Friday, November 17, 2017

A week of Sexual Harassment And I'm Done!

There is sexual harassment and then there is sexual harassment. I am very sick of hearing about it this week. How about you? For some of these women I have true empathy. And for some of them I think it is all bull! What do I think this is doing to our country? I think it is desensitizing all of us to "real" sexual harassment.

I came of age in the 1960's! A time of the 'sexual revolution'. A time when many, many women were finding their voices in the political world. Don't we remember the arrival of Betty Friedman on the scene? And the birth of 'the pill'? I remember hearing about the burning of bras in relation to women's rights. And thinking at the time "it took me too long to finally have a reason to wear a bra that I was surely not going to now burn it." But I always knew I had the right to speak up. Not only for myself but for those who I felt might not be able to speak for themselves.

And I did speak out on many occasions. But I didn't find each and every unwanted or obscene remark made to be something that needed me to speak out about. Sometimes it was only necessary to tell the person to "bug off" or ignore them. That doesn't seem to be something anyone can do anymore. Is it the pull of the limelight which is making so many speak out now. Why wait thirty and sometimes forty years to speak out. That is the part I don't understand. And why continue to allow it by being weak and unable to speak up! No one else is going to watch out for you as well as you can watch out for yourself!!! 

Even as a young girl I had the ability to speak out in defense of myself. I remember working at a restaurant on main street when I wasn't yet 16. The owner was a 'nasty old man.' We learned very early on not to get caught alone in the kitchen with him. We knew what he liked to do or say. One day I was caught in the kitchen. He didn't touch me. But he made inappropriate comments to me. I knew they made me feel uncomfortable. I, also, knew I wasn't going to put up with it. I was 15! I told him what I thought and I took off my apron and threw it on the floor. Then I walked home. My mom called him up and told him what she thought of him. And that was the end of it. We didn't feel the need to file a police report. We didn't feel the need to call the local newspaper. And I wouldn't have done anything about it today except I am sick of women in this world not being able to take a stand against these kinds of men.

I wonder how many more women Harvey Weinstein would have been able to harass, molest, or whatever you call it if one of these women would have sang loud and clear to the world the minute it happened. Anglenia Jolie and Gwenth Paltrow do you feel at all responsible for all the gals he assaulted after you kept quiet?? I am not questioning whether Harvey is guilty. I'm sure he is guilty as hell. What I am questioning is the silence of ALL these women for ALL these years. Come on women! Speak up!! If a man invites you to his hotel room he is probably up to no good. If a man touches you in inappropriate places, scream it to the world. If it means you have to be compliant in order to keep your job then I think you need to be thinking about what kind of job you are wanting. 

I am not writing this to say these things didn't happen. I am sure they did. But quit waiting 30 years to tell about it if you want to be believed! I don't doubt that Roy Moore is probably a dirty old man. But where were these allegations when he ran twice for Governor of Alabama. Where were these women when he was appointed, not once but twice, as a Chief Justice in the Alabama Supreme Court. If a 32 year old man was harassing my 14 year old daughter I would have been screaming about it long before he decided to run for the United States Senate. Wouldn't you?? And I would never vote for Roy Moore for a variety of other reasons! He is a nut job, plain and simple. In my opinion.

Many of you know I am not a Republican nor do I support the current President of the United States. But this is not how we should fight him. Hell, he got elected with allegations of sexual harassment. We even heard his very own voice on a video tape telling Billy Bush what he could and did do to women because of his 'celebrity power.'

Bottom line what I am trying to say is: Stand up for yourself. Don't wait 30+ years to report something that makes you uncomfortable. You will be believed (or Not) by those who want to believe you. But you will look far less unreliable if you speak out NOW.  

41 comments:

  1. Well said. I also have a problem with women making allegations 30 or 40 years later. If you couldn't speak up when it happened, then just shut up now.

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    1. I think there might be cases where there is a reason you wait 30-40 years but some of these women seem suspect!

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  2. "Why wait thirty and sometimes forty years to speak out." My thoughts exactly!

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    1. Exactly! Especially in the case of Roy Moore where this isn't the first time he has run for office.

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  3. It's a shame they had to wait 30-40 years to get their 15 minutes of fame. Or to be paid to remember. I have no doubt some of it might have happened, but.........

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    1. I think most of it happened. Women have been sexually harassed for years. I just don't understand waiting so long to talk about it.

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  4. I was 18 years old in 1961. I had not idea what to think, and back at the dorm was just told in future watch out for Dr. Strip to the Waist Katz.

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  5. What Chuck said! I don't doubt for a moment harassment exists ..... but I think these women's allegations-after-the-fact are doing a real disservice to others. Remember the little boy who cried wolf?

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    1. I think that so many of them all coming out at the same time are just anesthetizing us to a problem we know exists.

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  6. I get what you are saying, but sometimes it really does take years for someone to have the courage to face what happened. My daughter was raped when she was 13 and I never knew until she was already a mother of two and in her late 30's. Her attacker was a family member who intimidated her and made her believe no one would believe her. His death triggered a break down for her and she was finally able to tell us what had happened to her. I suppose the only difference is that my family trauma was not made public on a daily basis. Who knows what may have triggered the latest revelations. I personally think that he should be locked up, he is a disgusting piece of humanity who targeted young women with low self esteem, knowing he could convince them to keep quiet.

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    1. I hear what you are saying too Kathy! I have people in my very own family who were molested by the same family member. One told right away. And the other one waited years. I, too, think he should be locked up if the allegations are proven to be true. I am bothered by how these men are being tried in the media.

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  7. It is wonderful that you have the self confidence to speak up for yourself and stand up for yourself. And people should do that. But not everyone is as strong as you are.

    We're talking about a culture in which women are not believed and if they do speak out, they can count on losing everything. How many women's lives were destroyed when they did speak out? So, that was the example to everyone else. Keep your mouth shut or else.

    I get what you're saying. And to a certain extent, you're right. But you haven't lived the lives of the ones who are coming forward now. All we know is what we're seeing. We don't know the personal hell they all walked through to be able to finally find the courage to speak out.

    I know you said you'd back your 14-year-old daughter to the wall. But what if it's your stepfather and your mother doesn't believe you? What if you told someone and they told you to keep quiet? What if you're a scared little girl (and keep in mind, these men prey on the meek and timid) and the idea of everyone knowing...?

    Anyway that's my take. It's sad. It's sick. But it's time to shine a light on this travesty that's been covered up for way too long.

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    1. Liz, I didn't have that kind of self-confidence when I was 15. I've gotten it as the years go by. Much of it has been because of the things that have happened to me. I think part of the reason women are not believed when they tell is they don't tell immediately. But I hear what you are saying too. I hope that all of this at least starts the dialog necessary to put a stop to this type of behavior. Sadly, I also believe that if we hear about every single day it will soon be just like the mass shootings. We'll stop. Listen. And go on with our lives. My complaint is too much media. And, maybe, for the wrong reasons!

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  8. I think this should be a good conversation for parents to have with their children about if someone is doing something uncomfortable that they son't like to come and tell someone sooner than later. To educate them that it is not okay to put up with such advancements/harassment/etc., that boundaries need to be made and respected or people will be reported. And then we have to believe the person when they come to us with such allegations, no matter who the allegations might be about. And then if they do come forward, we have to get them the help they need through counseling, medical care, involving the authorities, etc.

    betty

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    1. YES! Parents need to talk to their kids and educate them. It is important we, as adults, believe them when we are told something happens. Even if the perpetrator is a beloved family member. And I agree that getting them the proper therapy is important. If they want it!

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  9. I can understand the reticence of a young girl to say something about a very very powerful man, until she gains her own strength. (Like you, I would confront immediately, but I understand not everyone has that.)

    But I agree about the desensitizing part. Especially when, with the #metoo thing, everything from a vulgar comment to rape gets lumped together. In a twitter forum, a girl said she regretted having (consensual) sex the previous night, and someone said that meant she was raped. Really? She made a bad decision and regretted it later, so that means it's someone else's fault? Where has society gone wrong?

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    1. Yes! Red, I agree that lumping it all together is probably really what is pissing me off. This allegation made by Leanne Tweeden against Senator Al Franken, while unacceptable, does not reach the level of young girls being groped or molested by much older men. And it is totally ridiculous to say consensual sex that you regretted the next day is nothing at all like rape! Our society is definitely messed up.

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  10. I think back to how I was at 18 and know I probably couldn't speak up. I was a different person than I am today. I am the child of an alcoholic ... raised during the 1950s ... Speaking up for one's self was not an attitude that was encourage. I believe humans are all emotionally wired differently and respond differently. Only have years of life experiences - and personally taking a number of hard hits - have I developed that attitude.

    My only concern about the current outflow of sharing is that there will be some who are just "joining the bandwagon," and not being entirely truthful. Or maybe taking a shot at someone who they are angry with for some other reason - but I bet there are only about 10% of the women who fit that description. Probably a far greater number are still choosing to remain silent. And those are horrible statistic. Regardless - the numbers are enormous and appalling. The problem is endemic in our world. Strong over weak. It is overdue for that disgraceful curtain to be lifted. Overdue is better than never addressed.

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    1. Many of us couldn't speak up at the age of 18. And some of us could! I am the child of an alcoholic raised in the 50's too. My mom was a pretty strong woman. She taught us not to let men touch us inappropriately. So, even though I was a shy 15 year old I knew the difference between good and bad touch. Unfortunately many girls (and boys) chose to remain silent and I don't think this current media blitz is going to help them much. It is long overdue. But I don't think it is being done now for the correct reasons. That is what is making me doubt it all a bit. I find it a bit disturbing with the Roy Moore issue that no one spoke out until he ran for Senate. He has held many public offices prior to this. It makes it a bit suspicious as a possible political ploy. But, yes, overdue is far better than never addressed.

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  11. You are right. We need to stand up for ourselves. The motives for speaking out some 30 years later can be questioned. There are many types of harassment and no one deserves to be demeaned in sort or fashion.

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  12. I can see where you're coming from Paula but I think for a lot of these women who didn't speak up earlier, the floodgate has opened and given them the courage to speak up. Back when I was between 12 and 14, I used to babysit for my next-door neighbor. Her father had come to live with them and he would stay with the boys until I got there and then he'd take off and go hang with his buddies and play cards. I hated every single day and dreaded the first 10 minutes i was there because I'd walk in and he'd corner me and give me a big hug me and he always tried to touch my boobs. Every single time. And I used the squeeze my arms together and deflect his touch and squirm out of his grasp. I stayed as far away from him as I could and counted the minutes until he would get his shoes on and grab his cigars and finally leave the house. Now I'm a strong girl, always have been and never took no shit off nobody. BUT I guess I just assumed I was handling the situation. Maybe I didn't want to make waves. Maybe I didn't want to cause problems between our families. I never told anyone. And I always told my mom EVERYTHING. But not that. And I don't even really know why. I just came out with it recently, like a year or so ago. And I'm 55 now. I told my Mom and she said "Why didn't you tell me??" And I honestly don't know the answer to that. I know if I would've, my father would've went ballistic on him, my mother would've went ballistic on him, my big brother would've went ballistic on him. I don't know why I didn't say anything. I just dealt with it. And I think it was all of this talk in the national media that brought it out of me. So I can totally understand why so many of these women didn't say anything. They were "dealing with it" in their own way, like I guess I thought I was.

    I just hope that people won't cast aspersions on these women for finally speaking up.

    You're right: they should've spoken up a long time ago. But they didn't. And I didn't. And I'm not a weak person! At all. I just didn't. It would really piss me off if someone all of the sudden was suspect of my situation when I finally did open up about it just because I hadn't done so in all these years. Everyone is different.

    And I can totally see how a young woman, maybe a young single mother who is working her ass off to feed and house her children, would just "deal with it" (say, a boss sexually harassing her) rather than walk off a job and give up that little security that she has. Some people aren't lucky enough to have loving families and support systems to depend on should they lose a job. Look at me: I had all that and still didn't speak up. And to this day I can't even tell you why. I just hope all of these women aren't being harshly judged because they're finally seizing an opportunity (ie: "the Weinstein effect") to voice their experience.

    (1 of 2: the character limit won't let me include my whole comment so I'm breaking it up into 2 comments)

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    1. One of the things I like about blogging is being able to discuss these kinds of issues with like minded people. And people who don't get bent out of shape if your belief is not their belief. I am glad that society is now talking about these kinds of things in an open way. BUT, I am fearful that they will run it into the ground and no one will any longer believe any of these women. I am already starting to feel that way. (As you can see by my comments) I think many of these women have valid reasons for speaking out. And I think there are some (it might be a very small number, but still some) who are looking for their 15 minutes of the limelight! Or are being persuaded by more political reasons. Like possibly the Democrats not wanting a Republican to win. (And I'm a Democrat saying this). It's almost like someone had to seek out a Democrat Senator to balance the sides. And I don't think what she is accusing Franken of even begins to add up. Something from the story seems to be missing. I am sorry you had to go through what you went through as a teen. I remember a few of those same types of situations over the years. I think at that time I thought it was creepy but not necessarily wrong. Do you get what I mean?? We certainly are living in different times.

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    2. Yep, I get what you mean. I'm not saying all these women are telling the truth because hey, there are an awfully lot of evil women out there too so I'm sure a few are just jumping on the bandwagon to, like you say, get their 15 minutes or "get back at someone" ... But I do believe a majority of the women.
      And I see your point about running the issue into the ground. Like the mass shootings: it's suddenly become so, for lack of a better word because I can't think of what I want to say, commonplace that people are getting used to hearing about them. Because nothing is being done about it! Don't get me started on that one!! :)

      Anyway, I'm sure we'll be hearing about the issue and the discussions for sometime to come. Hopefully better times are ahead...

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    3. I think most of them are telling the truth. I'm just not sure why it took so long. And I think it is not helping them to wait! Good times ARE ahead!

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  13. (2 of 2)

    As for Roy Moore, yes it's horrible that people didn't speak up when he was running for office years ago. But look at the culture and the attitudes of so many of the folks in Alabama. Even after these allegations and "facts" have come to light, STILL so many people are saying they'd still vote for him over a Democrat just because they wouldn't want a Democrat to win. Even though he's a predator, he has the one thing that many of those people who said they'd vote for him and support him no matter what: he has the party affiliation; he is in their political party and they're sticking with their party, no matter the facts. THAT I find appalling. THAT rampant attitude can certainly hold people back from speaking up.

    We can't go back. We can't turn the clock back now. We can only move forward. And hopefully this whole media storm of sexual harassment allegations can forge a new climate, one in which every girl and every woman is made to feel secure and powerful enough to speak up if it ever happens to them. We can only hope.

    Now, as far as lumping all the degrees of sexual harassment and sexual assault together, I don't think that's good. There is a big difference between Harvey Weinstein and Roy Moore vs Al Franken. They shouldn't be lumped together.

    I think it will all shake out in the end but this is how it is right now and maybe that's how it has to be right now in order for positive change to start to take effect. I feel confident that it will...And we just have to bear with all of this until it does.

    That's just my two cents...
    Thanks for starting the conversation here Paula.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Ha! Ha! You certainly know how to give a reply Michele. That's what I love about you. I am happy to have a respectful conversation with people about things like this. It is important that we be able to talk about it! I am with you on knowing that in the end we will all know the truth! Whether it is to our liking or not!

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    2. Love ya right back Paula! You rock. Have a great week, my friend. <3

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  14. I do think their are overt threats and implied threats to reporting such crimes that may cause someone to remain silent. I am not a fan of trial by media, however. It makes it really tough to get an impartial jury. Even changing a venue can't help those who are plastered across the news. Or...maybe it can, depending on one's stance on the issue, I guess. The Catholic Church found that out ages ago with their clergy sex abuse cases and all the publicity. Sympathy and tolerance for the perp priests ran as rampant as the anger and blame. Above all, what I do hope comes out of this is that those who could never speak out in public will at least privately seek whatever help and support they need give their lives a better outlook if they have been preyed upon.

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    1. I think you are probably right Gram. Sadly some of these men's reputations (and lives) could be ruined and they just could be innocent. Wouldn't that be just as horrible?? It seems we have just stopped being a country who believes "innocent until proven guilty". Maybe that is what I should have written about in the first place. I am hoping what will come from this, if nothing else, is for women/girls to speak up IMMEDIAZTELY. We need to take the fear out of reporting!!

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  15. I think we have to be really careful to not victim-blame. I'll admit I've been asking the same question ... why now? I'd love to see some good discussion on talk shows and the news about "why now". I had a similar experience to Michele (comment above). The dad I babysat for drove me home on a snowmobile and purposely made it turn over in deep snow so he could be on top of me. He was drunk and I was literally pinned under him while he humped me while fully clothed. I finally got him off of me and demanded he take me home. I never told anyone until recently. We didn't talk about sexual abuse/harassment back in those days. I know today if that happened to me, I'd kick him right square in the balls. It feels good to say that just now.

    I always enjoy the conversation on your posts. You have very thoughtful followers! Susan

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    1. Hey there Susan! Good to see you here! That's horrible about that man who turned the snowmobile over so he could hump you. Sometimes I hate men, I hate to say that, but it's true. To say these men are pigs is an insult to the pigs!
      It's interesting to me that, like me, you never told anyone until just recently. I'm sure there are soooo many of us out there, women and men both, who have been violated in the past and are being violated today. Such a sad commentary on the human condition...

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    2. Michele ... I read your blog posts but for some reason I am unable to comment.

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  16. I think the important thing to know here is that we are all different. I too was able to tell men off, but I worked with a woman who was abused by a superior at UCLA of all places. She was totally unable to deal with him and, after she told me, I went in and spoke to him on her behalf. He was my superior too, but I think he was so surprised that she had told someone and that that someone was not afraid to deal with him. Most men who behave like that are cowards, I think.

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    1. Yes, the fact that we are all different is what makes this world go round. I think there was a culture back then where it was accepted for men to act that way. Times are so different now! We look at what we once called 'flirting' as sexual harassment. I just don't get it!

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  17. Excellent post Paula and I loved all the comments too. I totally agree with you.

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  18. Why now? I don't understand why they waited so long either...it seems they helped their perpetrators succeed and feel more powerful...I think that is the bottom line they wanted power. Those who remained silent are as guilty as the perpetrators themselves...look how many lives were affected. They aided and abetted sex crimes. Sad.

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  19. Hii

    It includes individuals, for the most part ladies, rehashing an announcement that they, as well, have been subjected to lewd behavior or mishandle.

    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Visit To Posh @ Workplace

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