One of my dearest clients was in my office last week to discuss some financial planning, and as we began, she started crying. She had recently read one of my blogs and she’d also take one of my self defense courses.
As I pushed the tissue box towards her, I asked her in a muted voice, “what happened?” Slowly, she began to recover. She told me that upon finishing my self-defense class, she flashed back to a disturbing situation that had happened to her as a young woman in New York City.
The class opened up a “me too” moment for her. A colleague (a lecherous being) had approached her in the copy room. He began to rub up against her and touch her. She rebuffed the advances, cried out, and ran away but the scar has lived on for forty years.
She asked me if there was something more she could’ve done. She told me she was startled and had never been in that situation. Her colleague had profusely apologized the following day, and that was the end of it… for him. However, it wasn’t the end for her.
The incident left scars. She never again went into the copy room with someone else being there. She never stayed past her designated quitting time for fear of being alone without anyone to hear her. She had self doubt when she accepted his apology. As she was telling her story, she turned to look at me and asked if she should have accepted the apology.
Like many victims of this type of abuse, she blamed herself. Had she been more prepared, she would’ve been able to see it coming. Perhaps if she’d dressed less attractively, or acted less flirty, she wouldn’t have “invited” the advances of this man.
I gently told her that there was nothing she could’ve done to provoke his piggish behavior, so there was no way to be prepared. It had happened, and although she’d likely never be able to forgot the incident, she can be prepared now and make sure that her daughter and granddaughter are as well.
We hear about this type of behavior in men quite a bit in the news. As of lately, it seems we’re hearing about it every single day. But, what happens when there isn’t a new scandal to report? I’ve been around long enough to have seen the news cycles become passe and short-lived. Will these issues fall silent again? Will there be any interest when a young girl is molested by someone in a copy room? Will someone listen?
Maybe our New Year’s Resolutions this year shouldn’t be to lose that extra ten pounds or cut down on our drinking, but to make sure that this issue doesn’t go silent. Perhaps we should make sure that our families are prepared – both male and female – for bad behavior and to ensure that such behavior has intense and steep consequences. If this is the only resolutions we keep, then 2018 could be momentous.
Take my opinion for what it is, it’s just… AS I SEE IT!
Personal note: I would like to hear your stories. I want to be better able to teach my students and prepare them for a world that is in chaos. Please email them to me at email@example.com.