I was reading an email sent to me by Eater by Whitney Filloon today about The Me Too Movement in the Restaurant Industry. And it occurred to me that women not being taken seriously and therefore becoming objects instead of breathing, thinking, feeling human beings brings me back to John Lennon who wrote “Woman is the Nigger of the World”…. this is exactly what he was talking about all those years ago. And it’s so strange how that goes….
As a woman, I am initially shocked by what a man says or does. But then it becomes normalized after time.
A kid named Sandy in junior high pulled down the bottom of my two piece bathing suit in the pool and tried to finger me. I was angry. I was shocked. But more than that, it took me months to figure out what he was trying to do. And he kept saying over and over again: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m sorry”. But I never looked at him again, never talked to him again. I was going to make sure he was sorry, when what I really should have done is report the incident to the school.
For some reason I thought it was just me that he would do that to. Had I thought beyond that, thought that by reporting it I could have saved another girl from going through something similar, then that’s what I would have done.
Later in life, I was hosting a large Food & Wine Fundraiser for a food group that will go unnamed…. and as we were standing by a table talking with guests, a woman sitting on the end seat next to where I was standing (who was a member of their Board of Directors) ran her hand up my leg and cupped my buttocks. Again, it was shocking. And this time, it was abuse from a woman, not a man. People that are garbage are all genders, all ages, all races.
This time around, I went to the person in charge and told her what happened. (It was recommended that I check what events this woman would be at and just not attend those events). I told everyone who would listen, what had happened. No one stood up for me, no one insisted something be done. Nothing was ever mentioned to the abuser, to my knowledge and she tried to approach me at one of the events she unexpectedly showed up at. I left immediately and never went back to that groups events.
So you see? Even I have had experiences of sexual harassment. No. I wasn’t raped. No, someone did not force me down on a bed. But these things have always stayed with me.
I am hopeful that this Me Too Movement will really turn things around for future generations to come.
Our writer at Eater has this to say about the food industry:
It’s no secret that sexual misconduct runs rampant in restaurants. More sexual harassment complaints are filed with the EEOC by workers in the restaurant industry than any other sector, as Vox points out, and countless more incidents have likely gone unreported: 90 percent of women that work in the food industry have reported being sexually harassed at work, according to the Restaurant Opportunities Center.
An investigation by Vox discovered that of the 7,000 sexual harassment complaints reviewed last year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than 60 — dating to 2010 — were filed by female employees of IHOP and Applebee’s.
Some of those complaints have resulted in lawsuits: Most sexual harassment complaints against workplaces end up being settled out of court, but Vox found that “IHOP and Applebee’s were the only restaurant chains sued at least four times for sexual harassment.” Numerous federal lawsuits have been filed against individual Applebee’s and IHOP franchise owners, with several reaching settlements, at least one currently in arbitration, and others still pending. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also filed a federal class-action lawsuit against one franchise owner.
Lawsuits is not what it’s all about, but I am sure this is an unexpected victory for many women who know the worst place to hit a guy is in his wallet.
And I also want to say that not all guys think this way, not all guys are bad guys as my stories show. But I do think that for the guys who might consider going down the wrong road, this is an incredible ‘heads up’.
Our time is now….
Healthy Happy Eating,