By Bev Galasso
Just having sat through the New York State-mandated “sexual harassment” seminar at my job, an overwhelming feeling of relief overcame me. “Phew” is the word that came to mind.
I have worked for my present employer for the past five years. Not once have I felt harassed, threatened or uncomfortable. It triggered a conscious feeling of safety.
Reflecting over the past years, I have never dreaded coming to work. I realized I have been working at a very respectful and professional company all along, even before the #MeToo movement kicked in. My male bosses and colleagues were naturally, respectfully authentic, not because they had to be but because they wanted to be. I am thankful that I work with men of integrity and good character.
The “movement” is about men intimidating and taking advantage of women in the workplace. I just wanted to give a shout out to the good guys. We only hear about the bad ones and the negative, hostile working environments that women have endured for years.
In addition, some of my fellow co-workers have been with the company for 25-plus years. Never a scandalous scenario has passed my ears.
Having happily shared that story with graciousness, I must add some of my past employers were not that “nice,” for a lack of a better word. Some thrived on intimidating and belittling me. I realized over time through self-reflection and conscious awareness, after I stopped blaming myself, it was their own insecurities coming through.
During my divorce I did not fare as well, either. The “good ole boys club” was in high gear during that time. I wish the “movement” was in the same gear at that time but the gear shift was broken and stuck in neutral, as it has been for years and years.
My life: Born. Childhood. College. Married. Motherhood. Divorce. Ugh.
Divorce – of course no one thinks it’s going to happen to them. We all want the happy ever after but alas, bam!, it does.
My divorce started with a hopeful (female) attorney but she eventually released me due to her not wanting to work against my ex’s new attorney. She stated she did not want to work with “men who hated women.” She did not elaborate. I’m guessing she had a bad experience working with male attorneys or men in general.
My next (male) attorney, whom I released after three days, sexually harassed me. That’s another story for another day.
My last (male) attorney advised me to settle on what was offered because, “You’re pretty and you’ll be married in three years anyway.” Mind you, this was my attorney, my “professional” counsel. I became a product of the club, sexually harassed, part of a hostile, discriminatory sexist environment.
I left the courtroom that day defeated and forever broken. Financially and emotionally shattered. My eyes were glistening with tears as the lawyers’ eyes glistened with dollar signs. I had foolishly thought justice would prevail.
Had the #MeToo movement been in effect during my divorce, the outcome would have been much different. Unfortunately for me it was not.
All employers who treat their people with respect and professionalism deserve our thanks.
Bev Galasso, of Lancaster, is thankful that she works with men of high character.