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A male colleague was making fun of the #metoo movement a few days ago, and many more (I’m one of 5 women in a department of 200 men) joined in. So I raised my voice and said I was glad women were speaking up about sexual harassment and assault and that I hoped that everyone who perpetuated this toxic behavior got taken down.

“Yeah but it’s a trend now, lots of them are just saying it for their 15 minutes of fame.” He then continued to say that he didn’t know anyone who had been harassed or any man who had done it.

I asked him if he had a daughter. He did. I asked him how old she was. She was was 17. I told him I’d bet my rent money that his daughter had experienced sexual harassment. 

“That’s impossible.” 

“Did you ask her?” 


“Well then, do it.”

The next day, he came in the office with five bouquets of flowers for all the women in our department, including me. He publicly apologized for making fun of sexual harassment and for making our lives harder by doing so. He said that he simply hadn’t known how widespread it was. Apparently, his daughter deals with it very regularly. She hadn’t told him because of the way he spoke about assault cases that were on the news. She thought he’d think less of her if she’d mention it. It was her idea that he should make a public announcement. He said he felt like a bad father. 

I said: “You were. Same goes for everyone who laughed with you. Be better, now you know better. And educate other men that still think the same way you did yesterday. And next time someone tells you about an experience they have, don’t automatically assume that because you haven’t seen it, it’s not true. That kind of willful ignorance is why we still deal with this shit.”

He also offered to pay my rent as that was part of the bet, but I told him I’d rather have him put effort in being a person his daughter and wife could be proud of. 

In conversation the other day my mom stopped and asked my dad about what percentage of women he thought had experienced sexual harassment. He said about 20-30% maybe. My mom told him that both of us had been harassed multiple times at work (same goes for both of her sisters) and that she had actually been assaulted by a groper on a public bus. I have never seen anyone’s face go slack so quickly before as he realized that literally every woman in his family had experienced this. And while I’m glad he believed us and has changed his view on that subject I still can’t shake the frustration, the anger, that it required being sat down and spoonfed these incidents that we didn’t particularly wanted to relive. This is something that women have been saying for years, but men just never listen. Not even when they’re forced to sit in mandatory harassment in the workplace training seminars.

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