I get amazing letters, and when I got this one, I just had to ask Jeannie if I could share it. Lucky for us, she said yes!
I wanted to tell you something. I let my husband, son and daughter know these past few months “I AM” part of the resistance and will continue to be until the end of my time. I have bought about one hundred skeins of yarn to make the now famous/Infamous PH.
My daughter asked me, “why are you so aggressively trying to get these done and why are you so vocal along with all your old lady friends?” I cried while I was telling her my story and am tearing writing this. I was a single mother raising a daughter and a son. I was 21 with my daughter and 27 with my son. While raising my daughter I was sexually harassed every working day. I don’t believe there was one day I didn’t have sexual advances. I let her know I couldn’t complain because I would have been fired! I let her know I couldn’t quit because I had her to feed and clothe. She is 35 years old now and said she has never known a boss to be forward or rude in any way. My response was “You’re welcome.”
My girl supports me and my strong support of the PHP and the resistance. Recently a very loud relative– my husband’s brother– let me know he needed to block me on Facebook. He had asked me in previous weeks to please stop posting and reposting and sharing all the hate rhetoric. I let him know it’s not meant to offend him and to unfollow me. Smiley face. About a week after that he texted me and said, “I need to block you!” Again, I let him know that’s so unnecessary. Well, true to his beliefs of not reading or seeing anything unpleasant about Mr. Trump, he blocked me. This I’m okay with. When I noticed my son liked his uncles post about having to block family and friend, I can only imagine he put all the other “Friends” on notice.
I asked my son to come and chat with me. I let him know things I never needed to share before now. I told him about being sexually harassed and molested for years and years. I also told him about one of my superior co-workers who came up behind me and reached around and touched/felt my breast. I asked my son what do you think I did? I asked him what do you think I could/should have done? I let him know I could do nothing, because as soon as I complained I would be fired. I let him know I did my very best trying to raise him and his sister alone, while going through nursing school.
I asked him to look at those women out in the crowds marching, marching, marching. When you look at them please see me, I am them- I am them. I know I was able to get through to my daughter I feel my son who was raised in a different era will never clearly understand the hardship we women went through to have the rights we now have, all of this on the backs of very brave women. He has a daughter and I can only hope he raises her to be a strong female role model for others behind her.
I’m taking my granddaughters to DC this summer we all will have our pink hats and I know there will be marches. We will be in them. I don’t ever want them to forget the sacrifices of all the women around them. Krista, thank you for starting a wonderful project, you are so brave, and we will support you.
Jeannie Whitaker RN
Thank you for sharing this powerful story, it made me cry! I am so glad that you are speaking up, even when your family is not completely supportive, that can be so hard.
I am turning 30 in July and like your daughter, I say THANK YOU for what you went through because it truly has expanded the rights of the next generation of women (even though we still have a ways to go!)
One of my first jobs out of college was at a chemical plant – I wore steel toe boots and a hardhat. It was a weird place for a Barnard Art History major to be! I was the only woman in the building, and experienced harassment. I reported it, the reporting of it was a terrible experience, I cried when I talked to the head of the plant, not because of the experience but because of the way they were handling it. Afterward I called my mother and apologized to her for crying at work, she’s such a role model in my life, I thought she would be disappointed in me, and I was so ashamed.
Surprisingly she wasn’t hard on me at all, instead, she said, “I’m proud of you for reporting it. Though aren’t you lucky you don’t have a family to support, that you don’t need this job, and that you can risk reporting it? A single mother wouldn’t report this.” That has ALWAYS stuck with me, and your story brings it to mind again. Yes, I had that freedom, but it’s not enough that I had the freedom to report something, we need to make it so every woman can. And even when I reported it, the handling of it was so ridiculous. The fact that harassment toward women happens at all in the workplace is ridiculous.
What I went through in no way comes near what you went through. Thank you for sharing your story with me, and for knitting pussyhats. I am getting tearful again just thinking about it (since that summer I worked in the chemical plant, I’ve clearly grown less ashamed of tears! ha!).
Jeannie, would you be okay with me posting your letter on my blog? I think your experiences dealing with your family face to face, and with your friends/”friends” on facebook would be really valuable for others to read. We could make the letter anonymous if you wish, or just use your first name, it’s up to you. Or, we don’t have to post it at all, I just wanted to propose the idea to you.
Most of my family works in medicine, and I know how critical RNs are, thank you for ALL that you do – as a feminist, as a nurse, as a single mom, as a grandmother. I am so honored to receive this letter, thank you. I hope your granddaughters have an AMAZING time in Washington – I know that this trip with their grandmother is something they’ll remember forever.