Teach scientists not to rape

I found this New York Times article by a female scientist to be amusing on several levels:

My story is not unique. In July, Kathryn B. H. Clancy and her co-authors Robin G. Nelson, Julienne N. Rutherford and Katie Hinde published a survey of 666 field-based scientists in the journal PLoS One and reported that 26 percent of the female scientists surveyed had been sexually assaulted during fieldwork. Most of these women encountered this abuse very early in their careers, as trainees. The travel inherent to scientific fieldwork increases vulnerability as one struggles to work within unfamiliar and unpredictable conditions, but male respondents reported significantly less assault (6 percent).

I know several women with stories like mine, but more often it is the men of one’s own field team, one’s co-workers, who violate their female colleagues. The women surveyed by Dr. Clancy’s team stated that their “perpetrators were predominantly senior to them professionally within the research team.”

The first level is the way in which the actual behavior of scientists contrasts with the way laymen are supposed to trust them. Remember, we are supposed to believe that these scientists are individuals who will only report the true and proper results of the scientific process without any bias or dishonesty or corruption because they are trained to do so. So, what can we conclude from the fact that they can’t go out into the field without raping their female colleagues? It would appear that they are not being taught not to rape, would it not?

Second, notice the way the woman blithely skips over the fact that the whole reason these “trainees” are brought along into the field in the first place is as science totty. Women in science, particularly attractive women in science, are handed every possible opportunity by their male superiors chiefly because those superiors are looking forward to the possibilities created by spending large quantities of time with them in exotic locations. It’s not an accident that this attractive woman, pictured to the right, “landed a position as a professor before I even started to write my dissertation.” She probably genuinely believes that her rapid advancement was solely because she was so “promising” and talented. This complete lack of self-awareness is perhaps understandable in a large-breasted weather girl, but it is both funny and sad that an otherwise accomplished scientist could be so inobservant.

Third, it would be very informative to know how many of the 74 percent of the female scientists surveyed voluntarily had sex with men “predominantly senior to them professionally within the research team.” Based on what I know of female science majors, I would estimate at least three-quarters of them, and 100 percent of the attractive ones, did.

Of course, the push to encourage women in science is only going to cause more such sexual assaults to take place, which is one more reason why it is a bad idea. Science doesn’t need more women, especially if more women in the field are going to help transform otherwise good male scientists into rapists and sex criminals.