noun: sexual harassment
1. harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks
Millions of women throughout the world had their voices heard following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The so-called, “Me Too” movement erupted across the internet as women spoke out against sexual harassment and abuse. I thought long and hard about this movement and knew I had a story just as much as any other women. Why do we live in world like this? Why are we subject to sexual harassment when we pursue our dreams and try to become something great in this world? I may never have the answers, but here’s my own, Me Too story.
Thursday rolled around like any other week. I was driving to work awaiting my morning yoga class. Many times I told me class that they were by far my favorite class to teach. Everyone in the room was at least 50 years old and I could always teach my favorite style of yoga, gentle, to accompany their energy. I went into work, did my usual workout and then headed into the studio to teach class. 8:29 am rolled around and only one student was present. For the sake of my story, we’ll call him Richard. I told him we would carry on rain or shine.
Things were going as planned until I noticed something unusual. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Richard’s phone appeared to be facing right at me. He noticed my curious look and told me he was taking a video for his friend. I asked why and he said because he wanted his friend to come meet his sexy yoga instructor. I was uncomfortable at this point but I was almost done teaching and decided to brush it off.
Post class, I was packing up my things when Richard started up a conversation. He commented on my sexy ass numerous times and nervously laughed it off. I was so uncomfortable at this point and shocked that this was happening to me. We had many conversations in the past, but nothing like this. They were normal. He was always giving me financial advice. Always telling me to invest now so that I could be set for retirement.
The conversation simmered down momentarily as he changed the subject to his work life and his girlfriend. I thought things were in the clear and then things got worse. He told me that he and his girlfriend were looking for a young girl to pay to “come hang out with them.” The chills went straight up my spine. I politely told him I was engaged. But he egged on insisting that he could pay me well. I promptly told him I was running late for work and I would see him next week.
I spent the whole day at work with this incident on my mind. Why the hell did this happen? Had anyone else taken the class, would this have happened? Why did I let him talk to me that way? I felt sick, angry and sad. This wasn’t the first incident I’d encountered with men trying to hit on me on work and it probably wouldn’t be the last. But I knew I needed to speak up for myself. The following Thursday, I went into work and reported the incident. I told them I refused to teach class to a single student and that it was the best for my personal safety.
Ladies, if you’ve encountered a situation with a person who makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to not only share your story but speak up for yourself. Tell your manager, a co-worker, a family member or someone you trust if you don’t feel comfortable talking to that person. This type of behavior is unacceptable and should NOT be tolerated by anyone, man or women.
Instead, remember your power, confidence and all of the abundance you hold in your life. Remember your worth and be fair to yourself by taking action against people who make you feel less than you are about yourself.
Because, YOU ARE WORTH IT.