Oct. 9, 2017

It's not okay...

Their names have been changed because they are innocent. We seem to live in a culture wanting to label them as troublemakers.

Joy graduated from high school and secured a good-paying job just outside of downtown Houston. She was excited to be starting her life as a contributing adult. One day, she was alone in the copy room making copies. An older salesman came up behind her pressing his body into hers, pinning her up against the copier. He whispered in her ear, “Why the engagement ring? You’re too young to get married.” He laid a $100 bill on the copier and left the room without another word. She reported the incident to her immediate supervisor and was told, “He is just a man. That’s how they are.” Joy made certain she was never alone in the parking lot, in the copy room, or in the office. She sent the $100 bill back to the man in an inner office envelope. He was 37. She was 18.

Kelly was a successful business woman. She was educated and experienced in hospital administration. The hospital corporation she worked for transferred a man into her department. While they were equal on the organizational chart, he always made sure she knew he was “superior” by his derogatory remarks in front of her employees or by whistling when she walked in the office each morning. To avoid confrontation, Kelly tried to ignore the man’s behavior. One day he asked her, “What cologne are you wearing?” She did not answer, but a coworker said, “It smells like Victoria Secret’s Rapture.” He leaned over her desk nose to nose and said, “Victoria’s Secret and rapture. Two of my favorite things.” She immediately called the man on his behavior and reported the conversation to her superiors. The investigation ran its course. He denied all charges and whined that he was happily married saying his reputation was marred. The employer ruled against the man and for the woman only because two women in the same office came forward anonymously collaborating her story.

Joy and Kelly are made up names but the stories are real accounts of real women. There are thousands of stories just like these experiences. It happens to women everywhere every day. While the days of a male-dominated workforce disappears, these issues remain hidden to protect men’s careers. Very few people care about the disrespect shown towards women. The lower a woman is on the pay scale, the less likely she will report sexual harassment.

If you think women need to develop thicker skin, you might try explaining that to your daughters and granddaughters. Otherwise, they are going to face the same treatment in the workplace until people, like us, stand up for the right side of morality.

Boys will be boys until they are held accountable and expected to act like a man. If grown men are still living with a locker-room mentality, it’s time for them to grow up. Women are getting stronger because people, like us, are listening.