The Stories About Men We Never Tell



In the weeks since Harvey Weinstein (and Matt Lauer and Louis C.K. and Mario Batali and Charlie Rose and Russell Simons and Roy Price and Garrison Keillor ad infinitum) every woman i do know has been questioning their past interactions with men within the workplace: that comment that made you are feeling uncomfortable for hours, days, months after it had been made...should you have reported it? that point your boss touched you at the office holiday party...did you are doing something that made him think that you simply wanted that? once you turned down his advances...and then were never promoted...was that why?
We all have these stories. But we never shared them because it’s safer to not dig deeper, to not question, to not risk your career. Because reporting harassment features a direct negative impact on a woman’s career, to not mention the devastating effects on her emotional and psychological well-being. Because we didn't think they were bad enough.

Today we are sharing our stories.


Over the past month, ELLE.com has been gathering stories of harassment and abuse that happen within the workplace. and that we will keep collecting them throughout the year. When these stories are seen en bloc it’s clear that the matter is widespread—that there's a pervasive culture of toxic masculinity and rape that keeps women from speaking up, from advancing, and ultimately from disrupting the facility imbalance. It also emboldens men to stay behaving badly. Have a read, why don’t you Matt Damon?

I was about five years out of college when I was offered a role at a big digital agency in New York to help lead the social media practice. It was quite a promotion, and allowed me to consult on a number of high level projects within the firm. On one such occasion I was working alongside the Executive Vice President. I went into his office, and he asked me to close the door. He noticed the tattoo on my foot and said, "Nice tattoo, have any others hidden that I can help you find?" I was outraged and said, "I don't really know how that's relevant," and the next day I was told I was no longer on the account.

WET KISS

WET KISS

Early in my journalism career one of the more senior editors at the newspaper where I worked was helping me get my work phone. I had to go to his office, he closed the door behind me, and when I got my Blackberry he went in for a wet kiss. I turned my face so he hit my cheek. I knew he was sleazy but he was the person who was getting me my Blackberry, which I needed, and he was pretty old, so I shrugged it off and just avoided him going forward.

LIKE A SISTER


I was around 19 and trying to work as an actress in Los Angeles. I was meeting with a potential agent about representing me and he said, “The amazing thing about you is that I can’t tell if I want to fuck you or protect you like a little sister.” It’s embarrassing to even write that now. The most enraging part is that I took as a compliment, something to be proud of, like, Oh, I have this special quality. It makes the older-me want to shake younger-me and scream at her, That is not your value.