#MeToo – Breaking the Silence of Sexual Abuse
Eight years ago I turned fifty, left my marriage, sold my house in Texas, purged and packed my belongings in preparation for my move back to Orange County, California. It was then I ran across my 35-year-old college books. Perusing the titles raised a few smiles, and I simply couldn’t bring myself to place “Women in Business” in the trash pile. Memories came flooding back of a motivated if naïve 23-year old eager to start her career during a time when sexual harassment and sexual discrimination were the norm. (My experience was a bit different than most women.)
In 1982, I was a graduate student working on my MBA, fascinated with the study of organizational behavior and “women in the workforce”. That’s right! In 1982, at UCI Graduate School of Management a curriculum existed focused on “women in business” – a mindboggling notion apparently in need of careful study. After graduation, my recollections of sexual discrimination and harassment are countless, but more so in the sense of what I observed directed at other women than what was aimed at me. (Or so I thought).
In looking back, I realize that I had a knack for getting along with men in both social and professional settings. Working my way through college as a cocktail waitress taught me more about life and interpersonal behavior than I ever learned in a classroom. I had a front-row seat to the inner workings of a man’s brain. I learned how to talk to and engage with men to be included in their “boys clubs” when other women were not. I came to view sexual harassment as a normal part of life and work, and learned to deal with it jokingly. A skill my male counterparts seemingly favored. (I didn’t speak out). “Don’t rock the boat. Work it to your advantage” was my motto. (A great disservice to myself and to other women.)
The strong reaction I now feel towards the likes of Harvey Weinstein clearly demonstrates that I did not process my experience as well as I thought, and that I harbor deep resentment. The “inside jokes” I was included in left me sexually numb. It wasn’t until my fifties that I truly discovered my sensuality. I admire the women speaking out today, and am shocked to the extent that – in 2017 – we are still dealing with this issue. I am also encouraged by the outrage that so many men – sons, fathers and husbands – are starting to express concerning this topic. In today’s video, we discuss the long-term effects of sexual harassment on our overall sexual health, and hope you chime in with your thoughts and comments.