Just Because It’s One

To people I’ve seen questioning Anthony Rapp’s story (you have every right to question but here’s what I’ve seen as your points):

1. Apparently because there is only him talking about what happened and not a slew of people like Weinstein that makes it less plausible? Makes it less important?

2. Also there actually are more people than just him who have Spacey stories of their own. Not hard to find.

3. If your argument is that because it’s only one person coming forward that he’s more likely lying I’ll say this, from the research I’ve done only 2-4% of people who come forward about sexual violence incidents are lying. Just 2-4% so frankly I’m tired of seeing that as people’s go to response to this kind of thing.

I’ve known too many people who have been sexually abused or assaulted just for people to say they are lying or they are misremembering. People around the accused have made too many bullshit excuses trying to justify what happened. So forgive me if my initial response is to believe the person coming forward about the abuse/assault.

Continuing on I’ve seen a couple people say that the justice system is the only one that should have a say in this matter. They say let’s let them handle the situation. Here’s what I say to that: clearly you have not seen how the justice system treats victims of abuse personally. But I have. My friend went to the police about being sexually abused as a child. They had an investigation, great right? Wrong. Want to know what the investigation consisted of??? One talk. One talk with the accused. How in the fuck does that count as an investigation. Maybe you are saying to yourself, well if there was no proof…but let me direct you to the Brock Turner case. I’m guessing everyone is at least slightly familiar with the case but let me refresh your memory. There were witnesses, evidence. Yet he was only sentenced to 6 months prison time instead of the 10 years he should have been. Because he is a star athlete and he was drunk which is apparently a valid excuse for assaulting someone. Did I mention she also got victim blamed because she was drunk. So what’s her fault is his excuse. Makes sense. That case is just one example. Bottom line is this, the justice system that is currently in place favours the accused, especially in a situation that is older. They have the victim recite time after time what happened to them, yet are satisfied with the accused saying they didn’t do it. And that’s it. So ya I’m annoyed when people use this line of letting the justice system handle it. I’m sure many survivors of abuse would be more than happy to tell you how wrong you are and how well the justice system treated them.

Here is a link to an article on how even after the case is taken to court the system still stacks up against victims putting them through even more hell.

How The Justice System Fails Victims Of Child Abuse

“We [in society] generally don’t second-guess people who say that they were burglarized or say that their car was stolen or who say that they were assaulted, but we absolutely second-guess people that claim that they were sexually assaulted,” former special victims prosecutor Roger Canaff told Rewire in a phone interview. “We either are skeptical of the truth of the allegation or we look to blame that person.”

“[Victims] may fear skepticism and abuse from police, prosecutors, or juries; they may not want to go through the ordeal of a long trial; they may fear retaliation from their assailant, who will most likely not end up prosecuted, let alone convicted; and they may be hesitant to send their assailants to prison. But even survivors who do report to the police are often abandoned by the system.”

Rewire News- Victims Failed By Criminal Justice System

Advertisements

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace 

*Names have been changed

Here is a story I’ve been wanting to share for awhile now. I wrote this back in October of 2015 and I now finally feel ready to share.

I was hired by Wendell Albright and his wife when I was about 19; it was my first real job. My mom actually got me the job as she knew the Albrights from working in the mall as well. The store I worked at, Agenda Squad, was a fairly easy retail gig. However, during this time I was going through and extremely deep episode of depression and was trying to cope with that as well as my anxiety. So what would be an easy gig for most, wasn’t so much for me. I was pretty quiet and reserved and I think Wendell liked that as I was never a threat to him and I wasn’t going to try to take over his job. I think as a man in his late 70s/early 80s he was fearful of someone swooping up his job. I should also mention there was shady shit going on with his paychecks, in the way that they were put under his wife’s name so he could still get his pension. I didn’t find this out till much later.
I didn’t see much wrong in his management style. He was pretty laid back and he loved to hear himself talk, which at the time was fine by me. The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the fact that he was always flirting with a young, blonde female, around my age, who worked at a another store nearby. It was uncomfortable to hear him making sexual innuendos and jokes with her. She’d go alone with it, I’m not sure why. Could’ve been a number of reasons but whatever it was she was right there joking along.
The first few months I worked at the Agenda Squad I didn’t say anything about the inappropriate behaviour especially, as I recall, it didn’t involve me. But when I came back to work for Wendell a couple years later, it did. I was about 21 when I came back to work for Wendell at Agenda Squad, and I was less timid than before…and then it began. There were jokes he made on a frequent basis such as “if I was 22 or 23 than we would definitely date”. When he was talking about his trips to Florida he’d say “you could come down too and we could go in the hot tub together”. He’d also mention trips in general that we could take together, “we could get a hotel room with one bed and share it”. These kinds of things went on for the 2 more years I worked for him, thankfully we didn’t have shifts together every day but when we did this was the shit I put up with. One of my personal favourites was to do with a child’s tutu we sold in the store for which he came up with a great idea, “you can wear the tutu with nothing else and stand at the front of the store”. There were also a couple ‘brushes’ against my breasts and ass, and one very deliberate hand on my ass when he was recounting a story, for a coworker, about his wife.
This guy was a grade A scumbag, and I didn’t do anything about it. He would constantly ask about my romantic life and want to know creepy details. I also witnessed him talking to female customers and “joking” that he was their boyfriend, to which some would laugh and go along with it, probably because he was so old and presumably harmless. There were a few customers who were visibly uncomfortable by the “jokes”, but he never caught on or if he did, it didn’t stop him.
As I dealt with his lewd behaviour more and more I would try to shut down his advances. For example if he said “we could share a hotel bed”, I’d say we would have separate rooms, or not go on a trip together at all. It slowed him down but he kept up the inappropriate behaviour. I’m not sure if I realized at the time that all his behaviour constituted sexual harassment. I’m sure it crossed my mind but other than complaining about it at home or to friends, I didn’t say anything cause I wasn’t sure. I also needed the money. But I think if you have to ask yourself the question “is it sexual harassment?”, you probably already know the answer.
Towards the end of my time at Agenda Squad I noticed his pattern of hiring young, quiet females grew. He openly said to me “I liked you better where you were quiet.” He was threatened by me as I began doing more things at work than he was, and I was essentially doing his job better by taking more initiatives, (this is a whole other story though). It wasn’t the first time this had happened with an employee. It went on with my coworker and close friend Joan as well, not that long before, (coincidence that this was also a female employee?). Wendell had put her in charge of running Agenda Squad at another location. There she managed the store with no need for him, and more efficiently too. He was threatened and began talking shit and blatantly lying about her behind her back. Eventually him and his wife just stopped giving her shifts. Also a tidbit about his wife, she’d stopped working in the store and was only doing the schedule from home, which she was doing a terrible job of. For example she’d put someone in for a shift on a day they specifically told her they couldn’t work, or she’d change the schedule and shifts without letting anyone know.
Wendell was not only guilty of sexual harassment but was also a bigot, racist, misogynistic, sizist, homophobe, and any other negative “-ists” you can think of. He would make comments about customers like “she is way too fat to wear that”, “I’m definitely not attracted to that, look how she dresses”, “he should go back to his own country”, “oh that kid is going to have a horrible life growing up with two moms”, and so on and so forth. I tried to stand up for people when he’d say things like this behind their backs. Sometimes subtly disagreeing with him, and sometimes I’d just flat out tell him was being racist, homophobic, etc. I found it much easier to stand up for other people than myself.
I think some people make excuses for elderly folks when they’re being intolerant because “they grew up in a different time”, but I don’t agree with making excuses for them. Sure they grew up in a different time but that shouldn’t mean that they are exempt from respecting others and treating them with kindness and dignity. Being old doesn’t give you permission to be an asshole, and being a young woman doesn’t mean you have to keep your mouth shut and take it.

I guess writing this is my way of finally standing up for myself. I hope no other young women have to suffer his harassment, although unfortunately, they probably have.
If you or someone you know is being sexually harassed at work, or by someone in a position of power, I encourage you to speak up. You might get shut down but it’s the only way things will change. Have the courage to do what I couldn’t do then.

It does make me feel somewhat comforted to know that who I am now would never let someone treat her this way.

Thanks for reading,
Cheers xo

We Rise We Rise We Rise
We hold our fists
high in the air, together
We Rise
We join in the fight
we fight for our rights
and the rights of those
whose voices can’t be heard
We Rise
We share our strength,
stretch it out to those
who are feeling weak,
no matter our differences
We Rise
We speak the names of those
who have fought and
lost their lives
We Rise
We make changes
so our children can grow up
in a world better
than the one we did,
one where compassion and
empathy
surround us,
a more tolerant and loving world
We Rise

Women’s Issues List (I’m sure there’s more)

I wrote the following few posts while listening to/watching the live feed of the Women’s March in DC on 21 January 2017. I wrote it all at once but it seemed to divide itself into separate sub topics or rhythms, so it ended up being multiple poems in one. I will be sharing these in more than one post so it’s not crazy long but once I’ve shared them all feel free to go back over them and read them all together.  Since I was writing this while listening to speakers there are definitely ideas and phrases that inspired me in this. I was sad and kind of upset with myself that I wasn’t able to go Washington DC for this march, or even Toronto because I know how important of an event it is. There were a few reasons I didn’t go but I am so proud that it happened and that so many cities across the world joined in. It’s a sad state things are in right now but seeing so many people coming together for this was so cool and inspiring. I have a lot more to say (and a lot more to learn) about these topics and ideas, and I will most likely revisit them in future writings.
The first thing I wrote was this list, inspired by Kamala Harris’ speech at the Women’s March in DC.

If anyone asks you what women’s issues are…

World Issues = Women’s Issues
Xenophobia = Women’s Issues
Gun Control = Women’s Issues
Equal Pay = Women’s Issues
Environmentalism = Women’s Issues
Native American Rights = Women’s Issues
Marriage Equality = Women’s Issues
Economy = Women’s Issues
Immigration = Women’s Issues
Black Lives Matter Movement = Women’s Issues
Education = Women’s Issues
Reproductive Health, ProChoice Movement, and Affordable Birth Control = Women’s Issues
Political Corruption =  Women’s Issues
Islamophobia = Women’s Issues
International Relationships = Women’s Issues
Poverty and Homelessness = Women’s Issues
Mental Health = Women’s Issues
Freedom of Religion = Women’s Issues
Sexism = Women’s Issues
World Issues = Women’s Issues
Animal Rights = Women’s Issues
LGBTQ+ = Women’s Issues
Racism = Women’s Issues
Affordable Health Care = Women’s Issues
Sexual Violence, Assault, and Abuse = Women’s Issues
Rights of Disabled People = Women’s Issues
World Peace, World Hunger, Human Rights, Civil Rights, Freedom, Hope, Love, Empathy = All Women’s Issues