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A part of me hasn’t wanted to share this story because, well, it’s hard revisiting some of these things, ya know? Because once I opened the floodgates in my memory, the memories came pouring back in. And there are plenty of #MeToo memories.
But in light of some of the recent allegations of men in positions of power, I decided to finally share the one story that feels most similar....in light of some of the recent allegations of men in positions of power, I decided to finally share the one story that feels most similar. #MeToo Click To Tweet
In 2005, while I was still an undergrad, I started a sales job at a large cable company in Syracuse, New York. I loved my job, I loved the people I was working with, and I loved being part of a team. Oh — the excellent money and full benefits were a huge perk! I was leaps and bounds ahead of the job game with a ‘real job’ before graduation!
At the time I lived in a small 1.5 bedroom apartment by myself. Well, my puppy, Oscar, lived with me, too. I would wake up at 4am, go to the gym for two hours, head home before going to class, and go straight from class to my job until 10pm. I had weekends free and, since I was in my early 20s at the time, would head out with friends after work to the local pub on occasion. Basically, I was living the 20-something dream.
Since I was a non-traditional undergrad, many of my friends came from work instead of school. It was no big deal, but most of my friends were also about 5-10 years older than me.
Well one night I had a couple of friends over for wine and laughs — one school friend (female) and one work friend (male). Eventually my girlfriend had to leave to go see her boyfriend. Again, no big deal. Well minutes later, while hanging with my male friend, I had a knock on my door.
It was a male supervisor from the sales department.
He was not invited.
He looked up my address in our work billing system.
He drove to my house.
My (male) work friend and I were… shocked. I didn’t know what to do. The supervisor asked if he could come in and just hang out while he was waiting for his friends to meet up. Again, intimidated, I didn’t know what to do. So I let him in.
The supervisor asked if he could use my laptop real quick to look something up about where he was meeting his friend. I said sure.
He didn’t look up his meeting spot. He looked up porn instead.
At this point I pretended to be really exhausted and nodded to my male friend like “Dude, please get him to leave.” So my male friend suggested to the supervisor that they both leave so I could get some sleep. They both left. My male friend waited with his car running so that he could come back in and check on me, but the supervisor just waited in his car with it running, too.
My friend drove off in hopes that the supervisor would follow.
He walked back up the stairs and let himself in my apartment (which I hadn’t had a chance to lock yet, as I was ‘playing asleep.’).
He came into my bedroom.
He whispered in my ear.
I pretended to still be asleep.
And I’m lucky that he thought I was asleep and decided to leave.And I'm lucky that he thought I was asleep and decided to leave. #MeToo Click To Tweet
I’m one of the lucky ones.
But I was shaken. Visibly shaken. I called my friends and told them what happened and they were baffled.
One of them gossiped about it at work and told my coworker, Tracey. Tracey went to HR for me. I am so grateful for this gossip, because I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do so myself.
HR took swift action. They questioned me. So did the VP of the department. They made me feel safe.
But the rest of my coworkers lashed out at me. They didn’t understand why I would “try to get him in trouble.” All they saw was that *I* was doing this to *him*.
In the end, he was fired. He had to face his wife and make up some lie about how he got fired for throwing a beach ball at someone and they complained (no joke — this was his story for his [eventual] ex-wife).
But the backlash continued for me for a while. It made going into work — a place I considered to be fun and safe — a nightmare. The taunting, the verbal harassment, and the workplace discomfort was awful. I eventually transferred.
All of this is to say that my #MeToo story had a semi-happy ending with a not-as-traumatic beginning. Things could have gone way worse. But it’s still sickening that these stories are all too common. Heck, it’s likely happened to someone you know and gone unreported. Or maybe to you?
We need to continue to speak up. Certainly not all men are guilty of these crimes; but almost all women are the recipients of them. Because offenders are often repeat offenders. They use power and position to keep us quiet.
But I urge you to speak up. Speak up and speak out. Be loud. Tell your story. Heck, tell your stories — as uncomfortable as they may be. The only way to stop this is to bring attention to it as it’s happening.
Because I don’t want the next generation to be able to say #MeToo.Because I don't want the next generation to be able to say #MeToo. Click To Tweet
Thank you for listening. xo ♥ ♥ ♥