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#metoo Reality Check
I have been sexually harassed twice at work.
The first time was at a French company when my French boss invited me to dinner while we were on an out of town trip. He was young and attractive and I was flattered by attention from a supervisor. He usually ignored me, but, all of a sudden, he seemed to notice my existence. There seemed to be some nonverbal communication that was suggestive and maybe some that was less nonverbal but I, as a rule, refused to read into stuff like thus, unless it was explicit, because I didn't want to be wrong. He seemed suddenly flirtatious but there was absolutely no suggestion of quid pro quo. I forgot about this, but, coincidentally, just a few days later "Paco," the manager, announced his engagement. I didn't even know he was dating anyone. I dont believe I ever sent him an individual congratulations. Within a month, I was fired by Paco. Six months later, I made a connection between the termination and the dinner. Paco completely ignored me and was kind of mean after this dinner and up until the termination. I think turning him down sealed the deal on my termination. But, to be perfectly honest, I kind of sucked at this job.
The second time I was sexually harassed, it was after I was already terminated. My boss, the manager of an oil lube, invited me to ride to McDonald's with him so that he could buy me an ice cream cone. He was pretty explicit about the ice cream cone being suggestive. I agreed. He was funny, I enjoyed spending time with him, and I wanted ice cream. If I was older or had a boyfriend at the time, I probably would have reacted differently. He said, "i am sorry, but we just couldnt handle you working here" to explain my termination.
In both of those cases I thought about filing lawsuits but decided against it. I wasn't mad.
That is, of course, not to say that i dont think lawsuits shouldnt be filed in other cases. And this isn't even the first time my employers made me feel uncomfortable. And I will also agree that sexual harassment shouldn't influence hiring or firing decisions, and that, even at an oil lube, we should expect better.
But if the dog lives within a high fense, when he barks at you, you are not surprised. The environments I worked in made these situations not unexpected. After all the French company was sleazy. and the oil lube employees worked under very low expectations. Which is why I wasn't mad.
I am not victim blaming, I am just asking, are we really surprised that Hollywood has a casting couch culture? Are we surprised that Fox News practices and preaches mysogeny?
Sexual harassment thrives in a certain kind of climate. The stories we hear should interest us because they prove that Hollywood is that climate. It's not an indictment of just a single actor or producer; it's an indictment of our movie culture. Our society's world of hopes and dreams is rotten. Was I shocked to have been sexually harassed at an oil lube? Would I have been if I was when I auditioned for a part in a Hollywood movie? Nope.