Give a Voice to Harassment Victims: A legal fund for sexual harassment victim Karen Stollznow

Those of you who are regular followers/lurkers of the atheoskeptosphere probably know about this fundraiser for Karen Stollznow’s legal costs by now, but I’m signal-boosting it for the record, because I can’t stand litigious gits who attempt to use the courts to silence those with legitimate complaints against them but who lack sufficient financial standing to defend themselves in court (scroll down for Stollznow’s summary of the history of this lawsuit below for those who aren’t already familiar with it).

It’s hugely encouraging to see that this fundraiser has almost reached the target within just a a few hours of going live, and also rather gratifying to compare this rapid outpouring of financial support to how long it took the harassment-hyperskeptics to raise less than a third of this amount in a month of fundraising for one of their Big Names last year. Let’s hope that the office bearers of various skeptic/atheist orgs are looking at how quickly the community stepped up for Karen Stollznow and doing the maths on how many potential attendees and donors their stance of protecting the Big Names at the expense of regular staff/members is costing them.

The $30K target will probably be reached within hours, but I want to emphasise that Stollznow’s final legal costs will probably be much higher, this sum is simply the minimum required to receive adequate legal representation to defend against Radford’s defamation suit, and any excess funds will go to Colorado’s Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center, so I encourage continued donations above the target amount if you can afford to do so. name is Karen Stollznow. I am an author and researcher with a PhD in Linguistics. In recent months, I wrote an article for a Scientific American Mind blog in which I spoke out about sexual harassment I’d endured from a male colleague for several years. I did this to highlight the wide problem of sexual harassment in the workplace for women, including those in scientific and academic fields. Many people who read the article immediately identified my harasser by name, and spoke publicly about my situation on their own blogs and other social media. They knew who my harasser was because he had recently been disciplined by his employer for his behavior.

As a result, my harasser filed a defamation suit against me, trying to bully me into silence. Although he’s spent thousands of dollars on a lawyer to clear his name, he knew that I could not afford the same. In my attempts to settle out of court he has tried to bully me into signing a retraction, which claimed that I had lied about the whole ordeal, including his ongoing harassment of me, and assaults at one of our professional conferences. Although I didn’t sign the retraction, he posted the document on his very public Facebook page and announced victory over me. This also lead to false public edits being made to my Wikipedia page.

I never lied about the harassment I endured and I have evidence and witnesses to attest to my experiences. The only crime I have committed is not being rich enough to defend myself. If you believe in justice and in protecting victims who are bullied into silence, please dig deep and help support this legal fund. I must raise $30,000 in the next two weeks in order to find legal counsel to fight these allegations and clear my own name. If my harasser succeeds in bullying me into silence, it will only serve to embolden harassers, and teach victims that they should never speak up, lest it ruin their lives.

Any money raised through this campaign that is not spent on these legal expenses will be donated to Colorado’s Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center.

Thank you for listening to my story, and please give as you can. To contact me about this fundraising campaign, email

h/t Pteryxx (more coverage on Pharyngula, Skepchick)

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, law & order, skepticism, social justice

Tags: , , , ,

8 replies

  1. Not to forget Karen’s Australian connections, having been born in Sydney and gotten her doctorate at UNE, before moving to the US and becoming a big wheel in sceptic community.

  2. Yup. I saw the signal boost on Pharyngula and donated there. It was $33k then, and has gone up a couple of thousand in the two or so hours since then.

  3. I hope some judge somewhere kicks Ben Radford to the curb. This whole process must be so awful and stressful for Karen.

  4. Jesus F. Christ.
    Radford violates Stollznow’s privacy by releasing his accumulated ‘dirt file’ to the web. What the fuck.

  5. How can there be people still defending him? *rhetorical question*

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