This, by far, will be the hardest piece I’ll ever write. Much harder even than my post on divorce. I am crying as I even begin to type it. I have never wanted to write about it until now for fear of the repercussions. What I’m talking about is assault and sexual harassment. I guess the reason I’ve been so afraid of writing about it until now is that I dared to sue my assailant years ago, and when I was discussing this with friends at a party, one of my friend’s mothers actually said to me, “Wow, in my day, we appreciated a little slap on the ass and went about our day.” I’m not even kidding. That comment has stuck with me every day. The shame and belittlement I felt was astounding. And I know so many people who have felt the same.
If you haven’t seen it yet, a woman named Kelly Oxford opened up a conversation on Twitter asking for stories of women being groped and assaulted. She received two tweets per second and, last I checked, she had close to ten million examples. TEN MILLION, people!
I have honestly been sexually harassed for as long as I can remember. It began with teachers in seventh grade, one of whom decided to “help” me fix a cuff on my bermuda shorts (hey, they were in at the time) and another who commented to my parents on the phone during a call about my school progress about how “stunning” I was. I was in seventh grade. Who does that? I did not want to go back to school after that as, every time I locked eyes with him, I got the creeps.
In graduate school, I began getting cold sores due to stress and my boss and head of my department said I should probably keep my number of sexual partners to a minimum. About ten years later, I was summoned to court to testify in a trial he was in for sexual harassment.
In my first job out of college, I was so badly sexually harassed that I cried every night after work. I only told my mom, as my dad had worked for the company for over 20 years and I didn’t want him to get in trouble. It came from a few different directions (including my manager) but one of my co-workers was so vulgar with me that it was truly terrifying. I’ll never forget the day that I wore a dress on the train to downtown Chicago and hadn’t realized until I got to the city that I forgot to wear a slip underneath it. The dress was quite sheer and I knew this would be trouble. I called my mom in tears and she said, “I saw you leave the house. You have a blazer on over it. You’ll be fine.” When I stood in front of the man I’m referring to, he said to me, “Holy shit. You should wear that dress while you cook a meal for your boyfriend and ‘accidentally’ forget to wear your panties.” This is only one of the many comments he made to me like that. I have always been a “guy’s girl.” At many points in my life, I’ve had more guy friends than girlfriends. I’ve always wondered whether this is why I have been the target of so many comments like this but, still, just because I’m not easily offended doesn’t mean you can talk to me that way. Absolutely not.
In my first job after moving to San Diego, a coworker asked if I wanted to work out with him in the morning with him one day before work. I thought it was weird but I said okay, as we worked out at the same gym anyway. He said we could even commute together into work. I saw the red flags, especially since this guy was married, but I have never been good at saying, “No.” I’m too polite. That is and always has been a problem for me. On the way into work, he told me how unhappy he was in his marriage. I knew this was trouble and was getting so nervous. Fortunately, that’s all that happened on the drive into work. On the way back to our cars after work, however, he tried to, as Trump might put it, “grab me by the pussy.” I was driving! I pushed his hand away and wanted to die on the spot. I just couldn’t believe this was happening to me again.
The next day, he and I were the only ones in the office in the morning, and he sent me a note that said, “I’m sorry for trying to touch you.” But the harassment continued in every way. What was worse was he eventually became my boss. It was during this period that he once told me that I smelled so good that he wanted to eat me. He also took me to lunch one day and said that he’d “take care of me” if I took care of him. I didn’t know how much more I could take.
What was interesting is it wasn’t me who blew the whistle. It was a co-worker at our VERY small recruiting firm. He typed up a letter of resignation and left a copy on each of our desks, including the owner of the firm. In sum, it said, “I can no longer stand by and watch the disgustingly blatant sexual harassment of Marnie Sloan. I quit.”
The owner feigned absolute shock and tried to get me to stay there that day when the only other person in the office would have been the person who tried to assault me! Um, no, guy. Needless to say, I left. And when he demanded I come back to work without firing this asshole, I sued them.
It only gets worse from here. The deposition was just like something out of a bad legal TV show. I was berated, belittled, and accused. I was asked about my clothing, my drinking habits, and whether I smoked pot. I can only imagine that this is how a rape victim feels, but I’m sure it’s far, far worse. I was not allowed to have my mom in there with me for support, as that was deemed unfair. I was sneered at by my attacker right in the face. I was verbally harassed by the opposing lawyer. And we lost. We had emails. We had witnesses. We had the resignation letter. And WE FUCKING LOST. A few weeks later, I was asked to repay his court costs. I’m not even kidding you.
This man’s name is KEVIN RANDALL. He used to live in Vista, CA. I’ve tried to find him online several times since then. His wife’s name was Linda Randall. I highly doubt they are still married but, if they are, I feel so sorry for her. He was a former Marine. What a disgrace to that branch of service. He had kids, which disgusts me. He once told me that his son’s noisy toy was annoying him so badly that he ripped the head off of it and laughed while his son cried. He is a MONSTER. If you ever see him, run, don’t walk, in the other direction.
Last week, I took an uber home by myself. The male driver said to me, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you smell amazing.” It was a compliment, I know, but it struck fear into my very being. I was alone in the car. I was at his mercy. I wouldn’t have minded in another setting and would have probably been excited to hear it, but not in your car, sir. Not when you have the upper hand. Don’t do it again.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I have at least 20 more examples of stuff like this. I could probably write a book, but why bother? Now you might understand the venom I have for Donald “Grab Her By The Pussy” Trump. He, too, is a monster, and the only office he should hold is kitchen supervisor in prison.