In the year following Harvey Weinstein being sent to jail, legal cases regarding allegations of sexual harassment skyrocketed, seeing a more than 50 percent increase compared to 2017. But the reality is that sexual harassment has been going strong for as long as the sexes have existed. The only thing that changed after Weinstein went to jail was that victims finally felt that the world cared, and if they said something, they might actually be heard and something could be done about it. The surge in filings in 2018 only showed us how many people had remained silent until then.
I was watching an episode of Cheers recently, and it was the episode when one of Rebecca Howe’s bosses at corporate asks her to dinner and she doesn’t know what to do. She spends the entire episode coming up with excuses, making up a boyfriend who doesn’t exist, and finding every possible lie to get out of it. But the moment the proposition is out there – the moment the boss expresses sexual interest in Rebecca – the problem becomes hers. The idea was that once a man in power expresses interest in a woman, she’s screwed, and her career fate is in the hands of that man. It seems crazy in today’s world to think that the woman wouldn’t just march to HR and file a complaint. But then again, this was many years ago, and many of us can probably say that, before the #MeToo movement, we tolerated behaviors because we either didn’t know they were wrong, didn’t want the trouble that could come with speaking up, or didn’t feel it was serious enough to do anything about. Looking back, here are some things you may experienced with men that you may have let go of then, but wouldn’t keep quiet about now.
Ignoring your physical cues
I met one guy on a dating app when I was single. On our second date, we had several drinks at a small party at his house and wound up making out in his room. He kept trying to shove his hand down my pants, and I’d quickly pull it out. He tried over and over again. He was a lot stronger than me, so it started to make me uncomfortable. But also, some part of me thought, “Well, guys will take their shots. That’s just what they do,” and I continued making out with him, even though that unwanted advance kept occurring. Looking back, I realize how incredibly not okay it was that he ignored my very obvious physical cue of removing his hand from my pants. Not only had I not expressed interest in taking things to the next level with him, I’d expressed, physically, a blatant desire to not go there, but he kept trying anyway.