8.04.2011

This Isn't a Happy Story

I feel the need to tell you a story; a story from one of the strangest periods in my life. I don’t know why I am telling you this, but I am.

I also don’t know if many men {or boys, in this case} read my blog, but this is for you too.

Harassment isn’t funny. It’s real. It’s painful. And it’s uncomfortable.

At the beginning of last year, I worked as an office clerk. The economy was {and still is} pretty rough, so finding a job at all was a blessing. The other office clerk was a guy about my age. Everyone in the office loved him, and he knew thought he was pretty funny.

We spent almost eight hours a day together, talking while making copies and sorting the mail. It wasn’t glamorous at all, and I hated it. He had a lot of friends in the office, so I often went out to lunch and Happy Hour with them. He didn’t have a car though, and one day, I offered to drive him home after we got drinks after work for someone’s birthday.

That’s when he told me he loved me.

I didn’t know how to react. I felt strange, especially since Robert was waiting for me at home. Robert and I have a very trusting relationship, so I knew that driving a co-worker home wasn’t going to be that big of a deal. But it turned out to be a terrible idea.

He never tried anything with me. I tried to forget about it over the weekend, but I was dreading going back to work on Monday. When I did, everything was different. I noticed the way he looked at me. The clothes that I once wore now felt too tight, too revealing. He made inappropriate comments that made me want to quit right then and there. I hated going into work every day, and not just because I was the office slave.

I was being harassed.

I probably could have said something to management, but I didn’t. I didn’t want people to think that I ratted him out, especially since he was so popular. Part of me wishes I could go back. I don’t want him treating any other girl or woman like this. He doesn’t have the right to make the workplace uncomfortable for anyone.

I don’t know if he reads this, but if you do, know that I did not like what you did to me. I hated it.

So, boys, if you think it’s all right to make inappropriate comments to a girl, just because you think she would be “cool” with it…

Don’t.

You are not funny. You are not cute. You are not witty or charming or romantic. You are a predator, someone that I will not choose to be around anymore. I will not go through that again.

And neither should anybody else.

5 comments:

Rebecca said...

Hear hear! Some guys think it's ok to make comments and/or leer at women whome they find attractive. Some get kicks from the thought of women doing the same to them and so think their victim will get the same kind of enjoyment and you have to pity such guys for their lack of social skills. Others just don't think at all and you have to just pity them. Never put up with this!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

it's always good to trust your instinct and it sounds like this dude was no good! glad you were brave enough to share your story with us!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your suffering. I went through something very similar. Perhaps even worse? I was on the brink of going to the office manager when I discussed the matter with my friend, who asked me if I had talked to him about how uncomfortable I felt about it. I never had. The next day, I told him how it made me feel...and he was so mortified.

Our culture creates a society in which the ultimate definition of femininity is a sexual object and the peak of manliness is a charming, persistent, aggressive "bad boy". Until that moment, I had never felt bad for "the scumbag" before...but then I realized that I had been the first to tell him that his behavior wasn't acceptable. He apologized profusely, and since then we have remained friends.

Good for you for sharing this story and encouraging women to stand up for themselves. The sexism in this country is appalling, and it takes constant vigilance on the part of both genders to rectify what thousands of years have established.

Holly said...

I'll say it again..you are incredibly inspiring! I know it must have taken a lot of courage to write this post. Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of people get harassed in the workplace, even if it's not always spoken, and nothing is done about it. You are such a strong woman to go through that! It makes me wonder if he ever did that to any of the other girls and they just played along with it, which is why he was so popular. Or if anyone quit because of it. Hmm.

Thank you again for sharing this story and all your other thoughts and posts!!

Mrs. T said...

Well said! I had a similar situation with some people in the workplace... very awful and uncomfortable! I told my boss, and the harrassment continued, but not in the work place. He would call my phone and leave me evil messages, and send me threatening texts. It was creepy. I eventually called him and told him I had talked to the police (and I had), he never talk to me again. Phew!