I struggled with hitting the publish button,
but it is time for me to speak out loud.
It was 1989 and I was working at a local manufacturer. It was my dream job, writing operation manuals for their products, spending my days writing and illustrating. I loved it. Everyday I was excited to get in my car and drive to work.
My first performance review came with a big raise. I had worked hard and felt I had earned it. Then another yearly review and my own designated parking spot. Then another with more raises and more responsibility.
I learned everyday.
I felt so good at the end of a work day
Then I noticed I was being noticed. I went to my boss and told him I was feeling uncomfortable in the presence of the Company President. It was an uneasy feeling and I felt something I had never felt before with anyone else in the company. My job required me to be alone with software engineers, cad designers, photographers and designers and not once did I ever feel uneasy. Until I was alone with the Company President.
My boss told me that I had nothing to worry about. He would make sure I was not alone with him, and that he was sure the "ol man" was harmless. He cited that on numerous occasions his wife had been alone with him and he was just a friendly fellow. The "ol man" was 6 foot 5 inches tall, weighed about 240 pounds, a towering man with big hands and complete power over his company.
I felt better about the situation, and decided my apprehension was just my own insecurities, and that I was just imagining things. I continued to work as usual.
One Monday morning I got a call to come to the President's office, he had more notes for a newsletter article I was writing. My boss was in a meeting so I could not interrupt him, so I went to the President's office alone. I first noticed his Secretary was absent that day, she sat right outside his door, but that day she wasn't there. I went in for the meeting, and as I stood up to leave, he put his arm around me. I had a handful of files in my hands, when I felt him spin me around and lock me tight into his arms.
My brain stopped. I went completely into survival mode. I told myself repeatedly to stay on my feet, to keep my balance, to not let him take me down onto a couch just behind me. I felt his hand slip under my blouse and then under my bra. His tongue went deep into my throat. I couldn't breathe. Then it was over. He let go and sent me on my way.
I went to the ladies lounge and collapsed onto the floor. I couldn't speak. I couldn't walk. I am not sure how long I was on that floor trying to wake up from this bad dream.
I found my purse and drove home without speaking a word. I got in the shower and stayed, wishing the water would wash these dirty feelings from me.
How do I deal with this? I can't go back to work and deal with this man on a daily basis. I began questioning if any of my hard work and talents were real, or just the wants of a dirty old man.
My life changed that day.
I changed that day.
This was 1989 and to this day I still feel the fear.
His name was William H. Perry.