He was a member of our band Descendants of Reality. We would gig at a variety of open mics, colleges, parties, clubs, and expos across the nation. We met at Tennessee State University. After graduation, I moved back to Nashville with hopes of picking up where we left off.
But this time a discord surfaced. Like an off tune melody that created a deep rift between us…sexual harassment.
I remember us praying before a rehearsal. Corey made sure he was the one to hold my hand as we gathered in a circle. While praying he started grasping and stroking my hands. Then he began groaning as he was about to sexually climax. I felt so degraded. For the next several months, I endured inappropriate comments about my body, unwelcomed touching, and him objectifying me around the other guys in the band.
For the next several months my whole world spun out of control and into a state of depression. Granted not all of my issues were contingent upon Corey’s despicable behavior, but it was certainly the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Disrespect deserves consequences. Lately sexual harassment has been swirling in the headlines. From former Fox News president Roger Ailes to former anchor Bill O’Reilly.
About $13 million has been paid out over the years to address complaints from women about Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior. He denies the claims have merit.– New York Times
So how do you react after being objectified? How do you handle someone who’s an unwelcomed fantasy leech?
1) Declare out loud repeatedly: I am a woman. I am not a fantasy or an object. My mind, body, and spirit deserve to be respected. I am a beautifully wrapped and hand carved masterpiece of God!
2) Accumulate the accounts of harassment. Write down: when, where, who, why it's inappropriate, threats, and how it made you feel. Put these in a safe, private place.
3) Report the harassment. Pray to God for guidance. Share the recorded incident(s) with a trusted friend. Convey these to the harasser in writing with a request to address and remedy the situation. Some cases require contacting the EEOC and taking legal recourse.
4) Exit or understand there are some situations where either you or someone else will need to be physically removed for a remedy. No need to subject yourself to an environment that makes you feel worse than 3 months of P.M.S. and the worst flu put together. This doesn’t make you any less of a woman. You are just alert enough to protect your heart from feeling like the walls are caving in to crush you to pieces. Refuse to stay in a place where you can’t breathe or be confidence due to mistreatment. You deserve better so you can be your best!
Eventually I sat down and told Corey about his inappropriate actions and how I felt. Shortly after, he left the band. I don’t know if he ever stopped treating women like he did me, but I sure left him with ear full of “You’re wrong and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
When you face harassment, it’s easy to hide. To stay crammed up in seclusion. Quietly ashamed. And nervously trying to figure a way out with zipped lips.
But you are not an incubator of fear. A recipient of insults. An illegal prize of someone’s perverted mentality. You are not that! We are not that! We must D.A.R.E. to speak…for we are masterpieces.
Have you experienced being disrespected or sexually harassed before? How were you able to overcome and get a breakthrough? Drop a comment below, I want to hear your feedback!