Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sexual Harassment - My Story

As a young bride, I took a job babysitting one Saturday evening. My husband was working that evening. When the woman came home and paid me, I left for my apartment. I noticed a car was staying even with mine in the lane next to me. If I slowed down, so did the other driver. If I sped up, so did he. I was scared. It was close to midnight. I tried to figure out what to do. As I neared the turn to reach my apartment, I decided to abruptly turn without signaling or slowing. It worked briefly as the other driver had to go down to another block to turn. That gave me enough time to get into my drive and inside the door to our duplex apartment. I called to my husband who'd just gotten home. The man in the other car had found my car and was idling in the middle of the street. My husband took my keys and ran to our car. The other guy took off with my husband in pursuit. I waited at our apartment for what seemed like forever. (No cell phones back then.) When my husband returned, he told me that as he was following the man, he saw a police car and he flashed his headlights to catch the policeman's attention. Eventually, the cop pulled over the other driver. My husband pulled over and confronted the man. He told the cop and my husband that he thought I was the lady I had babysat for and that she was trying to ditch him. My husband saw the man's ID and told me his name. He was a teacher and powerful union member in our community. So it was a case of mistaken identity. But, it still was a very scary experience.

My second story was truly a story of a powerful man who used his position to try to seduce me. He was my principal and I was a first year teacher. He called me into his office one day. I thought we were discussing my upcoming evaluation. But, no, not this time. This time he wanted to tell me about the dreams he was having about me. I told him I didn't want to hear about his dreams but if he really wanted to tell me, I'd need to have my husband present. I guess that was a good response because he didn't pursue it again. But, later that year his wife who also worked in our building accused me and another first year teacher of having interest in her husband.

Men who have power often feel they can do what they want. They use their positions to intimidate people who don't have the same level of authority.

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