International Women’s Day: Speaking Out Beyond #MeToo

Silhouette of sexist man and woman

Originally, I was asked to write this piece about a time I felt empowered as a woman. All day I sat with the prompt, but nothing came to me. How sad is that?

Over the next couple of days, I asked a few of my female friends if they could think of a time they felt empowered. They couldn’t think of a specific time, either. I felt sad for them. I felt sad for myself.

Of course, all these other thoughts came flooding into my mind — about all the times I felt like my power was threatened as a woman (e.g. most of the time). All the times I’ve been in situations that made me feel like a piece of meat — something to look at and touch, but not a human to be communicated with, respected or honored.

Continue reading International Women’s Day: Speaking Out Beyond #MeToo

As Workplaces Discuss Sexual Harassment Prevention, Are They Neglecting Treatment?

female therapist holding folder comforting woman client

As Workplaces Discuss Sexual Harassment Prevention, Are They Neglecting Treatment?” originally appeared on Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, by women. 

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, workplaces across the country are discussing how to prevent sexual harassment and penalize guilty employees. But, like all national issues, it’s important to not only consider prevention, but also treatment for those already affected.

New research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology warns that sexual harassment at work is a “chronic problem” for women in the workplace — one that can cause lasting mental illness. Continue reading As Workplaces Discuss Sexual Harassment Prevention, Are They Neglecting Treatment?

An Open Letter To My Catcallers On My Way To Work

street harassment mural brooklyn

An Open Letter to My Catcallers On My Way to Work” originally appeared on Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, by women.

Dear Catcallers On My Way to Work This Morning,

Like a stray hair that slinks down the skin of my back, I can feel your eyes. Like the Spanx under my skirt you strip away with your mind, your words suffocate me.

On my way to the office, I saunter through Manhattan’s Herald Square. It’s crawling with wide-eyed tourists, to whom you’re supposed to be passing flyers and ushering onto double-decker buses. You call me an, ahem, part of the female anatomy because I won’t smile for you. I grip my keys between my knuckles, and I flash you the finger. Continue reading An Open Letter To My Catcallers On My Way To Work

Sexual Harassment Is About Mental Health, Not Only the Workplace

sexual harassment illustration man touching woman shoulder

I remember being in a meeting at a company I used to work for where people were making jokes about a presentation on sexual harassment. None of it made sense to me, and I certainly wasn’t laughing. Why were they were joking about something so serious, chuckling about it, and doing so in front of their boss? Well, actually, he was cracking jokes too.

In what world is it appropriate to make light of harassment? I wondered what would happen if I was harassed while at the company. Would I be taken seriously if I decided to report it? Would they make jokes about me behind my back? Would I get fired? Luckily, I wasn’t sexually harassed on the job — but not everyone is so lucky. Continue reading Sexual Harassment Is About Mental Health, Not Only the Workplace

Here’s How Street Harassment Affects Women’s Mental Health — and How We Heal

two men cat calling woman on street

I remember what I was wearing: A blue tank top with a picture of a peacock, jean short-shorts, and flip-flops. I remember the weather: High summer, sweet grass scenting the air and the sun just beginning its slow descent to the horizon. I was walking down a country road, lost in my thirteen-year-old daydreams, when suddenly —

Honk honk!

A car horn split the air with its grating clamor. A group of men in the car waved their hands and heads out the windows, hollering at me.

It felt like I jumped a mile. My body flooded with shock. Fear. Self-consciousness. The moment before, I was at ease in my space, my body, my summer daydreams. Now, my sense of peace was ripped away like a wax strip torn from the heart. Continue reading Here’s How Street Harassment Affects Women’s Mental Health — and How We Heal