Editor, The News:
Cheryl Ashlie notes that there is ‘an older demographic within the workforce who were raised to tolerate’ sexual misconduct and harassment within and outside the workplace.
It was not only that we were raised to tolerate sexual and harassing behaviour. The general consensus was that females who were the subject of assaults and sexual taunts had ‘asked for it.’
It was not that some males were perverts or just generally had a lack of any respect for females. It was commonly accepted by men and women alike that the females who experienced that kind of behaviour must have enticed and encouraged the men’s bad behaviour towards them.
It was commonly accepted that a woman who was raped must have ‘deserved’ it.
I was in my mid-teens when I was grabbed from behind by a stranger. Fortunately it was only a ‘grab’ and nothing worse, although I was terrified it would become a rape.
Once I escaped and ran home, my thoughts were not ‘pervert’ or ‘assault.’ I questioned myself, asking if my top was too tight, or my skirt too short, or if I had wiggled my bum as I walked home.
I had been raised to think it must have been my fault that a stranger had grabbed me, and that I needed to alter my own appearance or behaviour so it did not happen again.
I was so ashamed that I had been somehow acting like one of ‘those girls’ that I never told my parents about the attack, because it was my fault the attack happened.
I never told my husband after I was married, because it was my fault the attack happened.
It was years and years before I told anyone about that man, pervert that he was. Because it was not ‘my fault’ that the attack happened, and now I know that.
Ms. Ashlie is unfortunately correct when she said ‘you would be hard pressed to find an adult woman who has not had their own experience with sexual harassment, or does not know a woman who has.’
Definitely time for a change. #MeToo.