I was sitting in a closed-door meeting at one of my former places of employment. Out of the five people in the conference room, I was the only woman. I remember because I felt invisible—the only reason I was invited was to take notes. I sat there silently as the guys began to make jokes about landing a new account by “performing oral sex on the hot, 60-year-old woman” who managed the account. I won’t share the details but believe me, they were graphic, gross, and offensive. When I got up and walked out of the conference room, I hardly think they noticed. They were laughing hysterically and slapping each other high-fives. Even though it made me super uncomfortable, it didn’t occur to me at the time to do anything about this incident. That kind of tone in that office was so commonplace that I didn’t notice it. Sometimes I even participated in sexual jokes or comments myself. “It’s just the way this office is. It’s our sense of humor,” I told myself. I could let it go. Plus, the thought of being singled out as “the one who can’t take a joke,” losing my job, or losing my ranking with all of my male superiors was worse than the discomfort I felt about the inappropriate joke. But now I realize that it was straight-up sexual harassment and, in retrospect, I wish I said something.
Luckily, I no longer work there, but my experience is by no means uncommon. A new study reveals that one in three women has experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. The most common form was found to be lewd remarks by a boss or superior. I can’t say I’m shocked by these results, but I can understand why that statistic is so insanely high, considering that women such as myself choose to let the behavior continue. Shame on me.
Have you ever been sexually harassed at work? Please share your stories and let us know how you handled it. [Daily Mail]