I was watching the newest episode of “Blue Bloods” titled “Legacy." In the episode, the character of Nikki is starting an internship at a popular company. As the story unfolds, Nikki’s character is warned by other interns to not dress too “girly” and that she shouldn’t wear makeup, or it may draw too much attention to herself. The character, of course, ignores the advice, stating that this is who she is, and it shouldn’t matter that she is female. We all know what happens next. Nikki ends up being sexually harassed by her boss. She tells her boss “No!” -- accompanied by a swift shove.

This episode isn’t anything new and has been done dozens of times before.

Maybe more. So why did I find myself drowning in tears and gripping my husband’s hand when Nikki takes her computer to leave? Four other interns join her, and the women exit together in a triumphant showing of sisterhood.

Again, I asked myself, why am I crying? I shouldn’t be crying. (I’m fighting the tears now as I write.) I shouldn’t be upset, its been 20 or more years since it happened to me…

Still, it happened, and I think that is the problem

Still, it happened, and I think that is the problem. It happened. To me and to so many other women. Too many other women. It happened, and it was just an expectation as a woman that I would have to endure such things. Things like catcalls or honking horns.

Things like unwanted attention to my chest if my blouse was lower than a regular t-shirt, or tighter. Comments like, “Nice rack” were something I should be flattered by. Our culture has been and still is so ingrained with women being seen in purely a sexual light that my teenage daughters run the risk of being sent home from school if their shirt dares to show their navel -- much less too much shoulder.

My story wasn’t horrific. (Or maybe I still can’t get past the feeling that this is just part of life and to be expected.) I was a teenager working at a movie theater. An assistant manager took too much of an interest in me. The fact that he was married with small children didn’t seem to be a factor.

He was very friendly at first. As we worked together more, his proximity to my body became uncomfortable. He was well over six feet tall and would loom over me as I stood at the box office window where we were both stationed. I would smile at his attention but felt uncomfortable inside. I didn’t want his attention, but it didn’t even occur to me that this was something I should speak out against. This was how men behaved and I was just being uptight if I said something against it. At least that is what I thought.

Eventually he started saying things like, “When are we going to go on a date?” I would just smile or laugh and try to ignore him. One night he left a note for me on the counter that said something like this: “Come up to the theater booth so I can give you a kiss.

I left that night in tears

I left that night in tears. The next day I called my manager asking to speak with him. He met with me and I told him everything. I remember being asked, “Did you tell him no? Because that is important.” Did I tell him no? Seriously? Because if I didn’t this behavior was okay? I remember feeling embarrassed because I don’t know if I did tell him no. I remember feeling that maybe this was my fault. However, I don’t feel as if my manager wasn’t on my side. It was our culture. A woman has to protect herself. Say the right thing. Because if we don’t, then the men who harass us come on to us, rape us. Well, it isn’t their fault, right?

Wrong. Our culture is wrong. So much is just so wrong.

So, I find myself writing this 20 some years later because an episode of “Blue Bloods made me cry. Maybe it will help me heal.

When #MeToo started, I didn’t join in

When #MeToo started, I didn’t join in. Not because it didn’t happen to me, but because even after all of this time it hurts. It hurts to see all my friends post #MeToo and know they have endured the same hurt I have. A sisterhood of pain.

After I reported him, the assistant manager stopped giving me unwanted attention. A few weeks later he was fired for harassing two other young ladies I worked with. I always felt they were stronger than me in their complaints. That if I had been more forceful, he would have been fired sooner.

Recently a co-worker stated that he was worried because he has two young sons and doesn’t want them wrongly accused when they are old enough to date.

He wonders if all these women who are stating this happened to them are telling the truth. I told him they are. I tell him it happened to me. It happened to all of us. #MeToo

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