Happy Herbivore Blog

October 21, 2011

Speaking Up (if you see something, say something)

When you see something, say something. Don't be embarrassed or afraid -- speak up.

I received the following message from a friend this morning:

"When I was walking out of the supply store yesterday, hands full of boxes, this older man, an employee, asked whether I was ticklish. I say "no" and start walking away fast. He then says "I was going to tickle you... do you have time? I say "huh? no..." and kept walking. He stayed behind me and asks again "do you have time to come to my car?" I skedaddled out of there -- and fast!"

Upon reading this -- I quickly urged my friend to call the store and report this incident to the store manager. My friend told me she felt violated and I felt violated just from hearing about it. 

Afterwards, my friend emailed me an update:

"I just spoke with the store manager. She said she knew exactly who it was and that they've had issues with him in the past. I guess this was his final strike because he's being fired now."

My reply to my friend was "Thank God you called!" and she replied: "Thank God you made me call!"

We both wondered how many customers this man was inappropriate with...but it had gone unreported? After all my friend -- who is an incredibly smart lady, might I add, didn't think to call until I mentioned it... Truth is, when these things happen, we tend to want to put them out of our minds. 

If you see something or something happens, speak up. Tell someone. It can't change what has happened to you, or what you saw, but it can prevent it from happening to someone else. 

In the grand scheme of things, it may not seem like such a big deal, after all, my friend is fine and we've all survived weirdos who catcall or hit on us, but my friend should feel safe in a store, if nothing else, she should not be harassed by an employee. 

But even still... employee or not. Who knows what would have happened had my friend not ran away or what the guy might try next time. He made her uncomfortable and the right thing to do was to report it. 

When I asked my friend if I could share her story on this blog, she said "please do! and please tell them that it all caught me off guard because he didn't look like a creep, if you know what I mean. He seemed harmless... a real reminder not to judge anyone by what they look like. Stereotypes are wrong. Be safe."

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