What you don’t understand

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was written by a Shinbone Star staff member who, given the nature of her experiences recounted here, wishes to remain anonymous.

I got up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday because I had a burning need to make a statement.

I’ve seen several women — and some men — questioning why millions of people marched in the Women’s March on Jan. 21. They say they don’t understand.

It was different for every person. For me, it wasn’t about abortion. I am not Native American. I’m not gay. I’m not a fast-food worker needing a higher wage.

If I had to name one reason I marched, it was because I was harassed as a young woman just out of college working at a newspaper far from home.

It was almost 30 years ago, but someone’s bragging about grabbing pussies brought it roaring back.

An older man who worked in the paper’s composing room would not leave me alone. He started getting too close physically, following me out to my car, asking me out to dinner. It happened on a regular basis. I always said no. A firm no. He kept doing it. I kept saying no.

I asked management for help. The managing editor said the guy was harmless. They declined to help me. No one would help me. No one could help me. I ended up leaving that paper, and that old stalker was one of the main reasons.

After the Predator-in-Chief’s pussy-grab tape was heard ‘round the world, I think a lot of women lost sleep. I did. I remember feeling helpless, unsafe, not respected, unheard. And I felt it again. Some women I know are experiencing rage and post-traumatic stress. We don’t understand how that man’s terrible behavior is acceptable, and how so many women could have voted for him.

Women have more rights in the workplace now. That old stalker would not have been allowed to harass me. But I worry for the young women growing up now, that they will not be protected, respected, allowed to live without fear of harassment.

I marched because some part of the trust women have in the goodness of society has been broken.

It doesn’t mean I don’t care about those other issues. People with differing concerns can support each other and become a force. It’s called intersectionality. And we have a new name for each other: re-sister.

If any woman still doesn’t understand why I marched, it’s OK. I marched for you.

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5 thoughts on “What you don’t understand

  1. Thanks for marching! It looks like we started in journalism around the same time, and the sexism was there every day. Not necessarily in the form of stalking or physical intimidation, but also in the types of stories that were assigned to the men vs. women, and definitely to the salaries, although many of us didn’t know that until it was too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. I think, no, I know, many men don’t have a clue about the things women have to suffer through in the workplace. Get a college degree, get a job and, there it is. Snide remarks, no congrats on a job well done, no encouragement, no path to a better job, no matter how many times you save the day at your job. Then you have the women who do have jobs above yours. Do they help? No, they are trying to hang on to their jobs. and sometimes treat you the same way. i guess that part is the same for men. No body wants a whippersnapper too close.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had no clue for a long time. Glimmers began to emerge when I met and, 45 years ago, married the love of my life. She was, and to this day remains an impetus to becoming aware of how tough it can be for some women in the workplace. Along came a daughter, and then another, and my eyes really began to see and my ears to hear. Even so, it always came as a surprise when, as a copy editor, I would compliment a reporter or offer just a word of advice or encouragement on a story she’d turned in and find myself very nearly stunned by how grateful they were. Basically, I always just tried to treat every woman I worked with as I’d want my wife, daughters, mother or sisters treated at their jobs. Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?

      Liked by 1 person

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