One Man’s Story…
[The names and places have been deleted from this story in order to protect the person sharing it. By scrubbing these details, I hope that this will help us all to focus on becoming aware of the behavior and on learning ways to cope with the pain/shame/hurt and deal appropriately with the behavior.]
“I was sexually harassed at work for a year or so when I was about 19 years old. I worked at a high end restaurant in the southwest as a busboy, dishwasher, and prep-cook.
[Name], the 50ish year old weekend head chef, was always groping me. I did not even realize it was groping. I had no understanding of homosexuality as it was not in my reality. He was always putting his hands in the area around my waist and getting his fingers under my clothes. He never went for my crotch though. It was weird, but I never thought much of it as I had no understanding or even awareness of homosexuals. I was raised in a very sheltered household in a suburb of a large northeast city. Our family moved to the southwest in 1975 for my senior year in high school. I got the job at the restaurant near the end of my senior year.
One night after work, [Name] and I went out for drinks. This was standard practice for our restaurant and the industry in general. Sometimes we went out in large groups. Sometimes just a few of us. In this case, it was just [Name] and me. He drove. After a few drinks, we went back to his car and he started touch me in a different way than what he did in the kitchen. It was subtle for the first minute or so, just covering my hand with his. As he became more bold and aggressive, I finally realized he wanted more and I was not at all willing. He started to grab me, putting his hands around my neck and also reaching for my crotch. He tried to pull me closer to him so he could kiss me. I can still see his tongue sticking out of his mouth. He kept saying that he loved me. I was strong enough to defend myself. I did not try to hurt him. I just defended myself. I did not scream in fear or to frighten him off. I just continued to push him away. After a bit, he realized I was not going to allow his advances. He drove me back to our restaurant so I could ride my bike home. As I left the car, he told me that he loved me and asked if I was OK. I don’t recall my response, but at that point I was a bit freaked out.
I saw him the next weekend at work and he again asked if I was OK. I told him yes. He never touched me again. A year or so later, I was with a few other co-workers and we began talking about [Name]. I was not the only victim. As far as I know, nobody every turned him in to the authorities.
Ever since the car incident, I have had a deep connection to date rape victims. I was confident in the car that he could not get his way with me. That confidence came from my physical strength and just enough mental strength to be willing to defend myself from a friend’s unwanted advances. Sadly, I did not have the strength, courage or wisdom to turn him in.
That is one of my stories.”
To the author from me, thank you for your courage to share!
To the readers, do you have a story to share?