In response to this powerful article by Sister Christine Schenk, I wanted to share one small story of an incident that happened when I was working at an office as a summer job.
I was doing some filing when a man came up behind me and tickled me on my ribcage. I turned around quickly and an older man from another department was standing there right behind me. He said in surprise, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were Maggie,” and walked away.
I was shocked. As a young feminist from Smith College, I knew that this was totally unacceptable office behavior.
I told Maggie (not her real name) and some of the other women in the office what had happened. Maggie acknowledged that this man often did this kind of thing; she supposed it was because he was trying to cover up the fact that he was gay. Best to keep quiet about it so as not to get him in trouble.
It was discouraging to me that anyone would behave that way and get away with it repeatedly, but the other women just accepted it as the way things are.
It is even more discouraging that decades later, people still make excuses for abusive behaviors of all kinds.
No, it is not okay to touch another person against that person’s wishes. It is not okay to belittle or bully or threaten another person.
Every person is due respect at all times.
No matter how rich, famous, powerful, or talented a person in, they never have permission to treat another human being in a disrespectful way.