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#NotMe

Well, yes, of course, my ass has been goosed by strangers on the IRT. (Whose hasn’t?) And I once worked with a guy (now a big-shot lawyer, then neither) who made eye contact only with my chest when we talked. (I countered by staring only at his crotch. This made him uncomfortable. Our conversations became infrequent.) But in all my years of working in mostly male-dominated workplaces with (except for three years) male bosses, I have never been sexually harassed. I have never been groped, pawed or touched anywhere questionable. It has never been suggested that I perform any acts other than the ones I was hired to perform.

As I read about all the women (and girls) out there who have experienced sexual harassment in its various awful and disturbing forms, I’ve had these reactions.

ONE: Jesusfuckingchristohmighty, isn’t life tough enough without going out of your way to be an asshole? Are there really these many men who lack basic decency, civility and respect? Are there really these many men who believe they are entitled to manipulate, belittle, demean, harass and violate women?

TWO: What would their mothers say? Or their sisters? (I’m not including “wives” because I don’t want to imagine that these men, after doing what they do, after saying what they say, actually come home and show their faces to a female human. Or a male human. Or their dog.

THREE: Wow am I ever lucky! I rejoice that I have had the great good fortune to have worked with non-harassers. As if this is “good fortune” rather than what should be normal, everyday life. As if simply not being a victim is a reason to rejoice. Yay! I went out into the world today, and no one masturbated in front of me or pressured me to carry their baby in my womb! Life is sweet.

And, I am so very sorry about this one, FOUR: The full weight of the sexist culture crashes down on me and I actually think, if only for a moment: What, I wasn’t pretty, sexy, alluring enough to attract this repulsive behavior? What’s wrong with me? Unbelievable, right? The flipside of I was raped because my skirt was too short.

So I guess, after all #metoo.

3 comments

1 Theresa { 12.13.17 at 8:03 pm }

Yup. To all of this. Number 4. I’ve been there. High school, college and beyond, I’d see men being jerks to women (not harassment and not assault, just jerks) and I’d wonder why I wasn’t getting any attention. Dumb. Here’s hoping I can teach my son and daughter right.

2 C.C. { 12.22.17 at 7:16 am }

Wow…same. I’m almost 40 years old and I feel that I’ve been super fortunate that nothing bad or scary has ever happened to me because I’m female. It never occurred to me that feeling fortunate about being treated like a decent human being was odd. Also, in addition to the thought that maybe I wasn’t pretty enough to be harassed, I found myself thinking that maybe I carried myself (and dressed) in such a way that dissuaded harassment. It only took me a few moments to realize that this was victim blaming in a much sneakier form. And lazy thinking on my part.

3 Lauren { 12.22.17 at 8:21 pm }

Thanks for this, Sabine. It’s a sad comment on our culture that we have these thoughts in common. Yet it is also (for me) a relief. May we both continue to be OH SO FORTUNATE as to not be victimized.

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