Use The Pepper Spray
I regularly work in an industry where the men outnumber the women 10 to 1, possibly more. While some think this is an advantage for women, it is not. Time and time again, we are put into situations men will never have to face.
One would think things have changed, right? Not so much. At a recent industry function, women were propositioned and groped at. An attendee who brought his wife along said she was uncomfortable with some of the men. I think she used the word “creepy” to describe them. Another woman felt she was followed to the elevator. The guy entered the elevator and didn’t push a button, he just stared at her. She felt she was in danger and even asked him what floor he needed so she could push the button. But he just stared and exited at her floor. With her hand on the pepper spray, she walked swiftly and got to her room where she entered and closed the door behind her in one swift movement. When she shared what happened, my response, “You should have just used the pepper spray.” When in doubt, don’t wait to see how it all works out, use it!
While discussing these incidents with a few men, they were horrified, but not so horrified to say this: “We will address the issue.” One did mention he wouldn’t ask who the women were as he didn’t want their careers to be jeopardized.” There you have it.
What needs to happen is accountability from the companies the offenders represent. The protocol should be clear. “If you are acting in an inappropriate manner at a function where you represent my company, it is cause for dismissal.” Being sloppy drunk at a business event falls into that category.” It would also be helpful for other men and women, the true professionals, to step up when they are witness to such shenanigans. Fortunately, women have become pros at handling these situations as fluently as a Lebron James fade away. Why, because like Lebron, we have taken these shots over and over again.