Sexually Inappropriate and Harassing Behavior During Daily Conversation

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

3/16/2021 6:35pm EST: Updated with a doozy of an example that I forgot about.

Note: Contains sexually explicit language

Excuse the typos, I needed to get this conversation out on the floor real quick!

If you read my recent post on Racism and Prejudice in Daily Conversation, you’ll remember my observation that Zager and Evans’ song, In the year 2525, didn’t offer much in the way of great expectations–other than to wonder “if man is still alive…”

Well, to be fair, they weren’t just concerned with “man.”  They actually continued the thought by pondering whether “…woman can survive.”

So here we are again with me offering my “two cents” about  sexually inappropriate and harassing behavior in daily conversation.

I might even throw in a little story.

And so…

If you are ever confused about what to say and what not to say to avoid even the appearance of being sexually inappropriate, or engaging in sexually harassing behavior, avoid the following statements and/or questions:

  1. “You’re being overly sensitive.”
  2. “What’s wrong with me complimenting your legs?”
  3. “I see you have a tattoo on your neck, where else do you have tattoos?”
  4. “Maybe if you flirted a little, it might help us get <insert thing here>”
  5. “Do blondes have more fun?”
  6. “That’s not sexually inappropriate/sexual harassment!” (An easy out for people who are uninterested in learning about sexually inappropriate conversation/sexual harassment)

This list is not exhaustive.

Again, while some of these points are blatant, others are very subtle yet highly offensive— and today, I am going to include some REALLY blatant shit that people have said or done to me.

For your consideration:

Once upon a time, LadyG was seated at a table reading a book when a co-worker sat down at the same table.

This guy, a real tool, was the son of a well known Dentist in South Georgia.

Anyway, while LadyG sat quietly reading, this jackass started singing his own rendition of Prince’s “Darling Nikki—where he substituted ‘LadyG’ in the verse that talks about “masturbating in the lobby with a magazine.”

It should be noted that this same guy later grabbed LadyG’s behind and stated, “I always wanted to know what a black girl’s butt felt like—Wow! It’s jigglier than I thought.”

And do you know what LadyG did in each case?

NOTHING.

-THE END

It is important to note that I was selected to receive this position by my professors. 

In fact, I was the only female there, at the time, working with three law school students—one of which was the asshole that I just told you about.  

It definitely didn’t help that I was only a sophomore working toward my BS degree.

To be honest, I felt that I was the most powerless person in this situation.  

Flat out, I was the only woman working with a group of men during the height of Anita Hill versus Clarence Thomas.

Chile, I saw what happened to Prof. Hill so I never reported the guy.

But let me be clear, the other law students and my supervisors were very kind and helpful to me.  That said, I often stuck under the other two law students in order to feel safe from the third guy’s advances.  

Now I know that there is someone in the ethers saying, “Well, he was just an asshole.”

He most definitely was an asshole.

But, this was more than being an asshole, this was him sexually harassing me.  

Now I know that what he did was pretty cut and dry, but there are many situations where, like with racism, you can’t “define it” but you know it when you see it.  

My cousin Ron describes this phenomenon perfectly in his post, I cannot define it.

Sadly, this is not the only time that I experienced this, or something like it.

Shall I elaborate?

How about the time I was at the mall grabbing a maternity dress for my baby shower, when this jackass walked right up behind me and said, “Hey, why don’t you let me finish that off.”

Or the time a friend of my family said, “You’re good and grown now, I just want to come visit you.”  Let’s just say, he was NOT my peer and he was not my friend.

Or the time a male who was close to the family told me I was a “fine mother-f’er.”

Or the time I was in the library and a dude, who was in one of my classes, called me over to the table and began counting a large wad of money while looking up at me and back down at the money in a suggestive way.

Or when a security guard at work tried to kiss me in an elevator—totally unprovoked!  He offered to do something else more explicit that I’ll keep to myself.

Whew…once again chile—the shit is tiring and I really could go on.  

I’ve had so many sexually explicit and not so explicit things said and done to me in my lifetime that I cannot count them.

Sadly, the first instances were in childhood and the perpetrators were mostly grown men—none of them were family members.

I never said anything about it or my Dad would still be in jail for murder!

I think Alice Walker’s words, spoken through Sophia in The Color Purple, express it best, “A girl child ain’t safe in a house full of mens.”

So, I think I’ll stop here and encourage anyone who is ready to have a polite and meaningful conversation about anything that I mentioned in this post to drop down in comments so we can chat.

A Call to All Mothers

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The following text (in green) is the Mother’s Day Proclamation that was written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870.

From what I understand, Ms. Howe was addressing all mothers in reference to the great loss of life that occurred during the Civil War for both the North as well as the South.

Sadly, much of what is written in this proclamation is just as relevant today as it was in the late 1800’s —but for any number of different reasons.

My dear friends, I urge you to read this and reflect.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

 

Just sayin’ y’all!

 

***Thanks to this site for displaying this version of The Mother’s Day Proclamation