by Elle Angel
Step #1. Acknowledge that It is Your Fault
This won’t be hard. You will have a team of people to support you called the Human Resources Department (HR). Don’t be fooled by the word “human.” Their treatment of you will be anything but. They will work to accelerate the acknowledgement of blame process by asking you a series of leading questions. I’ve compiled some HR questions to serve as examples of what to expect.
HR: What were you wearing when you claim he stared at your legs? A skirt or pants?
If you wore a skirt, game over, slut, you were asking for it. Your answer is always “pants.” Don’t feel bad if it’s a lie. HR is going to do a lot of lying on your boss’s behalf.
HR: Where were you sitting when he said that?
Similar to the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham, WSH can occur anywhere: Here, there, everywhere, in a house, by a mouse, in a car, by a park, during a meeting, in an inappropriate greeting. I rode with my boss and a co-worker to a conference when he shared that oysters made him so horny he tired his wife out during sex. HR’s logical follow up question revealed that it was my fault for accepting a ride with him. At least I sat in the backseat. Front seat = whore.
HR: Did you send a group text about restaurants?
HR will comb through every text and email you sent your boss to show that you provoked the inappropriate comments. Expect questions such as, “Did you send a text about bringing doughnuts to a meeting?” Everyone knows that if your boss was truly a harasser, you would never communicate with him even though you work for him and he controls your paycheck. It’s ok for your boss to connect his sexual life to oysters IF you sent a group text suggesting restaurants for lunch.
HR: What do you think he was trying to convey?
HR needs to reveal the altruistic motivations behind your boss’s sexually explicit remarks. My boss asked me, “What would you do if you went camping with two other guys and woke up with a used condom in your ass?” I told him I didn’t know, and he revealed this gem: “There is no good answer because if you tell, everyone knows, and if you don’t tell than the guy who did it thinks you liked it.” HR called this the “camping scenario,” a fresh rebrand on what I called the “anal rape scenario.” They claimed he was making a point about locker-room bullying. I can think of better ways to address it, but I’m a skirt-wearing whore who rides with her boss to conferences, so what do I know?
Step #2: Realize that Your Voice does NOT Matter
HR: Did you tell anyone else?
It only takes one man to sexually harass a woman, but it takes at least ten women to prove it. If it’s just your story, HR will assume it’s the usual “he said, she lied” routine. Documentation isn’t enough. Instead, they will rely on the opinions of people who depend on your boss for their livelihood. Expect your colleagues to say things like, “It was just lighthearted fun” or “He’s a jokester, and she was in on the joke.” Consider providing clear physical and verbal clues for co-workers like shoving your boss and screaming, “You are making me fucking uncomfortable!” Otherwise, people are left deciding which side to take, and your side doesn’t pay the bills.
Step #3: Be Prepared to Leave
HR: What do you want out of this?
Awwww, they do care? Nope, they’re trying to avoid a discrimination lawsuit.
Remember the song, “Should I stay or should I go?” by The Clash? Those are your real choices. You might think, “But if I didn’t do anything wrong, why would I have to go?” Because silly, what’s the alternative? Firing your boss? Don’t make me laugh-cry. Your company can’t ruin someone’s career because you decided to tattle about “unprofessional behavior.” They will displace you instead. Maybe you will decide to leave your current role, building, or even industry completely. The career-damaging options are endless.
Confused? Think of the expression, “A bird in the hand is worth at least two in the bush” or as I like to put it, “A man in the hand is worth at least ten women in the bush,” meaning that it’s better to hold onto something you have rather than take the risk of losing it for something better. In this case, why risk losing a system that’s been working for men for years simply for the sake of women?