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Susan Williamson – Me Too or Not (thoughts about sexual harassment)

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I am glad that so many women are speaking out about and against sexual harassment. However, I can’t help but think many are jumping on the bandwagon without a case.

As a female agricultural graduate, I’ve worked with many men and I never endured a harassment situation. This brings the question, why? Was I not attractive enough?

I did have one male supervisor ask me out. He called after hours, made clear that his call was not work related and asked me to join him for a drink. He was in fact prepared to drive thirty miles to pick me up, thirty more miles to go somewhere where we could have a drink (I lived in a dry county) and sixty miles round trip to return me home. I declined, but I didn’t feel harassed, I felt flattered. And I wasn’t totally surprised. We had been at a meeting earlier that day and I did notice his gaze straying to my legs, which were flattered by my favorite red heels. He never asked again and our relationship continued to be cordial and professional.

I have been the victim of sexual discrimination in terms of job applications, loan applications and other life situations, but that is a totally different thing.

I am lucky in that I never had to leave a job because of unwelcome attention. I wonder though, if what some would call good natured teasing might be considered harassment by others. There is a very fine line.

And while I have never been of the “blame the victim” mentality, I do think that one’s attire and deportment can send mixed signals. I don’t think I ‘m a prude, but thigh high skirts and prominent cleavage in the work place cause me concern.

I suspect there are men who have also been sexually harassed by both male and female supervisors, but our culture being as it is, are less likely to come forward.

So I applaud the women who have come forward and try to limit any skepticism as I have not walked in their shoes.

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