In the news, we continue hearing about the #MeToo epidemic. Many actresses and celebrities are finally coming forward about sexual molestation…sexual harassment…rape…and so on. Many are asking why it has taken them so long to come forward. My response – “You’ve never been a victim. Have you?”
If you read the last post I shared, you will know I was a victim too. No. Not from rape. I fought back hard and was able to fight my great-uncle off. While I’m certain other women fought, some were so horrified they could not fight back.
As a woman in a professional hospitality industry, I would like to share another incident I experienced. At the time, I worked in hospitality. On one occasion, I left my office to speak with someone on the floor below my office. I wore a black and white dress. White belt. Bolero jacket and high heels. Because I always wore heels, everyone who knew me, knew the click, click, clicking of my heels. I passed by the elevator. One of the instructors stopped me, telling me how “gorgeous you look today. Really inviting…” Then, he licked his lips and mumbled “Hmm…Hmm! You look edible today.”
At first, I ignored his comments, continuing to walk to my destination. Moments later, since no one was around and I did not have witnesses, I approached him.
He smiled a derogative smile. “You came back,” he said.
“Yes. I came back. Not to encourage you or express interest in what you were saying to me. I. Came. Back, to tell you from this moment on, you will address me with respect. The way you were looking at me, you were undressing me. I will not tolerate that behavior.”
He attempted to interrupt me, but I put my hand up to let him know I wasn’t finished. “From this day forward, you will not speak to me, or with me. You will look the other way, or you will turn away from me. How dare you to lick your lips and make such rude, suggestive comments to me.”
He moved closer. I pushed him back. “And, Mr. _____, IF you ever get the urge to lick your lips around me again, no doubt suggesting unbecoming ideas, I will press charges against you. What you did was disgusting and I will not tolerate it again. If needed, I will go to H-R to file a sexual harassment complaint.”
“Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes.” He said.
This instructor never spoke to me again. A few months later a student filed a complaint against him and he was escorted off of the property. The student left the campus, never to return.
I do not know exactly what happened to the student, but I was thankful the instructor would not be nearby again.
Yes. I should’ve filed a complaint, but at the time, my husband was unemployed and I needed the job. Since sexual harassment is such an open topic now, thanks to #MeToo, and the abundance of women coming forward, I am a bit disappointed in myself for not reporting it. I understand why women are hesitant, just like me.
Sexual harassment is not a new occurrence now. Sexual harassment has been happening for many, many years. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report it. While I haven’t stated where I worked at the time, or who the party was who sexually harassed me, I am coming forward to let others know it does happen. Women are made to feel as if we are the ones who caused this ‘epidemic’ to happen. I say, No. On the day it happened to me, I was left feeling scared and abused. I am proud of myself for approaching this disgusting man and letting him know his comments and actions made me uncomfortable. Obviously, he continued to make those off-colored comments to other women.
Some men never learn!
If you are reading this, and it happens to you, please stand up and speak out. Weeks after my incident I did ask our H-R professional what would happen IF someone filed a complaint against another colleague regarding sexual harassment. I was told, “It’s usually a question of He said…She said…IF there were no witnesses around.”
I wasn’t surprised. Today, I am thankful women are speaking up. It is time for us to stop being victims. Hopefully, #MeToo will give us the courage to share these disgusting incidents.
Let us all stand tall #MeToo!