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 left the bar, ordered an Uber and approached the car that I thought was mine. The Uber driver let me in. Turns out he was actually waiting for someone else but he agreed to drive me home anyway. When we arrived outside my apartment, he told me to pay him cash which seemed fair since he wasn’t the car I ordered through the app. I paid him, thanked him and tried to open the door but it was locked. When I asked him to unlock the door he said I had to hug him first. I said no and asked him again to open the door. He told me he would only unlock the door if I hugged him.
I woke up the next morning remembering what had happened and thought to myself, ‘I’m so lucky it wasn’t anything more than a hug.” But, honestly, I don’t feel that lucky at all. I still remember how I tried to pull away from the hug but he squeezed me harder and pulled me closer to him. I remember that at the moment, I had thought to myself, ‘Oh no. This is dangerous. This is not right.’ I remember frantically trying to open the door but it was still locked. When he finally unlocked it, I fell out onto the sidewalk because so much of my weight was pushed against the door, trying to get as far away from him as I could. He drove off and I was left alone on the sidewalk outside my apartment.
I was forced to hug a man who is a stranger to me. Forced to pay him the last bit of cash I had in my wallet. Let’s remember a hug goes both ways. Not only did I not want to touch him, I did not want him to touch me.
Aside from being unable to report the specific driver because there is no record of me being in his Uber (I did explain the incident to Uber), it’s an incredibly terrifying feeling to know that something much worse could have happened. What’s more sickening is that when I told some male friends the following day what had happened, they said I shouldn’t have jumped in the backseat of any Uber drunk and alone, that I should have made sure it was a car I ordered through the app, that I should have been smarter. UM?! To me, that sounds a lot like men telling women they shouldn’t wear certain clothes if they don’t want to find themselves in the position of being harmed by men. Excuse my language but how the f*** did I become responsible for his actions?
I guess what I’m saying is that if something does not feel right, that is good enough reason to share it. My experience could have been way worse, but we need to get comfortable sharing – and reporting – even the ‘little things’ that give us this feeling. Share your story. Share your experience. Say “me too.” My hope is that the more voices we hear saying #METOO, the easier it will be to talk about all the times it does not feel right – even if it’s just a hug – because it’s not just a hug.