“I Will Ruin Him”

The current issue of the Chronicle Review has an absolutely chilling first-person account by a professor who was determinedly and destructively stalked by a student.

Regardless of whether Janice believed a word of these e-mails (and she assured me she didn’t), my impulse was to deny them indignantly. But even as I was forming the words, I felt the futility of doing so. Intrinsic to the very nature of Nasreen’s denunciations and insinuations was, as I began to understand, an iron law whereby the more I denied them, the more substance they would acquire and the more plausible they would begin to seem. Their very wildness was a part of their peculiar power. On the basis of there being no smoke without fire (so I imagined Janice, and then Paula, and then, as things got worse, all sorts of other people, thinking), surely something as shocking as these e-mails must indicate that I was guilty of something.

I actually felt terrible reading it, because if a young woman who didn’t have a stamp saying I AM MAKING THIS UP on her forehead told me that she had been harrassed by her professor, who stole her work and had a history of (non-existent, in reality) inappropriate behavior with his female students, I would believe her, and it would take a lot to convince me she had concocted a tissue of lies. Like this article, really!