I try to keep it light and fluffy around here, but I am just too fucking angry right now and ranting to Henry just isn’t cutting it anymore. I need to hear my fingertips murdering the keyboard, so HERE GOES.
It was the year 2000. I was a 20-year-old office manager at my first “real job.” I was learning some basic bookkeeping skills, designing weekly flyers, in charge of handling money brought back by the drivers, printing invoices….
….and being sexually harassed almost daily by my boss’s son.
20 years old and I’m starting to believe that this is a normal thing that happens in the office, being propositioned one minute and then forced to babysit the kids in my office when the wife comes to visit. Society tells me that I should just laugh it off, shrug about it, get some thicker skin. It was just words, right? Just some lewd, perverted comments that I could either cry about, fight about, or ignore. I was too proud to cry, too scared of getting fired to fight, so I chose to just ignore. It becomes part of my unwritten job description, just another duty in order to earn a paycheck.
Just words. Just words. Just words.
One day, I was standing at the filing cabinet, organizing invoices (a/k/a doing my fucking job) when he ran into my office, GRABBED MY CROTCH, giggled hysterically, and ran out.
And I did nothing. Because this was a family-run business. There was no HR. I didn’t want my boss to fire me because I needed that job. I stayed there for FOUR YEARS because I was naive and believed that I could handle it, that I was strong enough, look how thick my skin is. For four years, I was “strong enough.”
Until I wasn’t. Until I realized that I was confusing “strength” with “numbness” and “complacency.”
I quit in 2004. A mediation between me and the owner happened a few months later and there was a settlement. No apology, though. Because in the eyes of these men, it wasn’t rape. It was “just touching,” right? Maybe some lewd innuendos and comments here and there. So that makes it “not as bad,” you know? It never went any further than that so it was “excusable.” The worst part is that I was almost convinced that this was true.
But the truth is that outside of that environment, I realized that it didn’t matter how strong I thought I was, what happened was gross and abhorrent, NOT NORMAL, and something that I’ve had to live with every day since. I have four year’s worth of composition books filled with details of what was said and done to me, all these composition books which I will probably never be able to go back and crack open.
It took me THREE YEARS to get a job after that because I was so scared of putting myself in another situation like that. I didn’t realize just how awful all of this was until I started opening up about it later on, to new co-workers who promised me that it was so far from being OK.
When I see Donald Trump, I see my ex-boss’s son. That could be him—the man who bragged that he was going to cheat on his wife with me, the man who casually asked me in front of a roomful of men which female celebrity I’d most like to fuck, the man who grabbed my crotch—running for president. Same crude ideals, same perverted values, same disgusting entitlement. If someone is the type of person to make those kinds of misogynistic comments, then chances are, they’re the type of person to eventually turn those words into actions.
It makes me think, if it was that hard for me to step forward and tell someone what was happening, imagine what it feels like to be a RAPE VICTIM.
I think about that, and I just feel so fucking angry. Trump is such a trigger to so many women, just FUCK OFF already.