Me Too: Every Woman Has A Story About Sexual Harassment. This Is Mine

By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Oct. 19, 2017, at 11:07 a.m.

#Me Too.

This time last year there was a hue and cry over an audio recording of now-President Trump speaking in rather derogatory terms about things he has done to women in the past. It opened the door to many stories about women claiming to have been harassed, assaulted and grabbed by the president. Much of the country believed the women and demanded Trump’s head. Much of the country dismissed his comments as “locker room talk” that commonly occurs with men and dismissed the accusations by the women as partisan attacks. But it started a dialogue. Women began to talk about the harassment or assault they had experienced at the hands of powerful men. I was one of the women who shared my story publicly for the first time on Facebook.

I was 23-years old in my first job at the Michigan State Capitol. I was bright-eyed and probably a little naive having recently graduated from a strict, religious university. I joined some of my colleagues at a bar where they were having drinks with some state senators. As the evening progressed I found myself sitting next to a senator, someone I knew but didn’t work for. I was turned away talking to someone on the other side of me when I felt the senator’s hand go up my skirt and grab me by the (well, you get the picture). I was stunned. I turned back and he simply withdrew his hand and went on talking to someone across the table.

As I felt the hot tears welling in my eyes I excused myself and left the bar. When I was alone the tears poured down my face. I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought about telling my sister who worked with me. I thought about telling my boss who was another senator. But in the end, like so many other women, I chose to remain silent. Why? Because in that moment, it was all a bit fuzzy. Had I done something to “ask for it”? Was I flirting and inviting that behavior? He wasn’t someone I was attracted to in any way, so I didn’t imagine I was intentionally “asking for it,” but was I sending the wrong signals? Then I began to worry that if I said something it might turn into a scandal and I might be involved in bringing down a Republican senator. Would that mark me as someone less committed to the party cause? Would I be seen as the girl that tattles and tells? Would I be seen as some kind of prude that can’t hack it with the guys? I had so many questions and not enough answers. So I said nothing.  Read More