Years ago there used to be a macho statement making the rounds that when a woman said NO she meant Maybe. If she said Maybe it meant Yes. Thus another stage in the area of sexual abuse was born (either that or it had been around since Cain and Abel). This subject matter has taken center stage in the world of news worthy items in the past few weeks. To those who think most women either make up stories about sexual harassment or embellish the ones they already have, the fact that the majority of them are true will come as a shock. Another tidbit in the journal of “What men can get away with” is the one about date rape. To those of us who have gone through this it means that a man takes kissing and hugging, necking or wearing a low cut blouse and a high cut skirt as not only a suggestion that we want to get laid or a mandate that gives permission. They seem to forget the number one rule in how to keep from getting sexually assaulted, it’s my body and I will choose what to do with it.
As the victim of both a rape by my boss (who kept a book titled Win by Intimidation on his desk as a warning to anyone who tried to cross him) and a sexual harassment suit by another boss I have no problem believing that most of these stories we’ve been hearing are true. I lost the sexual harassment suit not because I was lying about what happened but because the Administrator of the company I work for said she knew I was telling the truth but that if she disciplined my boss she would have to discipline half of the men who worked there. What huge sum of money did I want? None. All I wanted was to have my Performance Evaluation done by someone other than my boss. He was angry because I refused to have an affair with him and threatened if I didn’t give in he’d give me a bad Performance Evaluation. I was devastated when he did exactly that. Twice he was so angered at me for not giving in that he came at me with raised fists only to be stopped by co-workers. Why did they not testify on my behalf? My boss made sure that these co-workers were told he was going to have to lay some people off. The witnesses told me privately after I lost my suit that they had families and couldn’t afford to lose their jobs. My employer deliberately dragged the decision out until one year had passed before giving a ruling. I found out later that one year, at that time, was the Statute of Limitations.
There are thousands of stories like mine out there. Most women either feel they must have done something to deserve it (these are usually child sexual abuse victims) or were too afraid to turn them in (ditto). Before I got in to recovery I didn’t know I had any rights considering my body. I didn’t know that it was against the law to rape your wife. I especially didn’t know that if you were a victim of incest your perpetrator could be sent to prison. I didn’t begin recovery until after my father, who was my perpetrator, died but I give kudos to those who turned their perpetrator in whether it was incest or another sexual assault. I’m not sure I would have had that kind of courage.
My youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint while she worked for a fast food place. Her manager had opened the door that said This door is to remain locked at all times so he could go out and start his car so it would be warm before he left. This left it open for the rapist to come in. He forced my daughter in to a back room, raped her and then a the gun to her head saying, “I’m going to blow your F****** brains out.” He changed his mind and took off running never to be caught. Her employer labeled the rape “workplace violence” and gave her a paltry $3000 for her trouble. She returned to work not too long after it happened only to find out that when she was afraid to go into the back room where it had happened that her co-workers called her a big baby. She quit and never went back.
That story will stay in my head until I die. I am grateful she is alive but I know it has to stay in her head until she dies as well. That’s one of the side effects of sexual abuse. No matter how much therapy or recovery you go through it is a rare person that never thinks of it again. They may store it in an attic in their mind and lock the door but some days maybe when they are tired or worried about something or at a vulnerable place in their life the door will fling open and assault her until she struggles to lock it back again.
For you men out there who think most of these women are lying what are you hiding? Is this a guy thing where you all stick together? Are you thinking that these women are just looking for money and/or their 15 minutes of fame? You should be ashamed of yourself. If you are not then I am ashamed for you. The sisterhood I belong to ALWAYS has the right to do what they want with their bodies. I don’t care if you feel they were turning you on by wearing something sexually seductive. I don’t care if you think why did she agree to go out with you and then have a drink later on in your apartment if she didn’t want sex? Especially for you men in power you have no right to intimidate the women who work for you into having sex with you. You have no right to sweep under a carpet what you did to some young lady who either wasn’t mature enough to make a healthy choice or too afraid of losing her job if she didn’t comply. You have no right to seduce a young, innocent and maybe a victim of child sexual abuse by promising her a raise or a part in a film or any other promises you dangle to entice her.
You know what’s under that carpet? Cockroaches. And men who prey on women for sexual favors are worse than cockroaches. You know what else? President Trump’s daughter said there is a special place in hell for those who harm children. That goes for men who think they can have their way with any woman who looks vulnerable.
Your special place in hell awaits you.