Sexual harassment is not just a Hollywood or political issue. Before Donald Trump claimed to grab women by their “mmm hmms”, and Kevin Spacey outted himself to hide his inappropriate behavior, there have been women in male-dominated work environments who have been treated like common prostitutes on the job. “You show me a good time, I’ll show you a raise.” You don’t show me attention; I’ll give you the boot.” It doesn’t have to be spoken to be implied, integrated into the culture, and acted upon.
I know this, because I have been victimized more times than I can count. Women everywhere have been subjected in some form or another of demeaning and inappropriate actions by the opposite gender. And when I see it, I speak up. In fact, I recently walked into a McDonald’s in Fairfax, Virginia during my holiday shopping to grab a quick bite to eat. There were two lines, so I stood in one and a heavy-set woman stood next to me in the next line. The man behind the counter who was serving her line looked at me, completely ignoring her, and asked to take my order. I said, “Excuse me? She’s next in line!” He looked at her, cringed, and looked back me, asking to take my order. I motioned for the woman to move ahead of me in my line so she could be waited on. I was appalled at her treatment!
Who will look out for us, if we don’t look out for ourselves? Men like the one I encountered are what I refer to as, “Manimals.” By definition, a manimal is, “a fanciful life form that is part human and part beast; a creature recognizable as human but possessing physical or primitive behavioral characteristics that are exclusive to animals. In the world of government contracting, a manimal is a man or woman who has been given the authority, power, and opportunity to abuse his/her position to further his/her base desire for sexual promiscuity and conquest to the detriment of a subordinate.
The manimals who victimized me made me feel like a Tramp.
Was I a tramp? Simply because the clothes I wore fit my body enough to make me appear attractive? Because I just want to feel good about myself when I look in the mirror? I’m well-endowed with large breasts, but does that make me a tramp?
The manimals who victimized me made me feel insignificant as a person.
It was as though the work I performed for the company was needless and unimportant. Did he hire me because he thought I was an easy mark? A woman with large breasts, is just “asking for it”, is that it? Was it because he wanted to appear powerful and in control of what he sees as a lesser human being? What about my talent; my Masters’ degree, my experience?
I felt betrayed by the companies I worked for who supported the manimals.
Betrayed because when I spoke up, I was immediately targeted, and suddenly nothing I did was good enough. When I refused his advances, he began to watch me like a vulture ready to attack and blame me for anything that went wrong in my section. He had a “clique” of like-minded people who supported him including the corporate Human Resource department. They supported him because they feared for their positions. He ran the contract; anyone who confronted him would lose. I was alone in my search for justice, and he sent me to an isolated location in Afghanistan where I was shot at and as I lay on the ground, my heart beating like a rabbit, alone, and awaiting my fate, I thought “Am I really this expendable?”
I felt ashamed.
Ashamed because as I was leaving on a plane to return to the uncertainty of whether or not I would “ever work in this field; again”, I searched my mind for anything I could have done to prevent my circumstances. My heart broke because the company I believed in chose to believe him, and sought to discredit me. I can’t feel anything but embarrassment and pain. Even with the evidence I provided, the emails, and witnesses, no one listened. I felt a dark cloud over my head. Even now it looms above all women who have worked for a manimal. I dare say that the storm is still brewing. Women are speaking out and people are actually listening! But, where is the EEOC?
Sexual harassment, gender discrimination, physical assault and abuse in the workplace have been going on for years. Comics joke about it and make the victims feel petty, like the “snitch” that tells on everyone. I have experienced it more than eight times over the past eight years. And I spoke up every time, but it didn’t matter. Because when you are a woman working in an environment dominated by men who abuse their power, you have three choices: put out, keep quiet, or get out.
The behavior exhibited by Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, and most recently, Senator Al Franken is pervasive in overseas environments where few women are willing to work. The machismo of government contractors is born in the military and extends into this environment. But you have to know that these men will return to the U.S. and your daughter may be working for one of them one day.
Manimals are worldly. Contractor manimals specifically fly to the Philippines, Nigeria, or other Third World Countries just to take advantage of underage girls and boys. Contractor manimals though they are married, and have children, and grandchildren ,flaunt young Asian “brides” that they spoil while they are overseas and then release before they return home, sometimes leaving them pregnant and always destitute. Manimals take Third Country National spouses because they know they can abuse them physical and mentally. Manimals do not respect American women and they certainly do not the best of American men or what America is all about. I know because every company I worked for since I left the overseas environment has had competent, men who respected me, and treated me and other female co-workers as esteemed colleagues.
While overseas, I was targeted for removal after my boss grabbed my breast and after I complained. The company allowed him to write me up, and “investigated” me only to create their own version of the truth. Even after filing an EEOC complaint, I was not believed because the company had already managed to discredit me. The EEOC didn’t look at my side of the incident; they simply dismissed my case, taking the companies word. A soldier, Captain John Paul Thompson was killed less than a year after I had complained of hostile work environment. His death could have been prevented, yet this company continues to win huge government contracts.
I spoke up again while I was working in Kuwait in 2009. The men who ran the contract for more than ten years had created an environment that gave preferential treatment to women who were willing to have sex with them in return for an air conditioned environment. It gets as high as 157 degrees in the desert, but I preferred to work in the heat then to reduce myself to a concubine for abhorrent manimals. My roommate was raped. She was young. Maybe twenty years old. I told my supervisor but she later refused to admit what happened to her because she didn’t want to lose her job. After a while, she just “played the game” and because I reported the incident, the company did not renew my contract.
I spoke up in Baghdad, Iraq, when a “good ol boy”, named “Bo” told me to my face that he “didn’t work with women.” I never had a chance, because he did everything he could to push me out. Ultimately, I left the company because he made it too hard for me to stay.
I complained again when I worked for a woman owned company in Taji, Iraq. The contract had over 500 men and only 11 women on the contract. Out of the 11 women, there were only three U.S. Expat females. The company had gone through at least three human resource managers, before I arrived. The men who managed the contract allegedly had been having intimate relations with the Third country National (TCN) women, and the Iraqi Program Manager who supplied the locally employed staff confided in me that the men on the contract were “using” the women for sexual favors. He said that some of the women were even prostituting themselves and that the men on the contract frequented these women’s’ rooms. The work environment was exceptionally hostile because the men who ran the contract allowed these TCN women to do whatever they wanted to do. In fact, the managers enjoyed watching the women “argue” over them for dominance and position on the contract. The TCN women fought to be with the man who had the most powerful position. The woman, who curried favor with the man in charge, became the “Queen Bee.” The TCN women could not complain because they had no rights, and they feared losing their jobs. When the new program manager arrived he made it known that he did not want me on the contract. I was told by other employees that it was because I am a woman. He alienated me and refused to work with me. I told the HR department about the gender discrimination, and suddenly I wasn’t “a good fit.” I submitted an EEOC complaint that has been collecting dust the past two years. The last I heard, my case manager was asking the company for a performance evaluation. I told him I wasn’t with the company long enough to receive an evaluation and I asked the investigator, “What if they make one up?” He said that they [EEOC] would take the company’s word over mine. “What?!?”
What I have learned in my experiences as a female veteran and having worked overseas as a civilian, is that contractor manimals are predominantly ex-military. I have long suspected that the military, particularly the Army, breeds disdain for women and mass produces narcissists. Look at Donald Trump, where do you think he learned his behavior? The military usually supports the Republican agenda, because they put money into the Defense coffers. Thus the abusive men, who use their position to get what they want, learned it in the military because as they rise through the ranks, they learn how to flaunt their position and control their subordinates. I have learned that overseas, if a woman does not do what she is expected to do, or if she woman speaks up for her rights, she will lose her job.
If she complains, she will lose her credibility.
When she can’t get hired because the company labels her “unhireable”, she loses her right to work. Being “unhireable”, by the way, may have absolutely nothing to do with job performance or behavior. It simply means that a company doesn’t want you back. It could be for no other reason than a manimal annotating something derogatory on your performance evaluation because you refused his advances. No one else need know, in most instances, the company is too large to care, so the victim has no recourse.
Women who complain about abuse of power by men are labeled as “trouble makers”, “tattle tales”, “liars”, or worse—are to blame for having been attractive enough to draw a man’s attention.
The EEOC is supposed to be an unbiased party. However, it is widely known that there are “EmployER-friendly” EEOC offices and “EmployEE-friendly” EEOC offices, depending upon the partisanship and State in which the complainant happens to reside.
Where was the EEOC when women were being discriminated against by powerful men in the entertainment industry, media, and political environments? Where they are now as more and more women tell their stories?
I submit to you that the EEOC lacks credibility because it has lost its ability to be impartial. The EEOC is a case-heavy, broken agency that is long overdue for a HUGE overhaul. The companies I have complained about have deemed me “unhireable.” Why? Because I complained of harassment and discrimination? That’s not supposed to happen. The employee victim should not be punished because manimals can’t control their primitive desires. Am I angry? Hell yes, I am! I am angry because manimals should not be supported by the company simply because they have the networks to fill the corporate coffers. This is not about money. It is about justice and humanity. It about the basic human right to work in an environment that is safe, fair, and just.
As for men, there are decent, hardworking, men out there who don’t deserve to be suspect. There are real men out there who act human and treat everyone decently. These are the men who should standing up to be counted as a support mechanism to prevent sex-based discrimination in the workplace and preventing manimals from controlling or limiting the careers of hard working, decent people. It’s time for contractor and military women to speak out. This is your time to address your concerns. Speak now or forever be a piece [of meat].
In the meantime, where are you, EEOC? Come out; come out, wherever you are!
# METOO-CONTRACTOR; #ME TOO-MEP; #METOO-SOSI; #METOO-CSA; #METOO-ANS; #METOO-ETC