In light of all the brave women going public with their stories, I thought I’d share mine which isn’t near as bad as some of the things I’ve heard but has still haunted me.
I majored in Public Relations in college but I always had a strong passion for music. I managed bands in college and volunteered at festivals, it’s all I ever wanted to do. When I was a senior in college I started freelancing doing social media for a popular music venue in town. “You know I could also book bands,” I told the owner, I had big dreams and was willing to work my way to success.
After exchanging emails and driving back and forth with the venue I started working with the owner a lot. I’d be at the theater all the time, I made a communications plan, a social media calendar, I started building relationships with local bands. I called my parents telling them about how I thought this would turn into a full-time job, with a salary. They seemed so excited.
The music industry is so competitive but I’m such a hard worker, that’s what I told myself. I’m also the kind of person who tries to see the best in people, I always assume people have good intentions. I was 22 and excited to start my professional career. Unfortunately, I started receiving texts from the owner “Thanks for this list, you’re super cute by the way.” I wrote it off as a miscommunication. I thought, “Oh I’m just reading into this too much” I shared it with classmates asking for advice, and they all shook their heads.
I thought I’d keep working and try to just ignore it, but the texts kept happening. I finally told my professor and she looked at me and said, “I don’t think you should work for him,” and I knew she was right. When I got an email confirming I got the full-time job, I lied and told him I’d been offered something else that I couldn’t pass up. I lied and told my parents the offer was too low to be reasonable, I was too ashamed of the real reason.
I didn’t want to tell people I’d been told I was cute and that was reason enough for me to feel uncomfortable. I thought it was my fault. I thought I would be such a disappointment. I hated telling people I turned down the job. I thought about how everyone else had these big plans and solid job offers and I’d wasted all my time working at this one place. It threw off my entire post-grad experience.
I had almost completely blocked out the experience until my friend posted that his band would be playing a show there and it all came back to me. Maybe this wasn’t sexual assault but it was enough to make me realize that you can’t assume people have good intentions, and even that a seemingly normal text can remind you that ways that you’ll always come back to. I know this isn’t half of what other women have gone through but it was enough to make me aware of the different way women are treated.
You made the right decision! You went with your gut. A comment like that is inappropriate coming from a superior. The “By the way” at the end just makes it even more creepy! He definitely had ulterior motives and would have progressed in his behavior, making you increasingly uncomfortable; possibly even bringing you harm. You did the best you could at the time by walking away. If something like this ever happens again, hopefully you’ll have the courage to speak up about it so you won’t have to walk away from an amazing opportunity! We support you <3