Donna Freitas has lived two lives. In one life, she is a well-published author and respected scholar who has traveled around the country speaking about Title IX, consent, religion, and sex on college campuses. In the other, she is a victim, a woman who suffered and suffers still because she was stalked by her graduate professor for more than two years.
As a doctoral candidate, Freitas loved asking big questions, challenging established theories and sinking her teeth into sacred texts. She felt at home in the library, and safe in the book-lined offices of scholars whom she admired. But during her first year, one particular scholar became obsessed with Freitas' academic enthusiasm. He filled her student mailbox with letters and articles. He lurked on the sidewalk outside her apartment. He called daily and left nagging voicemails. He befriended her mother, and made himself comfortable in her family's home. He wouldn't go away. While his attraction was not overtly sexual, it was undeniably inappropriate, and most importantly--unwanted.
In Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention , Donna Freitas delivers a forensic examination of the years she spent stalked by her professor, and uses her nightmarish experience to examine the ways in which we stigmatize, debate, and attempt to understand consent today.
"In her work as a writer and lecturer, Freitas often explores the world of campus sexual politics, including harassment, assault, and consent, but not her own experience of being stalked. Here, she shares how she's inhabited two different worlds one where she's successful and strong, another where she feels terrified and alone for years, and shows how debilitating and shameful the experience can be for a survivor of stalking. In graduate school, Freitas studied religion and philosophy, and found a challenging mentor in her professor Father L. When his attention turned from encouraging to obsessive, she couldn't believe what was happening. She had believed him, a priest and a man old enough to be her grandfather, to be safe, and continuously doubted both her misgivings and his intentions. Freitas is incredibly honest and doesn't shy away from her feelings that she is in some way at fault. She rounds out her memories with details of her family and friends as well as more studious synthesis, and calls for campus reform, adding heft to an already important story.--Kathy Sexton Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Scholar Freitas (Consent on Campus: A Manifesto) delivers a probing and painful account of being stalked by her graduate school mentor and the professional and emotional consequences it has had in the intervening 20 years. Because her mentor was a priest, an older professor, and an important figure in her field, Freitas couldn't avoid Father L.'s "sustained unwanted attention," even when he called daily, sent stacks of mail to her home and work, and creepily ingratiated himself with her ill mother. She lays bare in vivid scenes and complex reflections the overriding shame, confusion, and fear she felt as a productive professional relationship turned personal, then to persecution. Freitas's narrative illustrates how self-doubt, denial, and self-blame can silence victims-she suffered for over a year before finally asking for help at her university (only to be paid off as a "nuisance" when she filed a formal complaint)-and affect them long-term (she continues to blame herself even in these pages, writing, "I did want the attention from my professor that I got in the beginning.... That was my crime.... I will blame myself forever for these initial, intimate offerings that I brought to him"). Freitas's delicate study of her torment and its devastating effects, which raises thorny, meaningful questions about how to define consent, is an important testament for the #MeToo era. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, DeFiore and Company. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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