Picture this: you’re a 20-year-old woman, just doing your job at work, when your male manager (who is at least a foot taller and roughly 30 years older than you) approaches you and asks you to stop what you’re doing. To properly ask you this question, he feels the need to put his hand firmly on your shoulder. And he doesn’t let go when you step back. Only when you give him a satisfactory answer does he let go and walk away.
Oh, and all of this takes place in a secluded area with no one else around.
That is exactly what happened to me on a Thursday night in September at my job at Shively Dining Hall.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Girl, report him! You have to say something!” Having always been very vocal about injustices, I immediately reported the incident to Human Resources, who then sent me over to the Equity and Civil Rights office.
I spoke with someone there who, while they were concerned for my well-being (as well as my coworkers’ well-being), told me “their hands are tied.”
Without more reports like mine, all within the same time frame, there cannot be an investigation. Which means that my manager can (and does) continue this type of behavior and gets away with it.
According to the university’s policy, “sexual harassment includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe or pervasive from both a subjective ... and an objective ... viewpoint.”
So why on earth can’t I get an investigation?
On September 26, 2019, Sara Rivest was live on air for the WAVE 3 news station when a man distracted her report and then proceeded to kiss her on the cheek, according to an NBC News report.
Rivest said in that NBC report that she “was shocked, but my nervous laughter does not equate to approval of his actions. It was an exertion of power over over me, a woman — trying to do her job — who couldn’t stop him. This embarrassed me, and it made me feel uncomfortable and powerless.”
She didn’t want him to kiss her, and I don’t want my shoulders and back touched. Nor do I want nasty remarks made to me — which I have overheard him make to my coworkers.
Ohio University, I am calling you out. According to the stories some of my other female coworkers have shared, you need to step up and do something about this. It’s a reoccurring issue that we as women are afraid to talk about because, when we do say something, we’re not to worry about it, or there has to be more evidence, or it doesn’t even violate anything.
This is absolutely, 100%, not okay.
Dani Wolfe is a junior studying english at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Dani? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.