I often write posts and then sit on them for a few days to make sure that I feel good about what I’ve written. Since I wrote this last week, a major win has happened for the #metoo movement and arguably our entire nation. This morning, I woke to the news that Roy Moore lost in Alabama and I am ECSTATIC! It’s mind boggling that the race was so close but the black men and women of Alabama let their voices be heard. New flash * The era of slavery was not a better time in our history.* Below I am sharing one of my sexual harassment stories. Warning: Strong language and truth bombs below.
One of the stories that stands out strongest in my memories is from my time in the food and beverage industry. After college I worked in F&B (as those in the industry call it) for about 5 years. I loved my job and made what have proved to be some really amazing friends.
One day, I walked around the corner headed to the kitchen. One of the owners was standing there, with his back to me saying, “Where’s LJ (my nickname), changing her fucking tampon or something?”
I was taken aback. I can’t remember my exact response but I think that I said something a long the lines of, “I was in the bathroom, that’s allowed, right?”
But there were so many things that I wanted to say. . .
“Maybe I was, what’s wrong with that?”
“None of your fucking business, asshole.”
“You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for women ‘changing their fucking tampons,’ douchebag.”
I was angry but I wrote it off as something that guys say sometimes. No big deal.
But I knew it was wrong. And it is a big deal.
To be treated as less, to be objectified based on gender is wrong. Period.
I am angry for all of us who have been abused and taken advantage of mentally, emotionally and physically for no reason other than our gender. I bet that 99% of us have experienced harassment in some form or another. That’s half of the world folks.
It’s the women who are cat called and whistled at, who have to work harder to achieve the same thing as their male counterparts, who have to shrink to be accepted. It’s in the clear and subtle words that are meant to assert power over us. It’s “locker room talk.” It’s in the voices of those we respect. It’s in the open and it’s whispered behind closed doors. It’s the deep and systemic thoughts in our heads and feelings in our hearts. It’s a lot to change. It needs to happen.
Many of us are angry right now and that anger can be a great tool for change.
Yesterday I learned that TIME magazine voted the “silence breakers” as their person of the year. I felt hope and pride in our nation.
Then our president and the RNC backed Roy Moore and I wondered if anything will change. Whether you are a republican or democrat, compromising integrity for agenda will not produce positive results. What does one govern with if not integrity? Or maybe they truly see women as less and therefore do not believe they are compromising their integrity. I’m not sure which is scarier.
Two steps forward, one step back.
I’ve had a hard time finding the words to express the emotions that this type of oppression stirs up in me. The #metoo movement is helping me find that voice. And I hope it’s doing the same for all of the other women (and men who stand with us) so that we can truly be heard.
This change has been centuries in the making and will take time to see real results. Hang in there. If you have been impacted by sexual harassment, no matter your gender, now is your time to stand up, share your story and help to affect change.
If you have a story you’d like to share, I’d be proud to publish it, anonymously or not.