Most of my life I have been oblivious to sexual harassment going on around me or within my environments. The following events are my sum total of direct knowledge in this area.
- The army sent me to Germany after Vietnam where I drank and ate way too much. At one party a fellow soldier, Roger, made a rather direct pass at me while we both drank. I was shocked, surprised and stunned. Did I look gay? It hurt my feelings as I thought he was a friend and I had so few friends. I ran out of the club and got a cab back to the barracks. He followed me into the barracks and up four flights of stairs. My saying NO was apparently was not loud and clear enough. I kept running and lost him that night. The next day he approached me and said he could recall nothing from the night before. I left it at that. Shortly thereafter he approached the wrong guy and that dude and his friends put him in the hospital. After he recovered he was discharged from the army. I felt guilty for not warning or reminding him that our fellow soldiers would do that to him and that the army would discharge him for being homosexual. I wondered if I had punched him would that have gotten the message across with less severe consequences to him. (1960s)
- I went on a date with Charlene and we both got smashed at dinner. I drove us to her place and we should have taken a cab. Once there we started kissing on her bed and she suddenly became semi-conscious. She was a looker and had a reputation of being a “free spirt”. For a few seconds I considered pursing the intended course of action as her “no” was not very forceful. Instead I took off her shoes and pulled the bed cover over her. I drove home drunk which was stupid and scary, should have crashed on her couch. She never said a word about our date to me or as far as I know to our mutual friends. We also never had another date or talked about our one date. I wish I had warned her to be more aware but it did not occur to me. (1970s)
- When I was working at Blue Cross this very attractive young lady started there as an Auditor I. Pam was also smart and she left her job as a cocktail witness (took a pay cut in changing careers) to go back to St. Mary’s College to get her degree. She had been working at Blue Cross for about six months when she was assigned to Stan and me for her first Medicare audit of a big hospital. We were surprised to discover how little she had learned in six months of training and working in the office. She told us that she had no training but that the supervisor kept her in his office and spent his time (and hers) talking about work, his bad marriage and asking her to have sex, which she said she refused. She said this often happened at the bars where she had worked but she did not know how to handle this with a professional person who was also her supervisor. We told her she should tell Human Resources or the Director of the Audit Department about the sexual harassment. She did not want to and would not because she felt it would hurt her while she was at Blue Cross and after. Stan and I should have informed HR or the Director of the situation. Pam stayed at Blue Cross three or four years and left for a hospital job. The last I heard she was a CFO at a hospital in Washington State. (1980s)
I never had an awareness, training or education about sexual harassment. It would have helped me and others if I had.