Sunday, July 19, 2009

When he wants you

I was 17 when my 27-year-old boss asked me on a date. Well, he didn't ask me directly. He asked the assistant manager to ask me. I politely declined. But that didn't end it. For the next several weeks my work experience alternated between awkward silences when the boss (who owned the store) was present and listening to him regale me and my fellow co-worker with stories of his latest affair with a married woman. In full, sexually explicit detail.

When I finally confessed to my parents, they refused to allow me to return. A policeman escorted me to collect my last paycheck.

It was one of a few brushes I've had in my adult life with sexual harassment. But it left a lifelong impression.

Recently I learned an article I wrote on sexual harassment received an award. Reading back over the stories women shared about their experiences with harassment, I'm struck again by the idea that so many women who still face uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations in the workplace.

Have you ever experienced sexual harassment? How did you handle it? And what advice would you give your mother, sister, or daughter?

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