Donna Freitas has lived two lives. In one life, she is a 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, a renowned Catholic priest, for more than two years.
As a doctoral candidate in a world-famous theology department, 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 of study, 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 urged her to accompany him to plays, concerts and summer retreats. 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.