#MeToo ~ Chapter 1

I have the feeling that I should issue the usual Content Advisories for obvious reasons.  If you’re feeling vulnerable right now, or if you could become that way fairly easily, please proceed with caution.

By now, you’ve probably seen or heard of the “Me too”/”#MeToo” campaign that has resurfaced on Twitter.  Even major news outlets are picking it up.

It’s about damn time.

It’s “only” 2017, after all.  We’ve been to the moon and back.  We’ve cloned sheep.  We’re chatting in real time with people who live across vast geographical expanses that include gigantic bodies of water.  We’re mastering the art of printing in three dimensions.

And yet, females (and some males) the world over have felt–or been–silenced on one of the oldest and most devastating acts of abuse ever: sexual violence and its counterpart, sexual harassment.

This does not compute.  It doesn’t make logical sense.  Which makes my Aspie/autistic brain very antsy.  My brain has a mind of its own, and it’s as pedantic as I am.  No shame in that.

Anyway, what started out as a Twitter campaign spilled over into the blogscape.  I’m glad, because my Twitter activity begs tumbleweeds and my news-watching is even more ghosty; had these blog writers not said anything, I might never have found out.

I’m grateful to those bloggers for coming forward and sharing their stories.  Double gratitude because it was likely a sacrifice on their part; in order to write about it, one has to relive the experience, to an extent.  One has to drag up all the unpleasant memories and sequences of events and names and…it can get overwhelming.

I’m relieved for them that they’re finally getting their say.

It’s about damn time for that, too.

There’s no excuse for this shit.

It shouldn’t have taken a campaign by someone famous on a social media platform in order to take this step and be assured of a willing and open-eared audience.  That should be the norm, not a news-worthy event.  It shouldn’t be so rare to feel comfortable to speak up that it makes the news.

Encouraged by these lovely writers, I’m throwing my hat in the ring.  At first, I hesitated writing this at all, because I have not been brutally assaulted and penetrated repeatedly like so many others.  So, I felt a little embarrassed at first for thinking of saying anything at all.  My story doesn’t hold a candle to theirs.

But when I learned that sexual harassment of any kind was included, I reconsidered, and made a decision.

I’m coming forward.  I’m speaking up.

Yes.  “Me, too.”

Count me in.

My story is pixelated, not isolated to one event, one person, or one time period.  I have bits that can all be brought into focus on a pervasive theme.  These bits can be divvied up into chapters, if you will.

The first chapter of my story opens with me in high school, working an after-school job at McDonald’s.  This older guy, (his name is Cardell) a manager who had transferred in from another location, started hitting on me.  I had a boyfriend and I’m not one to stray, but I can’t say that I didn’t bask in the attention.

Innocent attention turns creepy, though.  There’s a fine line.  And sometimes the line is not even all that fine.  The transformation from innocent/genuine to creepy/ulterior motive is an insidious one.  It can sneak up on you from behind.

Once Cardell saw me smile in response to his earlier, milder compliments, those compliments grew more brazen, more suggestive, more explicit.

This was not OK.  I’m not sure at what point it became not-OK, but somewhere along the line, it did.

I felt too self-conscious to say anything.  I was not sure of myself.  Part of me knew that I didn’t deserve to be the recipient of remarks like that, but I couldn’t be 100% sure, so I figured I’d better take the “better safe than sorry”, “benefit of the doubt” approach and just smile, shrug it off, and lie low.

But I began to dread coming to work…until, one day, he wasn’t there anymore.

This McDonald’s was not part of the corporate structure, but rather, a franchise, with a local owner.  The owner, a nice guy, came to me one day and asked me if he could have a meeting with me.  He sat down with me and asked me about Cardell; he had heard from several other female employees that he was treating them the same way he’d been treating me.

I told the owner that yes, Cardell had treated me the same way.

The owner then said that he had already terminated Cardell for this very reason, and now Cardell was launching a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.

Because Cardell was black.  And the owner was white.

Seriously, Cardell was playing the “race card”, trying to harass women and then, when caught at his game and his game caught up with him, trying to blame the ramifications of his behavior on good ‘ol racial discrimination (which no doubt still exists, but was definitely not at play in this case), and then, hoping to win a lawsuit with a financial jackpot reward out of the deal!

This is an insult to sexual violence “recipients” everywhere.  This is an insult to Black people.  It’s an insult to the intelligence of everyone.

Needless to say, the owner was going to fight this in court.  The owner asked me if I could recall any specific dates.  I couldn’t recall any offhand, but I told the owner that I had kept a journal with dates, and that I did remember writing about Cardell and some of his advances in a couple of journal entries.  I even offered to make photocopies of those pages of my journal (we had a copy machine at home) which contained descriptions of events.  The owner was extremely happy.

The McDonald’s franchise won the lawsuit.

I got to tell my story.  But only because I was prompted.  Otherwise, I might not have.  That’s no one’s fault.  I bear responsibility for not having spoken up sooner, because the McDonald’s franchise owner was a stand-up guy and would have taken the same action if I had been the one to tell him about it originally.

There’s a Chapter 2 coming.  And probably more.

***

(Image Credit: Agnes-Cecile)

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67 Comments

  1. Not you too. #MeToo. Sigh. The first one happened in college. My part maybe was the flirting, but then the guy walked me back to my apartment. And then kept going instead of respecting the boundary. We ended up in my bedroom, and the next thing you know, he was forcibly kissing me. I don’t consider it my first kiss at all. If it hadn’t been for a manga that I’d read as a kid, this would have become rape.

    I’d had unwanted attention from people. Around my college years, older guys were hitting on me and trying to solicit me for sex. One man was particularly pushy; I had to mention that I had a boyfriend to get him off my case. Another one made me concerned that he would stalk me, so I took a different way to the mall for awhile.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg luv 😳😔💞. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Sigh is right! What part of “no” don’t those “people” understand?? Stalking is so scary 😳. I can’t imagine! Well, I can imagine, but that’s all I can do 💐💞. This whole thing is NOT OK. Too many lives damaged too severely, and too complacent a response from the general public 😔😔👎🏼💞💗

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Laina. You write about your sexual harassment experience in context and venture in to all those so-hard-to-explain areas such as the transition from flattery to fear, the grey areas, and the race card that was, in this case, a magician’s sleight of hand, hoping to make the real issue go away. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh, my sweet friend. ❤❤Thank you for sharing. It’s so important. I am not sure I can say I have ever been what I’d term harrassed, but rather I have had a long series of feeling misused by men, so there is that aspect I understand. So glad you had a chance to speak up. So few do and that is a crying shame.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have so much to say about what you wrote and yet the right words are not coming and I cannot give this piece of your life an injustice of imperfect words!!! Just thankful you shared it. And wish I could take away all of the bad you experienced

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Awww 😘😘. I know what you mean about the words not cooperating 💞. I know you’re right there with me in spirit, and I’m right there beside you, too 💞💞. I am so grateful to finally tell someone and for people like you to reach out; your friendship and support mean *so much* to me! 🤗💚💙💜💖

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadly, this is so common it’s sickening. I’ve been reading the news and the stories this last few weeks, feeling increasingly alienated from people, sinking into that depression that the world is just an awful place. I’ve had my Me Too moments, though thankfully not anything as severe as some, mainly comments from work colleagues, that I tried to laugh off or fire back a stinging reply too. Some I was too young and naive to realise was harassment at the time. The time a bf tried to take it too far and I had to physically push him away with a verbal tongue lashing, or the one who ended up physically violent causing me to walk away. Because of the tough shell I’ve built up over the years, I suppose I’ve been able to cope and defend better than most, but why should I have had to do that? I’m lucky I’m not someone who attracts too much attention in the first place, my f*** off vibes as I’ve been told I give off (someone else told me I was as approachable as a Rottweiler) I guess has protected me from some of the stuff other women (and men) have had to deal with. But why should we have to have this still going on in this day and age? Why should we have to look at everything and wonder who was exploited for that, wonder who the people we thought we respected and/or admired is really an abusive shit,? Nothing is as innocent as it should be, but tainted, and an underbelly of sleaze and rancidity runs through everything in this world. I hate it and very glad my nature makes me so reclusive. I just hope this is the beginning of real change and not just a momentary cry that will be buried with more of the same old same old.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amen, luv 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. Why the fuck should we have to build such a shell against the predators of the world? Why do so many predators exist and why do they have to be so damaging?? What’s wrong with the world?? Why is the onus on us, the innocent, to constantly take measures to protect ourselves just to get through the day? (And that’s to say nothing of those too young, small, tired, ill, etc, to be able to protect themselves in the first place!). This is indeed maddening 😡💗

      I’ve become like you, with an increasingly tougher shell, and a jaded outlook to match. For a while, I was (and still am) like “ok, buster I just met: prove to me that you won’t screw me over.” I don’t say that out loud, but I do keep most people at arm’s length until they prove they deserve otherwise 💚💙

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well written post, as always when I read your blog. I totally agree with you in what you’re writing. It is good that so many tells their stories. That means that we all can learn from them and learn to recognise bad behaviour sooner. We can also learn to support the ones that need support, not support the ones who doesn’t deserve support. We all can make a change. You did good both now with this post and back then with the McD-thing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I THINK this is what I want to say…..First, I don’t want you to minimize what happened to you. I think when we read other’s stories we can think “well mine wasn’t THAT bad though.” But there shouldn’t be a level of bad or worse. The way my mind works is a simple right and wrong. Someone who has inflicted suffering is wrong. There is no level 10 or level 1. Suffering is straight up suffering. No one should have to endure it or experience it at the hands or mouth or words of another human being. So, therefore!!! I am very proud of you for telling your story as IT matters and YOU matter and what was done to you was NOT OK. Your #metoo experience is just as real and valid and horrific as the rest of ours. SECONDLY, you don’t bear any responsibility for not coming forward any sooner than you did in telling what happened to you. It took courage to come forward when you did and you should be commended for that. I’m so glad you wrote it all in your journal and that your notes could be helpful. I’m also glad this person was terminated and held accountable.
    That’s what I wanted to initially get across but couldn’t quite find the right words.
    By reading this I see that there will most likely be a part 2 or more. I am so sorry there had to even be a part 1.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve had 2 #MeToo’s this year alone. Once at work and once through text from someone I thought was a good friend.

    The work incident about 6 months prior started out as me flirting with him and then realizing I took it too far. He had continued to do so and as time went on he realized I had a “thing” with someone and he backed off. In the time I had this thing he stopped. But then it started back up when he heard it was over. Then it had happened a couple months after it ended. Started with a smack on my butt, which turned into dry humping which turned into being in our dry storage room where he tried to continue. Yes it should have stopped well before the last part but being on the Autism Spectrum it didn’t register until then. Luckily I did the right thing and talked to management and he was let go.

    Unfortunately I work with his mom and brother, his mom got him the job, and I get the silent treatment from them because of this.

    This so called friend over a period of time had kept making comments about wanting sexual stuff over text for about 1 year before the incident led me to the incident. He had told me he had terminal cancer and kept saying it was his dying wish to do it with me. And he kept being persistent until one day after hearing this for almost a week in September I told him I wasn’t comfortable with it. When he kept persisting I told him what he was doing was harassment and if it didn’t stop I’d call the cops. He stopped after that but still keeps trying to talk to me as if things will go back to normal.

    Little does he know I had an anxiety attack the day after I last talked to him, last week, that mocked the flu. I have yet to muster up the courage to say stay out of my life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg girl, I’m so sorry to hear this 💞💞

      A smack on your butt?? How rude!! Dry humping?? Holy hell. What a dog! (And actually, dogs are nicer, because they are innocent and don’t know better. This guy *should*! What an ass.). I’m so glad he was let go! 💪🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼💖. But so sorry you still have to work with his family! Do they not understand what happened? I guess not; if that’s the way he turned out, I’m guessing the odds are his mother’s (and father’s?) “parenting” “skills” might not be up to snuff 😡🤔😔

      I hear you about things not registering until later; you’re not alone on that one, either 💜

      And what the hell kind of person does what you described in the second Me Too?? Omg 😳😳.

      I just can’t…no words. I’m just so sorry 💞💞💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The family the first one comes from, all the kids are adopted this one and his biological brother were adopted into this family and both of them worked with me along with their adopted mom. Yes I understand some adopted kids do stupid stuff to “act out” but this is not the case.

        The worst part about the whole case was his brother was working the night it happenes and never knew and the manager had just left 30 seconds before.

        But that doesn’t justify why his brother and mom act the way they do. The catch is his brother only does it when his mom is there. Any other time he’s ok with me. And its been 8 months since.

        The second one was ridiculous. What made it worse was when he had done the incident, and over the course of the year for that matter, he had a girlfriend and he claimed his girl before this wanted him to get more experience with me in the bedroom because I was the only person he knew that she trusted. I turned down every time.

        The final incident was what really made me sick. Dying wish doesn’t make it an excuse to want to do the stuff you never got to do.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Exactly! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. That’s just awful that someone would try to use that as an excuse. Other people’s bodies are not his personal freaking Make-a-Wish Foundation!! WTF?

          Yeah, the cold shoulder from the mother and brother of the first one just doesn’t make logical sense. That sucks that you’re having to deal with aftermath–as if the incident itself wasn’t bad enough! 💞💞

          (Sorry I replied backwards – talking about the two incidents in reverse order! Kinda confusing, on my part lol 😊)

          Like

          1. It’s all good lol.

            Its just a shame, like you mentioned, that its taking celebs talking about these topics to make it something we can talk about.

            But at the same time you begin to realize how human they are by telling their stories and seeing the emotions and you aren’t alone

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg this is awesome!! 👏🏼👏🏼❤️❤️. Thank you so much for the mention! So honored and humbled to be a source of inspiration! Y’all definitely have that effect on me as well 😘😘

      Like

  8. Although I “liked” this post, the word like is totally wrong in this context. I am so sorry that you had to deal with this nonsense. Most of the women in my life have some variation on this kind of story to tell, and I have a young daughter whom I fiercely wish to protect from ever having one of her own. Thank you for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ugh. I don’t know where to start. Okay. How about this: Every time I’ve heard someone tell a story like this it has to come with some caveat about how it’s not about feeling sorry for them and they are not “being a victim” and all this really wierd stuff.
    What’s up with that?
    Every time it is brought up nobody takes it seriously and quitely hopes it will just go away.
    And god, why are people so creepy? I don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for writing this series. I have severe PTSD and can say #metoo from the age of 4 – 17 for 6 different men. Men of family trust and honored standing even as a deacon in their religious community. Most recently, have survived 3 years of severe abuse from someone who was behaving as my caregiver & “partner.” The gaslighting during my time of being severely ill with and very cognitively disabled and unable to track time/memory or other stuff (I became disabled in 2010 and spent some years in bed after the onset) — was akin to waking up from Stockholm Syndrome and I don’t say this lightly. I have seen this campaign and too raw to participate or talk about it. Still wake up screaming or what not from flashbacks too. So keep loud and proud. This is about as far as I can speak on it now. Perhaps in future years. ❤ ty ty ty for this fight.

    Like

  11. It’s sad to read these stories. When will these men understand that women are not objects to be toyed with and disrespected! He even had the guts to file a lawsuit!!! SMH When will this end?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t know if you ever seen the movie “The Best of everything” it’s a 50s movie I believe. I just recently watched it because it was on TV. I don’t know if they played that movie because of everything that’s going on in the news. Women back then had to take all types of harassment. That movie hurt my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah 💖. I haven’t seen it yet, but I think I’m going to. My equivalent counterpart is the movie “Working Girl”; it’s from the 80s; she had to work so hard and take so much crap and there was a definitely greater divide between the sexes then – in NYC, no less (!) 😳. It’s an excellent reminder of how far we’ve come, even though we have so much further to go. I would LOVE for the next generation *not* to be able to say “me too” 💖🌟💖

      Liked by 1 person

            1. I totally will! 😘👍🏼💞. I wrote it in my “Movies To Get” file in my iPhone’s Notes app, so that when I’m standing in Half Price Books, trying to think of what movies I was going to look for, it’s all right there 😁👍🏼. Totally going to look for this one; it sounds like a don’t-miss 👏🏼🌺🌺

              Liked by 1 person

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