The Evolution of Sexual Harassment

After reading many articles about sexual harassment, I've come to the conclusion that when I was working full time, I worked in a much simpler time.

In the 70's (yes, way back then) when I was in my early 20's, I worked in a small office.  It was me and the boss.  She owned what was then called a "typing service."  Long before the personal computer, you went to a service to have your resumes, cover letters, and business correspondence done.  We also provided an "answering service"  for small businesses.  Sounds so archaic doesn't it?

My boss also rented an office to another small business.  There were two men who were rarely there.  My boss was on vacation when these two guys happened to be in town.  We struck up a casual conversation and I told them I was leaving for a few weeks to go to California to visit a friend.  One of the men got very excited and said he was going to be there at the same time and we should have dinner together.  I thanked him, but declined, as I was traveling with others and my boyfriend.

He made a sarcastic remark about "the boyfriend" and ended the conversation.  I wasn't sure what to make of it so I let it go.  After that, whenever he was in the office (and my boss was not) he made a point of pushing the fact that we should have dinner together in California.  I didn't know what to do.

I finally told my boss.  Since this man never said anything in front of her, she told me that I should handle it any way I wanted to and she would back me up 100%.  I still wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I agreed with her.

One day, while she was out for lunch, the other man came into my office and sat on my desk.  I looked up, somewhat surprised.  He proceeded to tell me how he and I should get together some time.  He was married and his wife just had a baby.

In that moment, I was so angry.  I couldn't tell you where the words came from, but I looked him dead in the face and said, "Get out."  He looked at me a little stunned and said, "What?"  I said, "You heard me.  Get out of my office.  Now!"  He left without another word.

My heart pounded so hard!  I could not believe what I had actually done and that he actually left!

I told my boss and neither of the men ever bothered me again.  Shortly thereafter they moved out, owing my boss money for rent.

I was shaken for a while, but I got over it quickly.  As I read the many articles about women being harassed, waiting years for court cases to be settled and trying to get on with their lives, I'm grateful that I went through it when I did.

The evolution of sexual harassment seems to be back-pedaling.

 

 

 

Leave a comment