Thursday, November 2, 2017

Me, Too

I was nineteen and working at a small, family owned, grocery store as a cashier. He was a stock guy, and he scared the daylights out of me.

Every day, at work, he would ask me out, and every day I would turn him down. Day after day after day this went on. Until, after turning him down yet again, he grabbed me by the arm and said, "You don't understand - I get what I want and right now I want you." I jerked my arm away and said something back to him like, "Well that's not going to happen," and went back to work. 

Later that night, when the store closed at eleven, I started walking home. It wasn't far, maybe a mile or so, on well-lit, streets. All was well until I was walking onto the porch of my house and I realized someone was walking toward the house from down the street. It was him; he had followed me home. And now, he knew where I lived. Oh crap. As you can imagine, I didn't sleep much that night. Luckily I lived with lots of other people, so I was rarely in the building alone.

The next day (after arranging with a friend to come walk me home) I went into work early. I took the owner aside and asked if he had a few minutes to meet with me. We sat in his office; he chain-smoked while I broke down into tears and told him everything. I'll never forget his response to me. He took a long draw on his cigarette, exhaled slowly and said, "Go home. Don't worry, I'll take care of everything."

The next day, when I arrived for my shift,  Creepy Stock Guy wasn't there; nor was him name on the new schedule posted on the wall. The owner took me aside later, "He won't bother you again," he said, "In fact, if you even see him around town again, let me know."  Despite only having worked there for a month or so, I hugged him. I was so appreciative of his support. To this day I have no idea what my boss said to the guy who followed me home. Thankfully I never saw him again.

"If all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too' as a status, we might give everyone a sense of the magnitude of the problem." - Alyssa Milano


kate (on the other island) said...

Thank you for sharing this, Liz. So glad you had a boss who listened.

Suzanne said...

Voicing the problem brings it out of the shadows and lets everyone see it for what it is....Thanks for sharing this post.

Bridget said...

I wish that had been the response of my employer. Instead the creepy manager was assigned to my small department because that way management only had to deal with the complaints of 4 hysterical women instead of the 200 he had previously supervised...and the company wondered why I didn't stay. This wasn't the only assault in my life. I hope it will be different for my daughters but I don't see it as our current leaders think as long as they find a "safe" spot for their daughters they don't have to look out for some one else's daughters. How mistaken they are!!