This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.
I am being sexually harassed at my place of employment. I do contracts for an entertainment agency, and the man with whom I have to work has been harassing me. It started with comments like, “You look hot. Some guy’s going to get lucky later,” or “I heard your fiancé is out of town. I can come over tonight and make you feel good, honey.”
Then, he has this nasty habit of accidentally rubbing—and I do mean rubbing—against me as I’m standing in front of my desk. He takes every opportunity to rub against me and laughs when I tell him to stop. One time, he followed me into the bathroom saying, “Oops! I thought this was the men’s room.” The men’s room is nowhere near the women’s bathroom.
This guy is not my boss, so I went to the supervisor, who shrugged it off as harmless joking around. Human Resources was no better, as they said that unless I had a witness to what occurred I couldn’t prove it.
I’m thinking of quitting my job, but I like the work and need the money. What would you do?
Dear Harassed Hannah,
You asked what I would do? I’d change this preening rooster into a hen in a split second. But that’s me, and you have to deal with this in a “somewhat civilized” manner. First, don’t quit your job. Why should you quit because of this jackass?
Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, a common occurrence for women in the workplace. It can take on the form of both verbal and physical harassment, as it did in your case. Federal law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, but, as you mention, not every employer takes it seriously. So it seems as if you have to take justice into your own hands—something I’m not only familiar with, but actually enjoy.
First off, the sexual rub this guy is doing—here’s my advice: wear stilettos to work. Deliberately stand at your desk and wait for him to come by. When he begins his little game, step back and stab him really hard in the foot. Repeat it. (The stiletto is a dagger invented by the Italians during the Renaissance, and they’re as good as any sharp object for inflicting pain—or death).
When he yells and goes to grab his foot, push him over onto the floor. Say in a very loud voice, “What is wrong with you? What are you doing on the floor? Are you crazy? You need help!” The physical pain and the pain of embarrassment should be enough to show him you won’t take his crap. He’ll be too embarrassed to tell anyone what has just occurred.
Carry cayenne pepper spray with you when you go to the women’s room. Wait behind the door, and when he comes in spray the pepper spray right into his face. Believe me, this works very well.
Last, but certainly not least, start a rumor that this man is a registered sex offender. If you think that’s too much, let me say that you cannot play nice with this type of man. Playing dirty is what will get you justice and will make him stop his harassment.
If you follow my advice, I think this creep will get the message. Then again, if you ever need the services of a woman who has a special way of dealing with sexual harassers, you know where to reach me. And I know where the body can be buried.
She is the author of nine top-selling novels and is hard at work on a new series that features a paranormal investigator with distinct powers of her own. Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories which appear in popular horror anthologies.