Before I did my master’s in public policy, I worked in marketing at a cryptocurrency company. I started in an entry-level position and worked my way up to marketing manager. There were some men in the office who were very inappropriate. One in particular would get really drunk and hit on all the women in the office. Though I heard stories about how he tried to take advantage of one woman while she was intoxicated, he never did anything specifically to me. But I remember getting an icky feeling around him.
There was too much staring and comments about my physical features, which made me feel uncomfortable. I can’t remember what was said exactly, I’ve blocked it out almost. Afterward, I felt I had to keep myself hidden more. I felt like I couldn’t wear super-tight clothing or some of the skirts and blouses that were very much appropriate for an office space because it would just draw too much attention to me.
There was a man who worked in a different department than I did. At one of the company social hours, we got into a good conversation. I invited him to one of the next times that we went out for a social gathering. After that he would text me all the time and say really weird things to me, like how even though he was in a wheelchair, he was still sexually active and that he was really bored in his marriage. I would just constantly get these weird vibes from him.
I tried to be very clear then. I told him, “We can’t talk about these things, I don’t feel comfortable.” But he didn’t stop. Later on, I found out that I wasn’t the only woman he was texting; he was messaging other women in the office too.
I remember this one night in particular. Some of the women decided we just wanted to go off on our own and he tagged along with us, then he just watched us dance all night. We didn’t want to be rude and tell him to go home.
My current employer and some of the men in the office tend to use a lot of condescending language toward female employees, like overexplaining concepts we know. I don’t know where the line is in terms of sexual harassment versus very misogynistic comments directed to me by a male employee or a male supervisor. It’s hard to detach one from the other.