Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Is that Sexual Harassment?


Stock photo I found on Pinterest.



One day this week I wore an ensemble not unlike the one pictured above.  Very similar, in fact.  Classic.  Business-like.  Appropriate office attire. Not especially provocative.

I was told by Mr. Keep-Away, “That outfit looks good on you.”  Then he proceeded to say, “It…well…I better not say what I was thinking.”

No, perhaps not.

But then he just wouldn’t let it go.

Last week I could hear him the next office over, playing keep-away with my co-worker, asking her if she was going to kiss him for “doing her a favor”(not really, he was just doing his damn job).  I cringed.

He has already remarked about the clothes I wear, “hitting all the right places.”

Later, another male co-worker, Mr. Regional Salesman, remarked on my appearance in front of another male co-worker, Mr. General Manager.  “You look good, Ruth. Oh, wait, is that sexual harassment or something?  I’m just old school.”

Then he looks at Mr. GM and says, “Is that sexual harassment?”

I think, “Probably not until you made it about sexual harassment.”  Meanwhile I’m also wondering what it means that he’s “old-school.”  Does he mean old-school as in when sexual harassment was perfectly acceptable and even expected in an office situation?

Mr. GM says, “That all depends on whether she’s offended by it or not.”

Why in my mind is there a vast difference between, “You look good,” and “You look nice?”

There’s just something in the connotation.  Are you sitting down to a porterhouse steak?

I laugh it off, “It all depends on whether you’re looking at me like you’re about to eat a pork chop or not.”

Mr. Keep-Away always looks like he’s about to eat a pork chop without his hands.

Even the Controller has made remarks both positive and negative about the attractiveness or lack thereof of the women who work here.

I was just making conversation one day and remarked that I’d like to meet a woman who works in a satellite office.  She’s a hoot, but I’ve only spoken with her on the phone.  I’ve never met her face to face.  His remark:  “You haven’t missed much.  She looks like Receptionist, only bigger, if you can imagine it.”

Me:  “Pardon?”

Controller:  “I’m just telling you what she looks like.”

No.  No, you’re not.  You’re being a sexist jackass.

Me:  “What does that have to do with me wanting to meet her?”

In a separate conversation about exercise, he commented that he goes to the gym.  I just said that I’d never exercise if I had to go somewhere to do it.  I run because I can just lace-up and go.  He made some offhand remark about me not needing to lose weight(is that the purpose of exercise?), but that he couldn’t really comment on it because he could get into trouble.

Why did it even need to go there?

The thing is, women are expected to just laugh it off.  We’re in a catch 22.  Yes, there are laws against sexual harassment, but if you file a complaint then you’re a problem.  A troublemaker.  A whiner. Suddenly your performance is scrutinized and the next thing you know you’re looking for another job.  Yet, if you don’t file a complaint you’re seen as complicit.  How can it be sexual harassment if you don’t complain?

Do you know what I have never.ever. heard?  Any of the women in this office say anything like any of this to or about the men who work here.

Is sexism systemic?  Noooo…can’t be.  There are laws against it.


My Two Cents

This, my friends, is why I have not gotten involved in any social media wars about the upcoming train wreck we are calling a Presidential election in this country.


I see in my social media feed many who are one issue voters, find “The Biblical Argument for ________” candidate, and generally speaking, people who have their minds made up and have an ax to grind against political party a or b.

Frankly, I’m very discouraged.  I don’t want Hillary Clinton – not because I think she’s the devil, but for the very same reason I believe to be behind the inaction and stagnancy in Washington now.  The Republicans seem to oppose anything remotely envisioned by the Democrats.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s good for our country or not.  Yes, we have a two party system so that the views of all the people are represented, but surely there have to causes and issues that are bipartisan in nature.

I loathe the very idea of Donald Trump as president.  He is not good for our country.  This can be seen in the very visceral divide between his staunch supporters and anyone who disagrees.

Because of where I live most of the people I know back the Republican platform, even if they don’t like Trump himself, and will be voting that direction.

Yesterday, one of my social media acquaintances expressed that he would feel the election is rigged if Donald Trump doesn’t win because nobody he knows is voting for Hillary Clinton.  As if all the people he knows represents the entire population.

Honestly, here, people are a little afraid to say they’re voting for the Democratic nominee because of the backlash, the barrage of insults, the fearmongering, and the belittling simply because one party has a different vision for our country than the other.

When there have been back and forth…em…debates?..about who should be president it turns ugly quickly.  Nobody is listening, they’re only formulating responses, insulting each other, and there is seemingly no common ground. I’m hoping that there is a silent majority out there who isn’t towing some party line, who just wants what’s best for the country, and who doesn’t really give two damns whether an idea is Republican or Democrat, only that it’s good.

I wish our country had better to offer than the two leading candidates.  I even considered third party candidates.  It’s hard to take someone seriously if they don’t even know who the leader of North Korea is.  It’s one thing to be Libertarian and believe that the U.S. shouldn’t be intervening in international conflict as much as we do or that we shouldn’t be trying to topple leaders and overturn regimes, but it’s inexcusable not to know anything about what’s going on in the world.  Even if your foreign policy is one of minding our own business we’ve got to know how the hell to make that happen since we’re already involved.

I’m looking down ballot.  The president can only do so much through executive order, so regardless which candidate is elected, unless we can get past the bipartisan bickering and actually come to some kind of compromise we’ll go another, at lease four, and more likely eight years of this same divisive rhetoric we’ve had over the last several years.

It’s disheartening to say the least. Maybe Victoria was right.  Maybe we are going down the crapper.  Too bad shit floats. When the nuclear fallout settles we’ll have nothing left but cockroaches.



Have you ever been sexually assaulted?


This post will be a safe zone.  I normally do not agree with censorship but as I will be asking for commentary about very a very sensitive issue I will not allow assault or rape apologetics to remain.  Nor will I tolerate any belittling or insensitive remarks toward anyone sharing their own experience.

The U.S. Department of Justice defines it this way:

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient*. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling*, and attempted rape.

I don’t think a lot of people think of groping or fondling as sexual assault. Sure, it’s unacceptable.  It’s definitely an invasion of personal space. But is it assault?

It most assuredly is.

These types of assaults go largely unreported.  Unless you’re raped it hardly seems an emergency to dial 911. Most don’t think of being groped as a form of violence.

I’m conducting a completely unscientific poll to see how many of you, dear readers, male or female, have been sexually assaulted in any of the ways described by the U.S. Department of Justice.  If you feel comfortable please share your experience in the comments below.



*Emphasis mine