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Use Your Voice!!

Hello Readers!

I am so excited to be writing for ShoutOut! I wanted to start my first post with something personal to me that I think finally has an outlet. I have not told this story to many people and one of our fellow bloggers tohellwithsugarandspice gave me the idea to speak out when she shared her story! Before I begin, I want to discuss briefly what I have noticed about the difficulties of speaking out and standing up for what you believe in. Finding your voice and a power within yourself is hard, especially for women! Situations like the one I am about to describe do not make it any easier. When you know what you SHOULD be saying or what you WANT to be doing, sometimes you find that you don’t have the ability.The power of this man and the inequality in the situation made it hard for me to stick to my values.

Speak Up!! I can't hear you!!

So, let me stop yapping and tell the story.

About a year ago, I was interning for a local establishment that had to do with psychology and counseling (my major). The head of the establishment (literally the head of everything) was my boss. He was about 40 years old at the time and I was 21. I had heard about how he went to the graduate school I wanted to attend and how respected he was in the counseling world. I was so excited to work with him and to learn all I could from the experience. It started out great and I knew I had done well enough for him to write me a letter of recommendation. However, one day, that all changed. My boss sat me down in his office (separate from everyone else) and proceeded to hit on me and tell me he wanted to take me out for drinks on Valentine’s Day. He also bought me a box of chocolates with the words “Tease Me” on it (vom). He would tell me how “hot” he thought I was and how he dates younger women all the time. He said since I was a “volunteer” intern our relationship was okay to take to the next level. UM NO!

I stayed at the internship because I wanted him to think well of me. What I felt I should have done, was stand up for myself and say no and possibly leave the internship. I was later mad at myself for not doing that and felt ashamed. However, I realized, that in those types of situations, the power difference and pressure to not cause a scene is very strong.

So from now on, for all my future blog posts, I will be sharing my voice and opinions with others. I am hoping blogs like this will eventually lead all women to find their voice and stand up to that man in their office who thinks it’s okay to buy them a box of chocolates with seductive words on it WHEN THEY ARE NOT DATING!

What do you all think I should have done? Is this a lose-lose situation for all women (and men in some cases)?

6 Responses to “Use Your Voice!!”

  1. Brooklyn Steele

    This is such a hard decision. You don’t want to seem like you are the type of person to let a man to whatever he wants to you, but at the same time when they have authority over you at a job, what do you do?? Quit the job because of one person? I feel like either way the man still wins.

    Reply
    • cpowell92

      That is how I felt about it! No matter what I wanted to do I felt like I couldn’t do it because of the power he had over the situation and me. Also, never having been in this situation I had always felt that if this happened to me I would just be able to deal with it and get over it easily. However, for a while after I just felt really violated and gross about the whole situation and it was a bit harder to deal with then I had expected!

      Reply
  2. ladylikesailormouth

    That is such a shitty situation and I’m sorry you had to experience that :/ But in response to Brooklyn’s comment as well, it almost reminds me a blog a read once featuring stories I heard of gay workers at Chik-fil-a. So many people would say to them, “Why would you work somewhere where the people hate you?” or similar statements, but they would say- well its better than being unemployed. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.
    Power distance can create those catch 22 situations for women where we don’t feel we have choice. I’m excited to read more of your blog posts to see if we can keep talking about these issues to create ways for women to not feel “stuck” in a job where they aren’t treated equally and with respect.

    Reply
    • cpowell92

      It really is a tough situation like you said! I feel like some people just have to distance themselves from “wrongness” of it all or else they won’t be able to live with themselves (maybe in the case of the Chik-fil-a workers). I feel like that is what many people do. Downplay the situation and tell themselves it isn’t a big deal in order to go about the day. That is why blogs like this and the one you described are so important because it can help people realize that some situations are just wrong and shouldn’t be ignored even if it is uncomfortable talking about it.

      Reply
  3. Erika Pacelli

    I can appreciate the turmoil you experienced. Needless to say this kind of male behavior has been going on for centuries and there is hardly a woman who has not experienced this. But one thing puzzles me, namely, how did you handle the situation? What approach did you use so that you could finish your internship unharmed?

    Reply
    • cpowell92

      Very good question! I actually decided to tell someone about it who was working alongside my boss at the time and he promised not to make a big deal out of it. At the same time he wanted me to know that he supported me. I did not wish to share much of this information with anyone because I wanted to get in and out of the internship in a professional and drama-free manner. I think this was one of my regrets in that I really did nothing to help anyone in the future who might receive this kind of treatment from my boss. I think talking to the other co-worker was the best idea I had at the time because at least someone else was there to help me in case I needed it and it wouldn’t just be my word against my boss’s if it came down to it. Talking to a few of my family and friends also helped because I received a lot of different advice and was able to cope and get through the internship without too much emotional damage. However, I did not wish to tell a lot of people because I found it embarrassing. You are correct in that this situation happens all the time which is sad to say. What I have learned from this experience is not to let it happen to me again no matter what actions I need to take. This kind of behavior will never cease if it is never opposed. Therefore I will be doing a lot of opposing in my future if necessary! 🙂

      Reply

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