I could say I’m shocked at all the “me too” statuses I’ve seen on social media, but I’m not.
Sexual harassment and assault happens in so many different ways for so many women (and some men, too). I honestly think we’ve all experienced it or seen it in some form or another.
I experienced while waiting tables and an older customer find it okay to comment on my cleavage.
I experienced it in high school when I was alone with a boy I liked, and we were kissing. He wanted to go further. I didn’t. I said as much, multiple times. Then he forced my hand down his pants. I didn’t even know how wrong that was at the time. I thought it was just a guy being persistent. How do I not know how NOT OK that was?
I experienced it again when a married co-worker constantly made me uncomfortable day after day. It started with standing too close, and awkward eyes. Then it progressed to weird IM messages and finally he felt it was okay to put his hands on me and whisper in my ear as he did it.
I ignored it until that point, and then when he touched me I finally reported it officially. Up until that point a lot of people I confided in told me to avoid him, or that he probably didn’t intend it in “that way.”
Then I did report it, and nothing happened. I honestly don’t even know if he was talked to, because he continued to speak to me, and make me feel uncomfortable.
I learned my current boss was his former at a different company. He reached out to her recently to ask if there were any openings. That was a fun conversation to have when my boss asked if I knew him when she saw my former employer on his resume. Luckily, she took what I said more seriously and I never heard another word about him in the hiring process.
The screwiest part of all of it, is I consider myself lucky in my experiences. I know how bad it can get, I know what happens to other people and I feel like in my 25 years I’ve gotten by mostly unscathed. Something has got to give.