And so, it has started.
I’ve seen the rumblings over the past few months, and it isn’t that there hasn’t been a lot of movement, but from about three days ago we have started to have individual men being named and women revealing the same stories about their abusive nature. I don’t know if we will have women named too, perhaps so. But for the majority of the field of archaeology, that is male-dominated, I don’t see that comprising a substantial part of this.
What will we hear? The word that comes to me with the most power right now is exploitation. There is simply no denying that a staff-student inappropriate relationship is exploitative, serving the power of the junior person on a silver plate to the senior. Staff in these sorts of situations deceive and manipulate to a degree only really recently recognised in popular culture. And they do it knowingly.
This can be very different to the kinds of casting couch stories of the film industry. We’re talking about academics; intellectuals. Their desires can be carnal but are also about attention and validation. They suck student after student dry of emotion, often damaging them (and their careers) irreparably. They are clearly damaged men, dissatisfied and unable to function without the known ‘third leg’ for their advertised ‘wobbly’ partnership (most of these men are married or have long term partners).
For archaeology, this is a different story to the other one – the staff/student relationship gig where married men (again, I’m happy to be shown to be wrong here) foster exciting dig relationships that they have no intention of continuing after the couple of weeks in the field. So what to do?