I want to say thank you to Cameron Russell for publicly creating a safe outlet where women and men can come forward with their experiences of abuse. Thank you. I am a musician, and the same horrific misogyny, looking the other way, making excuses for inappropriate behavior, and abuse occurs just as rampantly. Sadly, this abuse not only takes place in the workplace, but in our education system, and sometimes our families.
I really like Cameron’s tag, #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse. When I was 19, I worked as a temp in the summer at a huge realty company in Dallas. I was the receptionist. The owner would pace back and forth the lobby and ogle me. He repeatedly asked me to drinks with him after work. I started to dress as conservatively as possible, because I wanted him to leave me alone. I’d wear no makeup, baggy clothes, turtlenecks, and barely brush my hair. My oversized clothing didn’t stop his creepiness. One day, he came up from behind me at my desk, and put his arms around my chest, and told me that he’d love to see what’s underneath all my clothes and to feel my body next to his. I was horrified. My 19 year old brain thought, “what did I do wrong, what did I do to deserve this? I am dressing like a hobo….”. My brain, now, of course says that I did absolutely nothing wrong! I did nothing. Even if I had dressed in form fitting clothes, done my hair and makeup, I wouldn’t have deserved his unwanted advances and groping. Years of counseling has helped me to see the truth. We need to teach young girls that it is never ok for men to behave this way–no matter what you are wearing. It’s absurd. After that encounter, I quit. The agency asked me questions, and I said I didn’t feel comfortable with the owner. I was not assured or confident enough at the time to explain in more depth, nor did I work for the agency again. I felt ashamed. The owner should have been the one to feel ashamed, not I.
We, as humans, should always create a space of safety and security for those around us. Boundaries, respect, and decency, should be created, enforced, and taught. Why are so many, especially men, lacking boundaries, respect, decency, self awareness and self control? We have a lack of human decency epidemic. Look who the United States voted as its president?? A man who lacks boundaries, respect, decency, self awareness, and self control. It makes me very sad and depressed. There are many wonderful people in this world. However, we need to start demanding that human decency is always present, reinforced, and taught. This shouldn’t have to be said out loud, but it needs to be said very loudly and clearly.