In discussing the #MeToo movement in the office, we realized that every single one of us has at least one, if not multiple stories to tell. What this movement demonstrates is the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault. It’s not a symptom of just one industry; it’s everywhere. Despite considering only sharing one blog post, we soon realized we had too much to say. This blog post is one in a series of our stories, all of which can be read here.
Us too. Too much.
I was 19 working at a nightclub and going to university. The nightclub world was strange and very unfamiliar to me. There was a promise to make quite a decent amount of money but in order to make it, you needed to work the busy nights on the good bars. My boss at the time asked me to babysit his kids one weekend and because I was new to the job and wanted the good shifts, I didn’t want to turn it down. His house was impressive, palatial and tipping on tacky – the artist formerly known as Prince was a big influence and not in a good way.
I sat on the bed in his daughter’s room amidst stuffed animals and an explosion of pink. We were playing with their dolls and talking braids when he came home. He slid into the room, onto the bed. Laid out, supine, I turned to see him as he rubbed on his private parts, looking up at me straight in the eye asking “lift up your skirt.” As he reached out to me I jumped up from the bed, called for his daughters to come with me downstairs and asked him when his wife would be home.
I might have giggled nervously, I might have avoided his eyes, I definitely was shaking, I certainly cried and, until now, I never, ever said a word. I never babysat again but to think, if his kids weren’t enough of deterrent, you can imagine that didn’t stop his advances. He did it again and again and though I never gave in I also never said a word. Even as I moved to better bar and made a lot of money, I always felt and continue to feel shame. I never knew if my advances were based on merit or silence and I know for sure I wasn’t the only one.