In this “compelling and disturbing” true story (Rebecca Traister), a young woman’s toxic mentor develops a dark, stalking obsession that disrupts her career — and her peace of mind.
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.
"Freitas recounts with great thoughtfulness how her perception of the power differential between [herself and her stalker], as well as her faith in the religious and educational institutions she'd grown up with, lulled her into susceptibility and disbelief."
New York Times Book Review
"Donna Freitas combs through the emotional knots that form when a mentor's attention becomes inappropriate and manipulative. With sharp attention, she separates the many strands of consent one by one. A riveting, significant examination of the forces that push a student into silence about unwanted attention."
Idra Noveyaward-winning author of Those Who Knew and Ways to Disappear
"A meticulously recounted memoir of building dread, that pushes our understanding of power and its abuses. Freitas's story complicates and illuminates our ideas about harassment and harm, showing how it doesn't just begin and end within the confines of physical contact: it infiltrates our own heads, is enabled by the very structures that are supposed to be our recourse from it but too often work to cover it up."
Rebecca TraisterNew York Times bestselling author of Good and Mad