October 1, 2012

I have been at the Women’s Center this afternoon for not quite half an hour.  The volunteer asked if she could speak to me privately.  She’s someone whom I haven’t seen here very often; I think she must have started volunteering here recently.

She said “I’ve seen you here a couple of times; you seem like an awesome person.  There have been a couple of incidents where you seemed to have a problem with noise, with people coughing.  There was a volunteer who was coughing; she was sick.  Is coughing an issue for you?”

I said “Will you please excuse me for a minute?”

I went upstairs and knocked on the coordinator’s door.  She was clipping or taping something onto a notebook with a rainbow on the cover.  I told her that the volunteer had asked to speak with me, that she’d said “You seem like an awesome person but you seem to have an issue with people coughing,” and that I didn’t want to continue to have the conversation with the volunteer.  I asked the coordinator if she had asked the volunteer to have that conversation with me, and the coordinator said “No.”  I asked her if I had to continue to have the conversation with the volunteer to be able to continue to use the computer today; she said “No.”  I said “Ok, I’m going to tell her that.  I’ll keep it neutral, just tell her that I told you that I didn’t want to continue the conversation with her, asked you if I had to, and that you said ‘No,’ I didn’t have to.”

I went back to the first floor and told the volunteer what I told the coordinator I was going to say.  The volunteer said “I just don’t want it to happen again.”  I said “The conversation’s over.”  She said “Don’t call me out here, then,” while I was walking by her to go back to the computer.

You know what?  Don’t ask to speak to me in private to lie to me about the fact that I get harassed and then tell me that I have to put up with it.

This is THE WOMEN’S CENTER; it’s not a place where women should be getting harassed, it’s especially not a place where they should be getting harassed about being women, and there’s nowhere that child molestation should be getting promoted or supported.

Copyright L. Kochman, October 1, 2012 @ 1:47 p.m./edited @ 1:50 p.m.