About a week ago, my partner @ work and I were quickly interviewed by a man regarding a client at work who alleged abuse. The alleged abuse did not happen, but that’s not the point of this story.
I was nervous to speak with this man, hoping that he would not question my side of the story or my perspective.
He started with a few basic questions: What is this client like in the cottage? Are there any characteristics that stand out? Has this client made other allegations? Etc.
I answered them all with the trend that it was a one time thing, a fluke, and this client is a rather exceptional young lady whom we are all fond of.
Then he goes, “Yes, I understand that the allegation may not be true.” He goes on to embellish his take on what happened, “You see, I’ve been married for over 25 years…and my wife, she sometimes goes through…changes…about once a month.”
I nod…*go on,* I’m thinking…
“About once a month…you know what PMS is, I’m sure. She gets moody, a little crazy…maybe that’s what this client went through..she didn’t see clearly.”
I nod…silent. Screaming in my head, yelling at him, why make this a sex issue? Why bring this back to the differences between men and women, from your perspective?? My brain spins for the 2 seconds of silence.
I yell at myself for laughing.
“Yes, yes, we can just drop this, I think, you work with girls, you’re a woman, I understand, you have bad days, you go crazy and get angry over nothing sometimes, right?”
I’m sitting there, wanting to call this guy out for putting women on blast, for being so blatantly sexist, even towards a young girl!!! But because I know what he is doing there, because I know that the agency and my co-workers and I are being examined, I stay quiet.
i LAUGHED! at his SEXISM! who does that?
And it made me think…sometimes, we don’t always have the luxury to wear our opinions, our morals, our politics out on our sleeves for everyone to see. I know that sometimes at work or even with some friends I’ve sacrificed my own beliefs for fear of being shunned. I wish I could say that I’ve never done this, but it’s reality. I do not feel ashamed. I know that this is part of the society I live in. Our world revolves around fixing people so we all conform, to avoid chaos. I can respect this.
I bent a little bit for this gentleman, but he did not break my spirit. I still know who I am. If anything, I thank him for saying those things to me that day, because it made me more determined to be more vocal about my beliefs the next time around.