Me Too

It has been both comforting and chilling to see so many women sharing the status “Me too” on Twitter and Facebook. Here is my story.

As a woman who climbed the corporate ladder in banking in Denver, I know a little about sexual harassment and how some men use it to gain power over people.
I was working for a Canadian loan production office during a boom time in the oil and gas industry. Our bank financed two kinds of projects, large real estate developments and oil and gas exploration. I was the low man on the totem pole when it came to professional staff. At Christmas time, there are always lots of parties that bank officers are invited to attend. Since we worked with oil and gas companies, a lot of those parties were at the Petroleum Club.
One evening my boss and I decided to grab a quick meal downtown while waiting for the party at the Petroleum Club. This was pretty common practice for bankers, and was definitely not considered a date. While waiting for our dinner to arrive, my boss leaned across the table and said, “I want to fuck you.” I told him that he had a better chance of seeing God in the next 30 seconds.
That should have been the end of it, but the next time I came up for an employee appraisal, he wrote that it would be easier to train a monkey than it was to train me. Seeing the writing on the performance appraisal, I opted to find another employer. Fortunately I had lots of references who did not agree with this one man’s assessment.
I considered suing for sexual harassment, but decided that, for me, that was not the best decision. I still wanted to climb the corporate ladder, and getting a reputation as a “trouble maker” when all the corporate offices were manned by men would doom me. (See what I mean when I say it is about power? I allowed him to take my power away from me so that I could continue to eat regularly and live indoors.)
Fast forward a couple of months, and I was contacted by the Canadian bank’s attorney requesting an interview with me. The office manager had chosen a different route, and she was suing the bank for harassment. The attorney asked me if I had ever seen her being harassed. I told them that I had not, but that I could believe it happened, and then told him my story. The office manager settled for a six-figure amount in her suit against the bank–and this was over 30 years ago.
That isn’t the only story, but it is the only one I have with a happy ending.

About Ckonola

Retired banker, community and economic developer. Born in Deadwood, but raised in Colorado.

2 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    Nice. Like 90% of my female friends, and a couple of men, I have "me too" stories.

    They range from a man exposing himself to my 8 year old walking-home-from-church self

    to various grabs and gropes, lots of catcalls and whatnot on the street

    an attempted drag-in-the-bushes in City Park. He told me to "Be a Lady". I wasn't.

    Touching by a random cabin-sharer when I was camping with two other friends. I couldn't speak, kept shaking uncontrollably, didn't tell my friends in the morning.

    crude sexist and racist jokes, innuendo, naked pictures, chat about the size of a coworker's dick and whether that would "impress me". I don't think we even knew to call that sexual harassment or a hostile work environment back then. We tried to be "good sports", be one of the boys, laugh it off.  I told a shrink I fantasized about smashing all the windshields in the company garage. She told me I was borderline sociopathic. Thanks, lady.

    Right wing married "Christian" boss making sure I knew he was a believer in open marriage, and that some people had a wife and a girlfriend, "or maybe more". ( I was pregnant with my second child at the time and in a common law marriage). I was trying to keep my job and my salary at that time – I ended up suing and winning in a civil rights case when they tried to cut my hours and pay.

    and there's more….I don't feel like going into every detail in case somebody somewhere is getting off on this.

    This shit is real. Don't ever let anyone tell you it isn't. Mine is a normal female story, not even that horrible by some standards – no incest, no violent rape. It's that female tax we pay for all that supposed privilege of being "little ladies". 

    It takes what should be normal flirting and fun and the Goddess' gift of sexual energy and makes it into something shameful and dirty and gross. It's why I swore off men completely for years.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    Of all the stories I've been reading, the ones that bother me the most are the adult males doing ANYTHING to girls under 18. And my sense of outrage grows as the gap between 18 and the event lengthens.

    Somehow, someway, there needs to be an even more consistent ethic — kids should be allowed to be kids.

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