Sexual Harassment Also Happens in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX — Sexual harassment is not just a Hollywood story. In fact, there seems to be no shortage of women in San Angelo who have experienced sexual harassment, whether it’s at work or in a social gathering.
The difficulty was finding women who were willing to talk about it. The reasons—fear of consequences, embarrassment, and isolation—seem to be universal.
But one woman who, quite frankly, didn’t come to the decision quickly or easily, decided to talk about their experiences as long as she weren’t identified.
Some of the remarks were in response to a question I would ask, but basically, I was just the transcriptionist, allowing these women to tell their story in their own way. Some passages might contain adult language.
Woman 1 is in her late 20s, and a graduate of Angelo State University.
“I was working for a businessman who had temporary offices here. He had a very outgoing personality. It was just a desk job. I was going to help write a little newsletter, and kind of keep up with secretarial stuff.
“Everything started out fine, and then touches became a little too much and for too long.
“Small touches. Hands on my back and back rubs, back massages, and things like that.
“He pulled me in really, really tight. I couldn’t move, and he would kiss around my face.
“And, so I left. I called the next day, after I had been there only a week, and I said I cannot come back to work.
“He wanted to know why because nothing seemed wrong, of course, to him.
“I never made a formal complaint. I was scared to. Anytime you put a complaint out against someone, especially if it’s sexual harassment, that’s the kind of thing that gets out.
“And when people hear about it, people talk about it, and I didn’t want to bring attention to the situation and [have] people calling me anything, making it look like I was enticing him.
“And then rumors are turned into more rumors, and it’s easier to remove yourself from a situation and just not deal with it anymore.
“And it’s an embarrassing situation to talk about. Even though you know you didn’t do anything wrong it’s an embarrassing issue to talk about, especially in cases that are more severe than mine.
“And you have to be willing to go for the long haul. Complaints can take a long time to resolve.”
[I thought] “maybe it will help me feel better if it just all goes away.”
“But then [after I quit ] I heard the same thing from other people about this same guy.”
“I’m not surprised that all these cases are coming out,” Woman 1 said.
“This is actually very, very common for men to do these types of things. It’s very common, no matter what circles you’re in.
“And I think we’re coming to a turning point where that should not ever be okay, or “something guys just do.
“When a woman acts like that she’s a slut, but for men it’s only ‘boys will be boys’.
“And I think pop culture depicts women in a certain sexual way that seems to be acceptable: tiny waist, big boobs. Even female superheroes have tiny waists and big boobs.
“It doesn’t always have to be about different genders either. It could be a girl making unwanted sexual advances toward another girl, or a guy doing the same thing to another guy,” she said.
But Woman 1 also talked about sexual harassment in situations other than the workplace.
“This was a couple of years ago, and I was with a couple of my friends and we went to a house party. My two friends were the only ones I knew there.
“We were standing outside and all the guys were just kind of talking, and a guy comes up behind me and grabbed my butt. And I turned around and looked at him and I told him “please don’t do that,’” she said.
“He did it two more times, and by the third time I was just mad and I felt like I had to get somebody else involved. I grabbed my friend and told him what happened and he calmly went over to the guy and pulled him aside and started talking to him.
“Then the guy actually came over and apologized to me. We left anyway.
“It was scary. A guy who’s very handsy like this, you don’t know how he’s going to react, especially with alcohol involved,” she said.
Why did you agree to do this?
“Hollywood is a long way from San Angelo, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen here. It does,” she said.
How would you react to that same thing today?
“I’m older and more mature, and I wouldn’t be afraid to call the guy out to the world if it happened again,” Woman 1 said.
We’ll publish Woman 2’s story next.