“‘No’ is a complete sentence.”
"A customer said, 'It makes my dick hard to watch you work on my truck.' I replied, “That line doesn’t only not work on a real woman - you sound like a rapist. You don't know me; do NOT talk to me like that. It's disgusting. I bet you're the guy sending dick pics nobody wants." He got all offended, said he was just trying to give me a compliment. I refused to work until he left me alone. It takes a LOT to offend me, but OMG - that pissed me right off! I couldn’t go to my boss – he encouraged that behavior, hell, he participated in it! Offered me $50 if he could touch my ass. He would tell ladies that they’d die in a wreck unless they got a $400 brake job… but he’d offer discounts for a blowjob. That job was a shitshow, but it was a steppingstone and created my armor. They are very much out of business now."
Texas, 40 years old
The constant rumors of sleeping around – and of course sleeping with supervisors to get job statements. My supervisor once told me, “The only way to keep your job is to go spread your legs like a good girl.” I spread my legs for no one! I went to HR, and they moved him to a different shop.
Oregon, 37 years old
"All my situations happened in school. Besides, rumors being spread that I was exchanging sexual favors for grades, there was one time that lewd comments were made while I was looking under a vehicle on a lift. When I spoke up, I was chastised for 'making it easy by opening myself up to the comments.' By doing what… my job? Paying attention? Trying to learn?"
Tennessee, 24 years old
"My co-worker who sexually harassed and assaulted me daily. I’d worked there for a year before he was hired – I loved my job! But I only made it four months working with him. It started benign enough, as a shop joke about his “crush,” but it got worse, and even though I told him to stop, he acted like it was a joke.
I dreaded going to work. My painting suffered, so I got passed over for a painter position. I barely ate for months. The best part: this guy had already been to prison TWICE for sexual assault!
His harassment ranged from detailed instructions on how my husband could please me in bed - to talking about my "sexy little ass" while trying to lift my shirt from behind. He’d whistle when I walked by. While I was getting tools out of my toolbox, he would stand so close behind me that I would have to bump into him. He’d follow me into the back rooms (where there were no cameras) and corner me.
One day, in front of three other co-workers, he grabbed my leg and nearly slid his hand up my shorts. When I jerked away from him, he did it again! I jumped out of my seat, got in my car and left. None of my co-workers even reacted! They all saw it – and just sat there! Afterwards, a couple of them told the boss, who knew this guy was a problem and fired him... only to immediately hire him back because "he said he was sorry and wouldn't do it again."
The guys were pissed at him for three whole days. By the following week, everyone was buddy-buddy again. I felt ashamed, scared, betrayed. And so angry! I didn't stick around much longer after that – I couldn’t work for a boss who would fire someone who sexually assaulted me and then re-hired him out of pity. My co-workers claimed I was “just being dramatic.” The worst part: this has affected how I interact with men – my husband and our four sons shouldn’t have to deal with an anxious, traumatized spouse/mother.
On a positive note: my current boss is awesome. I’d told him about this situation, and a while ago, he met the guy who had been harassing me, who asked my boss, “Are you fucking her?” and “Is she struggling at your shop?” My boss responded, “No, she’s awesome and a great painter – she has no problem keeping up with our two body men.'"
North Carolina, 40 years old
“If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.”
“A genuine male victim tends to feel sympathy for abused women & support their cause. The Victim, on the other hand, often says that women exaggerate or fabricate their claims of abuse or insists that men are abused just as much as women are.”
“Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.”
Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
“Not all men are actual rapists. Some are rape apologists. Some tell rape jokes. Some are victim blamers. Some are silent.”
“Through action, man becomes a hero.”
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.”
“It is not the intelligent woman v. the ignorant woman; nor the white woman v. the black, the brown, and the red, it is not even the cause of woman v. man. Nay, ‘tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice.”
Anna Julia Cooper
This creepy customer comes around and flirts with our service writer. Once, he commented on what a nice ass she had...it was weird. Thank God he still thinks I'm a guy - due to my hair being tied up and my rather scrawny figure!
New York, 31 years old
I was told that I could be a problem because of sexual harassment. OMFG, I am a freakin' grandmother!! But if the MEN are the ones causing the harassment, doesn't that reflect more on them than the women they harass??
Washington, 52 years old
The lead painter would bipolar his way between professing his love for me and creepily noticing all my physical traits, to lashing out and criticizing my errors to everyone. I was on eggshells. Everyone thought we were sleeping together< despite my clear hatred of him. I just did my job so I could learn and get the fuck out of there, rather than punch him in the face every day. I’m in a better place now.
California, 43 years old
I had a supervisor rub my shoulders while I was filling out notes on a repair order. He said, “You feel good but could feel better.” I was one of several calls that went into our local labor board, and he was fired for a whole host of unbelievable behaviors. I didn’t feel safe; if those calls hadn’t worked, I wasn’t sure what else I was going to do, except go somewhere else, but I still needed to get my apprenticeship paperwork.
Ontario (Canada), 30 years old
“You should take off your hoodie - it’s covering up your assets.” 🙄
North Carolina, 42 years old
I was sexually assaulted by a customer MULTIPLE TIMES and my shop didn’t do SHIT to prevent it.
Michigan, 26 years old
A co-worker felt up my thigh while I was putting a front clip on a shelf. At a different job, I had a boss tell me to install a pole in the booth since I was “dancing like a stripper” while painting. Another time, he told me I was acting like a heifer. I told him the comments were inappropriate and not appreciated since I deserved to be treated better.
Texas, 37 years old
"You wanna shine my chrome?" *eyebrow waggle*
"Don't be surprised if you never get your ticket."
"Who did you fuck to get this job?"
"Are all female mechanics dykes?"
"What do you expect? You work with men." (After requesting they stop playing rape anthems in the shop.)
I also had my crotch grabbed once, by a customer, while changing a diesel fuel filter on a Duramax. I donkey kicked him in the chest out of sheer terror, and he tried to have me fired. Instead, my boss offered to let me charge him with sexual battery and then fired him as a customer. Eventually, I quit the trade.
Alberta, Canada, 45 years old
“The words and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.”
“A little bit of rape is good for a man’s soul.”
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Todd Akin, 2012
“If rape is inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”
"When a politician says yes, he means maybe, when he says maybe, he means no, and if he says no, he's not a politician. When a lady says no, she means maybe, when she says maybe, she means yes, and if she says yes, she's not a lady."