This job was a good and a hard experience. I’ve been wondering why I put up with sexual harrassment. First it was a whistle in the hall. Then it was winking. Then he paced outside my office a couple times trying to get eye contact-which I refused to give him. Then the last time in the coffee room, I was standing next to the coffee maker and he wanted next to the creamer and he (I guess) shimmied me out of the way. But it was a full body side contact that was excruciatingly uncomfortable.
I confronted him a million times in my head, actually I did every morning on my drive to work. I thought about how I would say it. I didn’t feel like I could go to my boss without confronting him first, because I’m a “big girl” and I should be able to fight my own fights.
The other problem was logistical. We rarely ran into each other. So, I would be ready, and then ready, and then ready and then finally relax and then he would be there. Since it was both of our jobs to be out of the office pretty much, we rarely crossed paths so when we did it was an issue. You just couldn’t time it.
I was retisent to confront because at every corporate job I have ever had, I have dealt with sexual harrassment. And since I am obviously the common denominator, I wanted to know if there was something in me that attracted this. But, should I start lopping off parts of my personality?
Last night, I was thinking about it and there were like 40 guys there and three women. The guys had this great comaraderie. I didn’t want to spoil it. I knew that if I told that it would be a big deal, there would be paperwork and drama. And I didn’t want to be the new girl who changes the culture. The feminist in me was having a rally and trying to burn my own bra in protest, it was itchy.
I thought about all the women empowerment speeches I’ve given and I felt really ashamed. I sure feel powerful when I have a microphone, where is my voice without one?
I realized how much I had emotionally invested in keeping the peace amomg the men-folk, at my own risk. I realized how much punishment I still take (self imposed) to keep peace, even when there shouldn’t be peace.
There shouldn’t have been peace. I didn’t need to get bothered at work because I’m female and then not talk about it and be nervous and hypervigilant about it because I’m me.
Next time, and I’m sure there will be a next time. I’ll just try to tell the truth. But the truth makes me wanna hurl, I’d rather just take the cathartic beating and get the confrontation over with.