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Rarebear's avatar

Have you been sexually harassed in your work environment?

Asked by Rarebear (25159points) January 15th, 2016

If you are on Twitter, follow the hashtag #astroSH talking about sexual harassment in the astronomy community. Have you been sexually harassed in your work environment and do you care to share you stories?

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12 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Not for years now but yes, back in the late 70’s and early 80’s as a younger women I had many encounters with chauvinistic and armourous men in the work place, back when there was no such thing as sexual harassment or, if you dared to complain you would lose your job. I have been fondled, asked out by bosses, been propositioned with hints of promotions or bonuses, on & on.
One boss would routinely come by my desk at an insurance co. I worked for and “massage” my neck, lean in very close and make little moaning sounds into the back of my neck. Disgusting!

LuckyGuy's avatar

<—- Guy here.
I did not consider it harassment at the time. Back in the day (before the internet) I worked for a large corporation. The executive secretary would collect medical records and medical claims forms for filing with the insurance company.
After my 2nd child I had a vasectomy. I dutifully filed the insurance claim forms with “Mary” and went about my usual business.
Not too long after one of the women I worked with mentioned something a little more flirtatious than usual. It was clear she knew about the Vasectomy!
It turns out “Mary” kept a list of guys who had it done and regularly shared that info with some of the women in the department so they knew who was safe.

I didn’t complain. I don’t know if any guy complained.
But if that happened today there would be a lawsuit and the place would be shut down.

Seek's avatar

^ that sounds like the plot of an Enzyte commercial.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes and on a couple occasions. One girl would not leave me alone, told others we were screwing when we were not, demanded her “pre-shift hug” and other bullshit like that. When I kept rejecting her it just got worse. Complete fucking psycho. When it was brought up nothing was done so I ended up leaving the company.

The other time was em..voluntary. My girlfriend at the time was the shift supervisor and we would roll play. God I miss that woman. Only serious relationship I have had other than my wife.

canidmajor's avatar

In the 70s and early 80s, constantly. It was way more about power than attractiveness, and I lost a couple of jobs because I wouldn’t sleep with a supervisor or boss. I was fortunate in that I could afford to move on, and I always made sure, upon leaving, that everyone knew that was why I had left.
What an obnoxious (and for some women who were less fortunate than I, difficult) time.

Zaku's avatar

@LuckyGuy Interesting. I’m a guy too, and have never been sexually harassed per se in the workplace. However there were some men whose behavior was inappropriate and was disturbing to be around.

* The case that reminds me the most of yours, LuckyGuy, and makes me think it’s probably a too common thing, was the time I worked in Human Resources for one day. It was supposed to be a probably permanent job, but the veteran I joined in the Human Resources information center was extremely inappropriate. He gossiped nearly non-stop about all the cases he felt were entertaining in the company’s records, talking about people with sex-changes and other private situations. When I told him I was married, he went on about how “oh that must be amazing to be able to have sex all the time”... all of it made me uncomfortable, but supposedly I was to continue to work with this person in a small room going forward. Then he left for lunch without really training me, and I had to answer the phone, and I admitted to callers it was my first day, and forwarded a call or two.

I’m not sure why I was told I shouldn’t come back the next day. It could have been my call forwards, or my saying it was my first day, or possibly either because my co-worker didn’t like the way I wasn’t into his gossip, or perhaps even that it was a perverted test to see if I’d report the inappropriate gossip. Whatever the reason was, I was relieved to be out of there!

* Other cases were male-dominated workplaces where men would make very crude remarks about women or other inappropriate talk, generally in all-male company. It was disturbing to essentially be required to be a party to that and not complain, or risk professional consequences.

All minuscule potatoes, I realize, in comparison to being a woman around such behavior, or to be targeted for harassment or unwanted aggressive advances.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. I’m not a woman men try to victimize, but I hear gross shit from men at my workplace all the time. They are just talking to each other, but I don’t want to hear about how all guys just need, and I quote, ”... food, a suck and a fuck.”

One attorney is gross flirty with an employee, but she doesn’t care; we’ve asked. The women talk about it and we are uncomfortable when it happens.

JLeslie's avatar


But, when I was 20 something, it wasn’t uncommon for men over 50 to say inappropriate things. I don’t remember any employees doing it, but some customers did. Now, those men would be in their 70’s and 80’s.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seek Understand that I did not say a thing about it or participate in any activity that would warrant such behavior. The comments she (and others at different times) made were along the lines of “It’s all for fun now.”
I worked deep in the electronics labs where 100% were Y chromosome holders. We didn’t see females until we got into the office area or cafeteria. How did they know?, I wondered. I sure as heck didn’t bring something like that up in conversation.
And then I figured it out! I was mortified until….

I discovered something else. A quiet guy, in reasonable shape, with a good job and education, and shoots only blanks, is right at the top of the desirability pile – even if he is married and has 2 kids – Heck even if She is married and has 2 kids!

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

I worked at a gentlemen’s club in Las Vegas when I was 18. One night when everyone was leaving for the evening one of the lead bouncers and I were the last to leave the building. He sat on a bar stool and asked for me to come over. He pulled out his penis and started to masturbate. He told me I had to watch or he would lie to our boss and say I came in late and was doing coke. I was afraid so I did what I was told. It was one of the most disgusting moments of my life.

I told our boss the next day. Actually, I told a few of the girls and they approached our boss. The bouncer was moved to another club they owned.

I was living out of a motel room paying nightly so I really needed the money, but I ended up quitting that job. I couldn’t go back. I didn’t want to go back.

Some would say it comes with the territory when working at such a place.

Seek's avatar

@LuckyGuy – oh sure. You could have easily been the village bicycle.

gods, I hate office culture.

Judi's avatar

Back in the 70’s and 80’s I was for sure. The worst thing that still happens is that when I am firm, and set expectations, I sometimes get feedback that I am not being nice. Excuse me, but if a man had high expectations and set up systems to make sure they were being met he would be praised. No one would be telling him to be nicer.
But the best compliment I ever got was from a female employee who was asked to describe me in one sentence.
“Judi is kind, but don’t mistake her kindness for weakness.”

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