Sexual Harassment-Circa 1977

Bill O’Reilly’s exit from Fox has me thinking of sexual harassment in the workplace and how it has not changed in the last forty decades. Except for money. I have to think that the almighty dollar bill has something to do with people coming forward to talk about their experiences with high-profile people and their discomfort with what they say has been said to them. Forgive me if I sound disgruntled, or jealous, because I’m not at all. I admire Wendy Walsh for not asking for money and simply telling her story. That’s what this should be all about.

This is about sexual harassment and how it makes a woman feel. It is about disempowering a woman, about taking your stature, your power in the workplace and using it against an employee. It is about using your lack of morals and grinding them against who you suppose might be vulnerable and might not fight back. That’s the key. It’s a sickness that the perpetrator cannot stop. They calculatedly pick people who they think might not turn around and tell them they’re dicks and go back to Human Resources or whomever is at the head of the office. It just takes one person to speak up. In Bill O’Reilly’s case it only took one until the cup spilled over and then the story broke. Fox News had been paying how many women to keep their stories quiet. But this type of sexual harassment has been going on forever and women have not been talking about it. I did. Back in 1977. Here’s my story.

I was fresh out of college and had acquired a temp job at Dutch Boy Paints. The same day I was hired, my boss asked me if I wanted to go full-time and not permanent.  How lucky, I thought. First day in on a new job and I was being hired full-time. Little did I know of the harassment to come.

Next to my desk was another man who I’ll always remember as a gentleman. He was a few years older than I, and he came to be my protector. I have no idea why, but he took it upon himself to keep my boss away from me. He was the liason of sorts between that boss, myself and I. It was a strange situation that the boss had no idea his underling was trying to stop.

My boss was married. That didn’t stop him from inviting me out to lunch on a daily basis. I would bring in my own lunch as an excuse, but since everyone went out to lunch, I didn’t like being alone in the building. K (the protector) always went to lunch with him. They would take long lunches at fancy restaurants and clubs. K would tell me how during the lunches the boss would talk about me. He didn’t like it as much as I didn’t. I had only been married about 6 months at the time.

On occasion, when K would invite me to lunch, I would go. The boss would interject himself along, but I would pay my own way. I would be careful not to sit next to him. K would always watch him. The boss would drink heavily during his lunches too, which would antagonize him to harass me more. I always stood my ground. I threatened to tell his wife when she called. He would threaten to fire me. I would say I would go to HR with this conversation. I was 22 years old on my first job that I knew I was not going to stay in.

At times, the boss would go to a bar across the street from the plant and extend his lunch/drinking hours. He would call my line and beg me to come to the bar. Since I had to answer my phone at the office, I would have no idea it was him. I would hang up once I knew it was him on the line, drunk and his tirades. K called one time. He told me to pack my things and go home. He said the boss was that drunk and didn’t want to tell me what he was saying, but that it wasn’t good. He said for my safety I needed to get out of there Now, and before anything happened, and he could only contain him for so long. He begged me to leave. I listened carefully to what he wasn’t telling me and I knew. I picked up my things and left before anything could happen. To this day, I always thank K for being a Protector. For knowing what was wrong.

But that wasn’t the only harassment going on at Dutch Boy Paints. As I said, I was young. I didn’t dress provocatively. As a matter of fact, I wore suits most of the time. I hated dresses. It was a plant with offices and at times, I had to go down to the industrial part, so suits were the better option.

I was delivering copy to another office one day, when a particular executive passed by me. As he did, he brushed up against me, and grabbed my derriere.  That’s the politest way to say it. Then he quickly walked away. I was stunned. What? I thought. This man just grabbed my body. Ok, I’m pissed. I wasn’t sure who he was, but if I ever saw this dude again, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but not smile, keep away, and certainly say something.

Sure enough, next time I see him, he manages to grab me again and disappear quickly. The executive does it again. Now I am Seething. I go to another woman in the office that I know who does payroll and ask her who he is to get a name. She tells me. So now I have his name and what position he holds. I have the dates he harassed me physically. I’m thinking what to do with this information. It’s 1977. Men could care less back then and women’s attitudes …. well, if you were a feminist back then you were considered a radical. I think I was always a feminist since the day I was born. I was not going to be a pincushion for this man’s hands.

Sure enough, the third time he sees me, he gropes me. And I turn to him, blocking his way, and I tell him, that’s sexual harassment, and I’m reporting you. He laughs. And walks away. Which drove my anger and determination more. I immediately went to the office of the General Manager of Dutch Boy Paints and made an appointment for the next day.

I had all of my dates ready when I went in to talk to him. I calmly explained to the GM when and how this executive sexually harassed me. I told him the workplace was not a place for this type of behavior. I told him that I was not going to stand for this. My body was my own. The GM leaned back in his leather chair, wrapped his arms around his head, smiled at me and said, “Do you really want to ruin this guy’s career? He’s a nice guy. He didn’t mean any harm. He was just being friendly. Besides, he has kids.” I’ll never forget those words and the condescending tone of the GM that day.

I looked at him levelly and with a very cold voice, I said. “He should be thinking about his own career before he places his hands on a woman in the workplace. He is a sick man who cannot keep his hands to himself. Either you bring him in here, you dictate the law to him and slap penalties on him or I will hire an attorney. The choice is yours.”  The smile left his face quite quickly and his chair snapped back into sitting position. “You’re serious?” he said. “I am.” I responded.  “I won’t wait for days, either. Today.”

The executive was suspended for 30 days from the workplace. So I was told. I did ask for proof, which I received. I also asked for a letter of apology, also received.  I also knew that my boss would get wind from this story. And that it would have an immediate impact on him. I thought that I would be able to kill two birds with one stone. Basically, I did. He started ignoring me and office life settled down. I’m sure the few other women in that plant were harassed but no one had ever stood up. It just takes one.

Be That Voice. Find your inner strength and stand up for yourself. No means no.  Never allow yourself to be a victim of someone else. The law for sexual harassment has been in place since 1964. Use it. Do not allow predators to circumvent the law and use you for their pleasure.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual harassment, you may find this document helpful: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm.

Peace.

Sorceress.

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

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Stop Those Green Men!

So one evening I’m laying in bed watching tv with him and he turns to me with this look of desperation and pleading in his eyes and says, “Stop those Green Men! Please! You know how to make them go away!”  I side-ways look at him, thinking he’s joking or god knows what, but he’s not. He’s dead-serious. Really dead-serious. There’s this look of timidity in his eyes that I had rarely seen.

So I ask him where the Green Men are. He points to the bottom of the bed. He starts cowering under the covers. His body is beginning to tremble. His eyes are luminous as he’s alternately staring at me and the foot of the bed. He keeps begging me to get rid of them, because only I can.

So I decide to pretend that I do see these Green Men. After all, if he thinks I have power over them, and they have power over him, well, you do the math here. He’s freaking out, hiding under the covers and I’m talking to airspace sternly, asking them why they’re here for Daniel. I finally point at “them” and tell “them” to leave so he can come up for air.

That seemed to placate him, altho he still hid under the covers for awhile and then finally went to sleep. So now the psychopath was seeing things-people. In his mind, I could get rid of them. Like I’ve said before, his mind was interesting. But the Green Men was a new addition. He was getting worse, making my time shorter.

I had been planning on escaping, but now I had to up everything in timing. None of this was easy, it never was and still isn’t. It just gets easier now when I have to recall it. At least I’m not as wiped out as before. Now it’s more of yeah, that happened, I survived kind of thing while the other person looks at me strangely not understanding why I’m not locked up or an addict dulling my pain.

I’m not doing any of those things because I won’t let him take me down. The only person that can do that is me. He’s just not worth it. I’m too busy living my life, and I have a huge bucket list with a life to live ahead of me. Too many years were wasted while I had to recuperate in a wheelchair from the accident he caused trying to murder me, then years as a hostage in my home under his mother and him while they alternately poisoned and took care of me. I fought my way out and I’d do it again. Like I said, the only person that can take me down is me.

Peace.

Sorceress

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

 

 

 

Hole In The Wall

So one afternoon I’m sitting with Daniel at his psychiatric appointment because apparently he doesn’t lie when I’m in attendance with him. Odd, but true. I’m not really allowed to talk, just sit there. Clearly, I can make eye contact with him. Raise an eyebrow, pointedly stare, which I’m rather good at doing. I couldn’t help myself when I knew he’d be doling crap. Which is why I had been requested to sit in at some of his sessions. Lucky me.

Daniel had always talked to me. One of the reasons I was fascinated by his mind. Knowing he was diagnosed psychopathic, and knowing the psychiatric background of his mother, I knew his mind was a goldmine of information. So was his mothers. And since they didn’t see me as a professional, I wasn’t a threat to them. They could tell me anything. And they did. Much of it horrifying.

This particular afternoon, Daniel was talking about voyeurism. I already knew some of his past stories, beginning with his childhood. How he convinced a little girl when he was 9 years old and she was 7 to prance before him up on a boat rack his father had made behind the garage. He had convinced her to take off her panties and he’d throw mud balls at her vagina.  That was his earliest sexual memory.

Then the bomb hits. He turns to me and says he’s been watching me. He tells me that he had created a hole in the wall of the ceiling of the bathroom so that when I was in the shower or just in the bathroom, he could watch me.  Deal was, I couldn’t say a word. I wasn’t there for therapy, he was.

So there I am, stoic, quiet, blazing eyes, thinking a million thoughts. Feeling humiliated at the time. I knew he had committed this act on others, friends of his. But me? Whoa, the buck stops here. Apparently not. I did not consent, nor did the people he told me about. The little girl that he threw the mud balls at did not understand what she was consenting to. He was violating the law, although the law is sketchy depending on where you live geographically.

According to the DSM, voyeurs may have a background of alcohol and drug abuse, be obsessive-compulsive, have a background of childhood abuse, anti-social behaviors, attention-deficit disorder, personality disorders, bi-polar disorder and more. So no surprise there. My first reaction I believe was justified, and then I realized, it’s not my fault. I didn’t create him. I did not cause these behaviors. If it wasn’t me, it would have been another woman. And probably still is.

Just another rock to step over.

Peace.

Sorceress.

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

 

Survivors-Climbing Mountains Because The Mountain Is There

Our childhood/other traumas creates/molds our adulthood. Or does it? It paves the way. It creates memories and triggers for us. What it’s supposed to do is create happy memories and lay proper foundations for a person so they can live their life in society with others in a decently normal fashion with happiness.  Honestly, how many people have had absolutely nothing horrible or traumatic occur, events they wouldn’t hesitate to share with someone, really understand or appreciate what Survivors are living with in the aftermath? They read the stories and see events happen to people. How much empathy, compassion and concern is there? Do they feel?

There could be a myriad of emotions on their side. They could have pity. They could be non-believers, thinking the Survivor is simply being dramatic. After all, if their life was so picture-perfect-white-picket-fence how could someone else’s life have been so bad and no one saved that child or woman? Or they think you just write a great story. Or they get angry because they have a vested interest in you and don’t want to hear anymore because they can’t bear to listen to the injustices. It hurts them, too. Or they simply don’t get it. They just don’t understand because it’s too mind-boggling to them. They’re too closed to open up to understand anyone else because they don’t understand themselves.

We as Survivors tell our stories because we have to. Sometimes the stories just spill out at inopportune times. Sometimes we’re asked about  a particular moment in time so we must explain. Other times, there’s a trigger, and again, an explanation is due. The reactions may not always be positive, in fact, they’re sometimes negative or just shocked faces. Oh well. They asked, we tell.

Recently, a newer acquaintance asked me some questions about something in my past. I answered the best I could. I’m an honest person and have nothing to hide. My mantra is if I don’t tell any lies I won’t have to remember them. So we’re having this conversation and I’m attempting to explain to her what she’s asking. Suddenly she tells me that she thinks I obsess too much on the past and that isn’t any good for me. I started to laugh. I told her that wasn’t true at all. I said that she had asked me questions so I was answering them. She had brought up the past, I didn’t. How was that obsessing about the past if she was the one that had initiated the discussion? She couldn’t answer because she knew I was right.

I don’t sit and think about traumas and all that went on before. Believe me, my PTSD does that for me. It brings my memories back as triggers when I least expect them. I have one dear person I do talk with when I want to about things from my past. We share our stories when we’re in the mood in a healthy way trying to sort things out.

But Survivors are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I do know we understand each other. When you find another, it’s like finding another soul. Another soul who understands we’re people who might like to look out the window at nothing, who has eyes that are deeper than anyone’s you’ve ever known and someone who has more layers than an onion.

Keep those Survivors close when you meet them. They’re special people. The pain they know and have felt is intolerable to most but they’ve survived and surmounted it. They’re people who can climb mountains now simply because the mountain is there.

Peace.

Sorceress.

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

 

 

Ever See A Fly On A Leash?

Psychopaths are abusive to animals. So they say. And the way they are abusive isn’t always the way you might normally expect.

Daniel had come into my store one day. I was re-dressing the main window. He hopped up on the ledge and began talking to me. I was working with mannequins and set-ups while he was (I’m guessing here) trying to impress me. There was a fly in the window buzzing around. It was summertime and the front door was open.

“Ever see a fly on a leash?” he asked. I just looked at him while I kept myself busy. No, I’d never seen a fly on a leash and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

Before I realized what he was doing, he reached over and plucked a hair from my head. Yeah, literally, plucked a strand of hair from my head. Lucky for him it was one strand. Altho I did let loose with a string of expletives and was angry at what he had just done. He said he needed the strand of hair to show me something.

He then proceeded to catch the fly. I’m sure by now you know where this is going but I’ll keep on telling the story. His back was to me at this point. I was thinking this guy is a bit off/weird/whatever and kept on working. He suddenly turned around and opened his hand. In it was the “fly on a leash”.  He had wrapped my one strand of hair around the fly, tied it, and it was now tethered.

To some, that may just be a fly. To me, it was a living insect that he had just trapped and was torturing. And to do that so quickly and successfully meant he had done this before. Who actually thinks of leashing flies? Yeah, well, I guess psychopaths and their assorted counterparts do. It takes a uniquely convoluted mind to think of that one.

Oh those Red Flags.

Peace.

Sorceress

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

Stop Victimizing The Victim. Start Penalizing The Perpetrator.

You can’t victimize the victim. You shouldn’t victimize the victim. But it still happens every day.

In states where laws determine a victim must come forward, they must also include protection for the victim. Protection in the form of a PFA, non-harassment in the courts should they testify, protection when they testify and empathy and compassion from their local police department(s).

Very often, victims of domestic violence, rape, stalking and similar crimes are frightened and further abused without any further support networks. These victims are protecting their children, their pets and their homes. They may not have the resources they need to garner the support that is needed to protect them. They may be unaware of where to go or where help is located.

Although commercials and print ads are prevalent, it isn’t easy to find help. At times, actually securing the help you need may seem as if you have to jump through hoops of fire. It’s easy for an observer who has never been through hell to sit in their arm chair and simply say “Leave the bastard. What’s wrong with that woman?” But they’ve not experienced the trauma and they’re not standing in their shoes. Our society needs to educate from an early age that abuse and bullying is wrong.

Just as a beginning police officer is stunned with his own stun gun so he feels the force of what that gun can do, those in power that respond should be made to feel what it’s like to be bullied/beaten/berated/psychologically abused and so on so they can fully appreciate what they are dealing with when they respond to a call. They need to understand that No Means No. That “good ole boys will be good ole boys” doesn’t mean anything. They need to appreciate the fear in a victim’s eyes. They also need to stop coddling men who are bullies over women because of their own insecurities. We need to educate our law enforcement to understand that victims should be handled with a national policy, not with an officers pre-conditioned idea when they answer the call.

Enough is enough. Stop Victimizing The Victim. Start Penalizing The Perpetrator. Their time has come.

Peace.

Sorceress.

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

Defining Moment.

Fullscreen capture 2172016 20814 PMDoes the psychopath define me or do I define myself? I’ve talked about re-defining myself, creating a new persona and re-building my life. Thinking about the last few years and how far I’ve come through my own abyss, I’ve come to realize that altho some may believe that when a person comes into contact with a psychopath, that person defines the future of them, I do believe that only a person themselves are responsible for what occurs in their life.

Many people sit in their chairs and blame their parents/caregivers for who they are today. They take issue for the way they were raised, the abuses they may have incurred and how they were held back in their childhoods.

I recently read a review on a perfume from a woman where she stated that her mother always spent money on herself and never on her children, so as a child, this woman loved spending overnights at other children’s homes so that her own laundry would smell “fresh and clean” with laundry sheets. The perfume she was reviewing reminded her of that smell and she was delighted to own it because of the memory of going to others’ homes.

Somehow, it bothered me that the reviewer had to include her mother in the review. Maybe her mother was allergic to laundry sheets. Maybe her mother couldn’t stand the scent. Personally, I never used laundry sheets in the dryer because I couldn’t stand the scent it left on clothing. And I didn’t like the chemicals. But the point is, why blame someone else for something totally irrelevant? Just go forward. Buy the perfume, but don’t blame your mother for buying it. There may be other issues in your life concerning your parent, dig deeper and grow.

I never want other Survivors to just wallow in self-pity and blame others for what happened to them for their current situation. What happened to them is horrible. What happened to them is not their fault. What happened to them wreaked havoc on their memories and will continue to do so forever. But it does not define them unless they allow it to. 

Here’s the catch that some Survivors might believe keeps them in a vicious cycle. When you meet someone new in your life, generally you want to trust that person. You begin talking with them, they share insights about their past and hopefully, you’d like to share insights about your past, too. So you start to talk about some things, carefully leaving out the bad stuff. But, eventually, you know you have to talk about it.

And when that time comes, you have a 50-50 chance of the other person’s reaction. Honestly, it’s probably an 80-20 chance. So you tell them some horrific stories, they’re amazed/horrified/don’t know whether to pity you/act sympathetic/walk away. Now they’re the one walking on those eggshells. Not that you wanted them to, but you had to tell them at some point. Because if you didn’t, then you just might be accused of holding back on them. It’s a vicious cycle.

I’ve never kept anything back from anyone. If I meet someone who seems worthwhile, I gradually tell them my story. If they can’t take it, that’s on them.

I’ve learned that in re-defining myself, I am who I am. I am not going to change myself. I have a past that’s not so neat and tidy. It doesn’t have a white picket fence. It’s scary to some. If they’re frightened by it, they shouldn’t let the door hit them on they’re way out.

Because if anyone should be frightened, that person should be me, not them. That’s the amusing part to me. When I am asked if the psychopath could hurt  them, I could scream. If that’s their first question after I explain it all, instead of their asking if am still at risk, then I know they are a weak person who looks out for themselves first.

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And this is how I am re-defining myself. I am strong. I am not vulnerable. I can take care of myself. I watch how people react. This is me and frankly, if you don’t like it, I’m not going to change for you. I’ve lost too much in my past and I’m not going to lose any more.

I realize what issues I have and what events in my past cause me to behave the way I do. That’s my current choice because it’s my personal way of dealing with life. If anyone has any questions, all they have to do is ask. No one is perfect, I certainly am not. But I sure as hell will never change for anyone. Today and each day forward is my defining moment.

Peace.

Sorceress.

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.