As the “Me too” movement continues to go viral, I felt the need to share something that has effected me and countless others. I spent three years working for law firms. Which is a short time in comparison to most assistants. I briefly spoke on my Instagram about how one of the reasons I felt inclined to change careers was because of how common sexual harassment is in the legal industry.
I desperately wanted to work somewhere where I never felt like an object. I wanted to work somewhere where my looks were never commented on, or attempted to be capitalized on. I am exhausted from playing the game. From laughing and shrugging it off when a man who has power over me comments on my body. I hate knowing that I couldn’t press charges if I wanted to because I’m in no position to sue a lawyer. I’m tired of HR either being a joke, or being easy on the professionals because they bill a lot of time.
I know the game. I know to laugh innocently when they talk about all the disgusting things they want to do to women, I know it’s better to keep my mouth shut. I know about the assistants who have gotten involved with their lawyers, and lost their jobs because of it. While the lawyers keep their jobs and continue to move up in the field. This is normal, this is commonplace.
Your rape jokes aren’t funny. They trigger my PTSD as a sexual assault survivor. Yes, I want and deserve a raise, but not because of anything my body does or doesn’t do. It’s not worth it, and something needs to change. Firms and HR departments need to stop ignoring this problem and need to start addressing it head on. The industry as a whole must cultivate an environment where we feel safe to speak out instead of intimidating us. We’ve been silenced for too long.
Have you experienced this culture in your workplace? Sound off in the comments below.