all.  I may turn red and become visibly emotional.  I apologize in advance.”  That statement is how I start almost every single one of my talks on anti-sexual harassment policies.  I know that the topic is hard for many in the room to discuss, that I may trigger an unwanted response, either in the form of a repressed thought or a negative defensive emotion, at any point in that hour.  I know that in order for those in the room with real power to hear about this topic, they need to see first-hand just how this unfortunate issue can negatively impact a person’s work, and their primary objective as a scientist. But I also know that for some people in the room, what they really want is for me to give them a hug and tell them it will be okay.  I know that my words will have a direct influence on the audience and I must act according to the level of respect and understanding every single person in that room deserves.  That’s not easy, and I know up-front that I have put myself into a position of responsibility.As my ...

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