SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY ANY OTHER NAME
Dear Dolores: I’m the youngest, single Latina in the office. I’m a take-charge kind of girl, and everyone notices. Therefore, I attract as lot of married men at work. I kick butt in my career, but when it comes to dealing with men, I’m out of my game. Recently another married man started his conquista run with me. I’ve told him a million times that I don’t like him that way and that I don’t care to be in that type of relationship with him. Still he calls me and stops to see me every day. He e-mails and calls my Blackberry 24/7. If I don’t answer, he keeps calling until I do. He says he loves me and that he’s considering divorcing his wife, but I’m really tired of the drama. I feel horrible just cutting him off or telling on him because of his family. So, how can I get him to stop without completely hurting the man?
-Lilia in Chicago
Dear Lilia: Sexual harassment in the workplace has been illegal since 1964. A whole generation of women fought very hard to get that law into the books so we don’t have to put up with such degrading behavior today. Here’s what I did in a similar situation a few years ago: I walked the man in question to the bulletin board where the Sexual Harassment Prevention poster was displayed. I pointed at it and just said: “You better read this. I have rights and know what to do next if you don’t stop.” It worked like magic. It’s mandatory to have this poster displayed at all workplaces. If there isn’t one in your office, ask the Human Resources manager to put it up. If this Don Juan continues his pursuit, the first step is to report him to his supervisor—in writing. For more information on sexual harassment, check out the National Women’s Law Center website at nwlc.org and search for “sexual harassment.”
-Be firm and stop playing games, D
Dear Dolores: Although I live with my boyfriend of two years, I hardly see him. He leaves for work at 6 a.m. and returns home at 10 p.m. After work he goes to visit his mother and have dinner, then goes and play ball with his amigos. He doesn’t pay me much attention. He always makes me feel as though his mother is the girlfriend and I am the mistress. His mother is very controlling and keeps telling him all women are trash. Do you think one day he will believe that women are not what his mother says we are?
Dear Miami Mistress: Yes. One day your sleeping buddy—that’s all he really is—will realize the truth. But it will only happen when his girlfriends refuse being treated like trash. There’s no there in this relationship. Let him go home to his mamá. If you want company in bed, buy a new pillow, one of those long ones you can hug and throw your leg over before falling sleep.
-Sweet dreams, D
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