What she said: The Conspiracy of Silence #MeToo, October 18, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1108)

With all of the current outrage, openness, and solidarity among women about the need to speak up and be heard, I was quite struck by blogger friend Esther’s own account of what she experienced in her essay on her Book of Esther blog, “The Conspiracy of Silence #MeToo“.

And her essay inspired me to also say out loud, #MeToo.  My remarks on Esther’s blog appear below:

Hi Esther, Thanks so much for sharing your awful experiences with us. That had to have been tough. Big Hugs! Grati

For me–and yes, “me, too”, unfortunately–even the label of “sexual harrassment” hasn’t been around for that long, let alone the concept, maybe 10 to 15 years. And that is a problem when trying to make colleagues (often male) understand why it is wrong.

Nor have the more recent business policies “to try” to address the need to create a less hostile work environment–or even just a walking around in the world less hostile environment–have not been able to make many improvements.

Over the years/decades, I have spoken up and spoken out against harrassment, bullying, etc., as a private person–and I have been retaliated against. But I never backed down, nor let them think that their behavior was acceptable–however much I privately cringed with each instance, and the renewed shock that it happened again. And when other women needed or need protection, I have given it–often literally standing up to the harrasser for that other woman who is still in shock that this type of behavior goes on, with misogyny as one of its root causes.

Because make no mistake, harrassment isn’t about sex, or beauty, or a boys will be boys mentality–it’s about power and attempting to diminish the dignity of another person, often women. And that is simply not acceptable.

So when people in charge (above our “paygrade”) continue to make excuses for their harrassing colleagues–which only enables the harrassers to continue their harrassing behaviors–the situation for women doesn’t remove or even alleviate the harrassment.

However, I am surrounded by many more men–including my wonderful hubby–who are the good guys. Which give me hope. And this new grass roots initiative by women public figures–and the rest of us chiming in– is a good start to raising the awareness and the need for change in our society.

And I’m heartened to read about women and girls standing up for each other–and the call for “good” men and boys to stand up for women and girls–against harrassment and assault, etc. Because if not now, when?

P.S. Sorry for my long comment, but I had to get it off my chest.

And Esther’s remarks were prompted by an essay by Guylty: Me Too, [And I am neither an actor nor pretty].

Esther’s and Guylty’s and my stories are just the tip of the iceberg. And we have not shared all of it yet–at least in my case.  Yet we are strong and resilient women, as are you.

So I hope that by my standing with these and other women and sharing a bit of my story, that will help bring the issue of harrassment even more into the open to be discussed and dealt with.  If not for my benefit, for the benefit of women who come after me in the workplace and beyond.

Hugs & Love!   Grati

P.S. And on a related note of solidarity, if I could “take a knee” and be assured that I would be able to literally get back up again–given my arthritis and herniated discs–I would.  I am also inspired by Colin Kaepernick’s respectful protests.

About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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6 Responses to What she said: The Conspiracy of Silence #MeToo, October 18, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1108)

  1. Wendy says:

    Grati Thank you thank you I so agree with your words I have not had time to read Gulty and Esthers blog. I worked at a leading research university interacting with over 200 researchers. My girls as I called them were often subjected to various advancements by young and old academics. It was made worse by the fact that some of the team were from Asian countries in their 1st jobs quite often I had to speak with the academics not pleasant at times. Because I am a strong person I was called Madame Hitler once again offensive. I fully support ME TO in my name and the younger women I mentored in the past.BTW I am woman was one of my favourite songs at women’s rallies Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Wendy,
      Thanks so much for your kind comment about my post and your sharing your own awful experiences. It is not easy to lay bare our souls, but it also cathartic–helping us to take power over what happened to us. And Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” song was also one of my favorites.
      Hugs & Love! Grati ;->

      Like

  2. Esther says:

    Thanks for sharing as well and for all you do to combat this, Grati! And thanks for the link-love and your kind words. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. October 18-19, 2017– Thanks for voting/ starring my Post #1108! I’m glad that you liked it!
    Hugs & Love! Grati ;-)

    SueBC, jholland, & discovermarche

    Like

  4. My now having had a chance to read Guylty’s essay about women being harrassed and her own story, I have more that I wish to share with you about my story:

    Dear Guylty,

    Thank you for sharing and illuminating situations that others might not have recognized as harrassment–or did and felt demeaned and embarrassed, amongst other self blaming emotions.

    So speaking of even a little bit of the harrassment and bullying, etc., that we as women have experienced lets us take back a piece of our dignity, of our wanting to feel safe, of our power.

    I was blessed that my childhood did not have the experiences that you suffered through. And yet, when I went “into the wider world” in college, I experienced what I now perceive as clear examples of men exerting their power over me and others. The following recollection is one example of being harassed:

    1) such as the teacher who required women to wear dresses to the 4 day a week class for a teaching methods class for future teachers, when women in other classes/sections were wearing jeans or pants, otherwise the teacher would belittle us in class; he said that women did not look professional in pants; I felt this was wrong, but had no power to change this dynamic of this classroom; the teacher also imposed his control over the one guy in the class by insisting he wear a shirt and tie; the 16 of us in this small class section tried to switch to a new sections, but were prevented from doing so because our teacher’s colleagues didn’t want to seem to poach their colleague’s students; so we were subjected to relentless 4 days a week criticism of every aspect of our person (from our attire, to how we sat in the chair, to even him chastising my friend in the class for chewing gum, all under the guise of making us more professional as future teachers; as you might imagine, my teaching evaluation comments laid everything out that had happened to us, but nothing was ever done about that teacher (mind you, he was a teaching methods teacher), and he was still teaching even a few years ago;

    2) and when I had applied for a teaching job after graduating with my education degree, the superintendent of the school I was applying to (and my interviewing with the superintendant meant that I had passed the earlier interviews with the teachers and principals with flying colors) asked what I thought about my former teacher, and I told him what that teacher did to us (perhaps I should have omitted my comment that my methods teacher had taught me what a bad teacher was and to never use him as a positive example of teaching); the superintendant laughed, saying that the teacher was ex military, as if that explained everything; needless to say, I did not get that teaching job that fit me and I fit the position perfectly; no, the teaching position was given to the 2nd and younger trophy wife of a university professor, and she didn’t even do the school extra curricular position that was essential to this particular teacher hiring; the department head who wanted to hire me apologized profusely to me, wrung his hands, and vented his own frustration with the situation; but, I still didn’t have a job; And I had to come up with a plan B, and I went to graduate school for my masters degree that would lead me away from 6-12 teaching, and into university teaching;

    3) the final and wholly unexpected interaction that I had with my former teacher occurred several years ago in the middle of my doctoral studies class work, a bit before I took and passed my doctoral comps (I am currently ABD due to my health issues getting in the way of my finishing for now); I was one of several select doctoral students inducted into the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi at my university; however, it was not until the ceremony itself that I realized that my former teacher was the faculty advisor for the honor society and that he would be giving me my pin after I crossed the stage to him to receive my gold pin symbolizing my being a member of this august group, and I had to shake his hand; I was a long married lady by then and my hubby was supportively in the auditorium cheering me on; my husband’s presence was most likely the only thing that helped me hold it together, maintain my composure, and proceed with the “ritual” of induction; but my frozen smile upon crossing that stage must have seemed to my former teacher like stage fright on my part; of course he did not recognize me, even though my maiden name is part of my married name (though I don’t hyphenate it); it had been over twenty years since he had been my teacher;

    You know, I take back that my hubby being there at my education honor society induction ceremony was the only thing holding me together–though it helped. Because in the intervening twenty years from my bachelor’s degree to my doctoral degree, I had launched myself into various social justice initiatives–especially surrounding women’s issues–and I even earned a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies as a prelude to my beginning my doctoral studies. I was no longer that shocked and stunned twenty year old undergraduate. I maintained my composure–I did–because I had achieved a level of education and professional respect that my former teacher had alluded would never be in my future. And he no longer controlled me. I controlled myself.

    Writing this recollection has been very cathartic for me, and helped me realize some insights about what might have helped begin my awakening to gender and social justice movements. And like the Helen Reddy song, “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore”.

    Like

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