Thank You Mr. Trump – My Personal Experience of Predatory Sexual Behavior in the Workplace
I’d like to devote this post to Donald Trump – and I actually can’t believe my own fingers as I type those words.
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know about the recent release of Mr. Trump’s Access Hollywood video where he bragged about sexual misconduct, or the many women who have come forward describing actual incidents that unfolded, pretty much as he described preying on women.
Unbelievably (or maybe predictably) the effect of this seems to have been to mobilize and give women a voice to speak openly, sometimes for the very first time, of their personal experience with sexual predators.
This is my story. His name is Nasri Barakat.
In June of 1993, I was working as a reinsurance accountant for Republic Insurance Company in Dallas, Texas. I wasn’t a very good accountant and was at a real crossroads of what I should do with my career (which explains much of why I didn’t say anything about this incident at the time).
On a plane from Dallas to LA, Nasri would not keep his hands off of me. He continuously stroked my leg and made sexual comments to me.
I was mortified!
I was sitting in the window seat on a full flight and had nowhere to go. I kept taking his hand away (finally resorting to hitting it) and telling him to stop. He just laughed.
I was especially distraught because I’d recently gone to his house and met his lovely wife and two small children. I was disgusted and felt so sorry for them!
I spent the rest of the trip (and my tenure with Republic) dodging him. I left the company a month later.
I find it extremely ironic that it’s not Mrs. Clinton, the US’ first female presidential nominee, that has brought inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace into the spotlight, but her misogynistic opponent.
However it happened, I’m glad it has. I’m speaking out now because it’s time. Not time for me. I haven’t seen Nasri Barakat since a month after that incident occurred. But it’s time for everyone who has been the victim of inappropriate sexual advances (within or outside of work) to speak out. Name names – hold them to account.
Let’s talk about these experiences instead of hiding them in shame. We are not the perpetrators – we are the victims. But we can change our victimhood to vindication by speaking out.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it – for some of you it might be the first, little step to putting a horrible incident behind you.