Let’s face it, as women, sometimes life sucks, and people, mainly men in positions of power and fame can have a lot of control over our lives. In the link above, numerous women were afraid to come forward for fear of losing their jobs. How many countless women have been put in this position before?? Millions, I imagine. I know I have been put in the position of being manipulated by a man of power. In fact, I went to a music school where the clarinet professor harassed me weekly, sometimes daily. He would constantly plead for me to attend his studio party at his hotel room. I would never attend, and then he would chastise me and ask my why I didn’t like him. He would make me stand sometimes in my lessons and he would stand behind me and then tell me he liked that view better. He would stand so close to me and sit so close to me that he was practically on top of me. He said he liked to be close to me since I was so pretty and had a cute accent. When I went to the dean of the school, the dean clammed up, and said that I better not say anything. When I pressed him, he made excuses for my teacher’s behavior, said that my teacher learned that behavior from his teacher, and that men just can’t help it and that I better get used to it. WTF? I was young, naïve, and didn’t push it too far, but I was mad at the world. Why is this behavior acceptable? Why is this Dean of a Music School making excuses for inexcusable behavior. Why did he believe that it was my responsibility to deal with inappropriate behavior? It wasn’t. It is high time that women don’t have to keep inappropriate behavior to themselves.
My high school music director used to write me love letters, pulled me out of classes to make me sit with him, and tried to kiss me and feel me up at a competition. I was terrified. I was told if I revealed his behavior that he would ruin my college acceptances and that no one would write me recommendation letters. Sounds silly to believe. However, I was shy, didn’t’ have a good or present relationship with my father, and didn’t want to worry my Mom, who worked 50+hours a week to keep us afloat.
Anytime anyone recognizes a human being preying on another, it should never be kept silent. Ever. There are many more countless times where men have harassed me, been inappropriate, and have assaulted me. My goal is to work towards not keeping silent anymore, learning to see that there are good men out there, and to not let my frustration and anger take over my life. I won’t be made to feel less than by another’s actions. There is light at the end of the tunnel, with lots of counseling, good friends and family present, introspection, and sharing. Speak up. You matter. You are valuable.
A website that might help you is http://www.rainn.org. I was made aware of this website and its programs when I was in the hospital after an assault. People are here to help. You are not a complainer, you are not a problem, you are not loud, you are a human being who deserves respect, boundaries, and appropriate conduct. YOU MATTER.