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It’s Not Just the Ass-Grabbing

October 27, 2017

Yeah, #metoo. Sexual harassment is all over the news. Harvey Weinstein broke the floodgates open, then half of Silicon Valley flowed out, along with much of Hollywood and even old Grampy George H.W. Bush.

Meanwhile, women have been saying #metoo. Some women are talking in detail about their experiences. Stalkers, gropers, inappropriate drunks, catcalls, rapes. Other women are quiet, wondering how much to say and what we will contribute – or what we will face – by coming out now.

Less skillful voices are weighing in, too. It’s a “witch hunt,” it’s “McCarthyism,” it’s “getting on the bandwagon” – as if something being horrible and common somehow makes it less horrible.

What’s the big deal, the grabbing, the groping, the staring, the comments, the “Can’t you take a joke?” chortles and sniggers?

I’ll tell you what the deal is. It’s not just the ass-grabbing. It’s the dreams dying. It’s hopes being abandoned. It’s creative projects never reaching fulfillment.

For every woman who has toughed it out and learned to ignore, to look away, to never be alone, to be blank-faced – there are five women who have stepped away.

They have decided that they can come to work, put their game face on, sharpen their talents, be creative, follow their dreams, try hard – but they can’t do all that and simultaneously face a hostile environment that reduces them to being sex toys for grown boys.

So one day after realizing they have gotten drunk every night for a month to try and forget the abuse and harassment they have to deal with each day, they stop showing up to work.

They take a lesser position somewhere else. They stop speaking up. They try to fade into the background. They put their dreams away and focus on just getting through the day. The world needs every woman’s dream and every good idea. We are all poorer for the loss of these dreams.

Meanwhile, their harassers go on, getting praise and promotions and moving up the ladder, all the while crushing dreams as they go. They don’t mind – in fact, they enjoy it – treating people as playthings is part of their reward for doing so well. After all, they’re just having fun.

Did I ever tell you about the guy I reported for exposing himself to a female co-worker? No? I just checked LinkedIn. He’s the boss now. I wonder where our co-worker is.

Here’s the rule: it’s not fun unless everyone is having fun. And if people are walking away with their dreams in dust and tears in their eyes, they’re not having fun.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2017 08:37

    Long painful story short: the supervising attorney who nearly ruined my career before it started is a judge now.

  2. October 28, 2017 08:38

    Appointed by Schwarzenegger, which seems fitting.

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