#MenToo and the Zuleikha project

Amidst the #metoo moral panic, you can count on PTT to provide a contrarian voice. This time, however, we’d like to try our hand at some real-life activism. The precise details will emerge in future posts, but for now we’re recruiting our multitudes of loyal readers for assistance. The #mentoo hashtag (apparently) documents the various instances of men being sexually harassed by women — a perfectly laudable objective (the documentation, not the harassing), but not exactly what we’re after. Zuleikha, according to Jewish tradition, was Potiphar’s wife — the latter most famous for falsely accusing Joseph of rape. In launching the Zuleikha project, PTT is seeking testimonies from men who found themselves in Joseph’s predicament. We are particularly interested in the academic setting: male students and especially faculty members falsely accused by students or other faculty. Anonymous submissions welcome, include as much or as little detail as you like.

Update. Thanks for the Instalanche, Glenn! To send reports anonymously, write to zuleikha.potiphar@gmail.com

6 thoughts on “#MenToo and the Zuleikha project

  1. I was falsely charged with sexual harassment by English teacher Pamela Mitzelfeld, Oakland University, Rochester, MI, in 2011, for the sin of turning in my English assignment. The black woman lawyer Diversity Director at OU instructed my Student Conduct Hearing Committee that because my actions did not comport with OU’s definition of sexual harassment, they could not convict me of same. They followed their own advice, but kept the ubiquitous “Intimidation” charge at hand for such emergencies and used it.


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  2. In the context of a bitter divorce my ex-wife had me arrested on false charges of domestic violence / aggravated assault (the only legal way for her to have me kicked out of the house during the divorce proceedings). It took me 8 months to clear my name. And yes, she accused me of sleeping with our daughter. I sought advice from a number of good attorneys. Every single one told me I had no way to protect myself against her lodging such charges. Which was part of the reason for me to remarry – only to have my new wife accused of being sexual with our 8-year old boy… that destroyed that marriage…

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  3. I served as an officer in our departmental graduate student group. Due to the randomness of life, the previous year only male students participated in an annual symposium for graduate student research in our field. The symposium rotated between the five adjoining state universities that had departments in our field. The year prior, there was more female participation but those students were at the point of thesis and dissertation defense. Attending was not practical. Our faculty advisor was female and pointed out the issue of female participation. She asked those of us who had participated the previous year to encourage female graduate students to participate. We spoke at the beginning or end of all of graduate classes. We set up a table in the hallway near the department office. We spoke to the department faculty to ask them to encourage female graduate students to participate. We sent out emails to the graduate student distro with information and photos of previous years (selected to highlight previous female student participants). We asked previous female graduate students to encourage current female graduate students to participate.

    And when not one female graduate student registered for the symposium, we tried sending out a funny email to the graduate student distro. We received plenty of positive feedback from our fellow students. The email was a fake conspiracy. Supposedly, someone had found the transcripts of our secret meeting. During the meeting, we postulated that maybe we were too ugly and that was scaring the females students away. We were all named and made the butt of the joke.

    I was called into the department head’s office a few days later. He had received a complaint from one of the female faculty members who assumed the transcripts were genuine. I was not told who forwarded the email to her (it was only sent to graduate students). I was removed as the president of the graduate student group (which was voluntary and not compensated) and forced to send out an apology email to all of the graduate students. The apology email had to be reviewed and approved prior to submission.

    Then, the female graduate students came to me in person. They could not understand how anyone could misunderstand the email. They could not understand how anyone felt insulted. They were confused why I had to write an apology.

    I was never told who made the complaint. I was not offered a renewal on my graduate student assistantship which had paid my tuition and fees. They ended the funding of my doctoral program over the misunderstanding of one email without allowing me to address my accuser.

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  4. [Sent in by a reader anonymously:]

    Me: So you really asked (a woman) to sit on your lap? Any witnesses?

    Coworker: Yep

    After a friend at work mentioned that he asked a woman to sit on his lap in the office, I knew the office culture of flirtation had gone too far. I did not believe him when he first told me, but he insisted he said it and told me it was okay because she knew he was kidding. He confirmed saying it the next day in the text message shown above. I also asked this woman about him and got the impression that he did something very inappropriate. I told her I would straighten him out.

    I am a married man and had my own personal concerns with flirtation in the office. Last year a (different) woman invited me to a bar. She was persistent and I had to refuse her twice before she dropped the subject. Since then, she and I have flirted on and off, with her blatant behavior in public making me very uncomfortable at times. Over time the flirtation became distracting to my work and disruptive to my marriage. I began to do things with this woman that I would later consider inappropriate. These behaviors would be acceptable for a suitor or boyfriend, but not for a married man.

    Previously this year I vowed to end the flirtation, but the woman began to ramp things up. After two weeks I sensed that she wanted to begin a relationship with me. At that time I reached out to a different coworker who also happens to be a Baptist Minister in a text message exchange.

    Me: It is easier for me to write this than to talk about it. I have a huge crush on (the woman). I don’t think that is unusual. My problem is that I now sense that she wants a relationship with me. I’d like your support in avoiding doing anything stupid. I think you have dealt with similar matters in your Ministry.

    The Minister: Yes I have, and I truly understand where you’re at, and I cannot emphasize enough how you must absolutely NOT pursue this. There is pleasure in sin for a season, but the consequences are far greater than you can possibly imagine at this point. Please, I implore you, don’t do this. It will destroy you, your reputation, your family, your wife, her family, and many others. Keep yourself accountable to me and let’s talk more.

    After my friend’s lap sitting request, it was time to immediately end things.

    I knew the flirting would not end unless I spoke to the woman about it. She readily agreed to speak with me privately outside the office after work. At that time I said some awkward things to her, first mentioning my friend’s lap sitting request and compared it to the inappropriate way I was acting with her. I invited negative feedback if I continued. She didn’t get it, so I admitted I was attracted to her, but told her I was acting creepy. She persisted in saying I was sweet. I thought she understood I was trying to end things, but that is not clear to me now.

    I was not at work the next day, but was told that I caused a disruption at work in absentia. I was never told what happened that day or who was concerned enough to report me. I was told that the woman thought my behavior was not inappropriate and that she did not report me.

    When I returned to work the following day the woman was cordial with me. After work that day I was told by my employer I was being investigated and to stay home until it was resolved.

    I was later told my assignment was terminated on that last day at work. The investigation was completed and I was discharged before I was asked to provide my side of the story. I was never told how I caused a distraction at work on a day that I was at home.

    My lap sitting friend remains employed.

    Three separate employment attorneys will not even speak with me about this.

    Liked by 1 person

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