The inaugural blog! Why not tackle a hot button issue like sexual harassment and assault to kick things off.
For as long as humans have been on Earth, there have been assholes, scumballs and dirtbags that live among us. And they’ve only gotten better at blending into society.
It’s the guy in the tailored suit who claims to be a “feminist” but, also, won’t think twice about cornering the pretty girl at work to pressure her into going out with him. “Come on, just one drink,” even after she’s told him no. She’ll try to avoid running into him. But he’ll hang out by her desk or pester her as she tries to heat her lunch in the kitchen. And eventually, because of him, being at work will become unbearable. Will she speak up? Probably not. It’s not physical harassment so people will just think she’s overreacting. Will she firmly tell him to FUCK OFF? Also, probably not. Instead, she’ll look for a new job even though she really loves the company she’s at. No one will really know why she’s leaving. She’ll tell people it’s for a “new opportunity” and then the cycle will begin again at her new job.
On the surface, it seems like a fairly innocuous situation, most people will say “oh he was just flirting with her” and quickly dismiss it. They might even think she should be flattered or learn to toughen up. And that is the problem. We think it has to get to rape before it’s allow to become a real issue to address. Imagine if she just told the guy firmly that any more unwanted attention would result in a disciplinary action. Imagine if she finally just told him to fuck off. Imagine if she stood up for herself and fought back. She would still be in a job she loved instead of compromising her own future and happiness to avoid harassment.
We cannot change the assholes, scumballs and dirtbags in this world. It is naïve to think by bringing awareness, they’ll just stop being assholes. What we can change is how we respond to them. We can no longer allow them to commit their offenses and then just blend back into the background. We need to be vocal, we need to be loud, we need to fight back. #metoo does nothing.
If a man if making you uncomfortable with unwanted advances, make a spectacle while rebuffing him. Draw attention to it, embarrass him, let the spotlight be on HIS actions. If a man is getting physical, PUNCH HIM. FIGHT. BACK. No man is immune to a throat jab or a swift kick to the dick. He invaded your personal space, invade his. Don’t submit to the idea that woman are weak.
Women often worry about the repercussions of fighting back at work. We worry how we will be perceived. We don’t want to become that woman. Many women do go through the “proper channels“ (HR) to wait for someone else to advocate for them. No one is going to advocate for you but yourself. You are the only person with your best interest in mind. Don’t wait to speak up. Don’t wait for someone else to slap the offender’s wrist with a warning. I dare companies that start firing women for fighting back to see what happens. There will be a revolt.
It’s easy to sit behind a computer and give advice on how we should start to combat this systemic epidemic of sexual assault and harassment. But if I’m honest, I’ve been part of the problem. I’ve brushed harassment off. I let physical assault go unpunished. I was cornered in a elevator while a CEO tried to put my hand on his dick. I got the fuck out of there but I also didn’t say anything. I was embarrassed. Now that I type it, it seems so stupid. Why would I be embarrassed of his disgusting actions? That’s just one example. I have many.
I was scared that if I said anything that I would become the liability. My career would be damaged and I would lose all credibility that I worked so hard to achieve. My lack of action meant that those sleezebags could continue to do what they wanted, when they wanted, with no repercussions. And for that I feel ashamed. I let down not only myself but the women who came after me. I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way: No job is worth compromising your personal sovereignty and dignity.
I dare a man to try and put my hand on his dick now. I’ll rip it off and show it to the world. And I don’t care if you’re a CEO of a Fortune500 company or tech support. I won’t be held responsible for anyone else’s actions.
Women, we aren’t fragile beings that need to be handled with kid gloves. Don’t wait for someone else to protect you, to speak up for you, to advocate for you. We can fight, we can advocate, we can speak up. In today’s world, men can abuse their power because there are few repercussions. Imagine a world where as soon as a man stepped over the line, he would face immediate consequences. That world is when we’ll see the gap between men and women start to close. That world can be now.
I once had a male manager tell me that I should wear less black because my look was too intimidating. My only response: Good, let them be intimidated.