Of Sexual Harassment Essay, Research Paper
?My Own Personal Experience with the Horror of Sexual Harassment?
A Realistic Fictional Work Written in the First Person to Educate Others on What to Do
It was a stormy night when I first came to grips with the horror that lay ahead.
Everybody loved Uncle Jack, but not me, at least not since IT happened. And it was every since IT happened that I knew for certainty when this day came that I would be frightened to the edge of my being. For it is on this day, every year for as long as I can remember, that Uncle Jack and I would take our camping jaunt to the Catskill Mountains.
Uncle Jack was on my father?s side, and a real joker to the end. When we would come together on Thanksgiving it was always he who would take the reins of the dinner conversation, leading us through wave after wave of laughter until our sides felt like bursting. He would go into such detail with each story, so well bringing it to a conclusion with his epic punch lines, that there was no escaping a snicker or two. But there is no more humor now, as I pack my bag dreaming of how it must feel to be a bird, and capable of flying away whenever you wished.
I have this inswallowable lump caught in my throat which keeps me from talking properly. It always agitates me when someone asks, ?Hey, are you okay?? Forced to answer, I will scrounge up a, ?Uh-huh, I?m fine,? but I always stutter it out thanks to the infernal lump impeding my speech. Each time I stutter it out I get so angry with myself I can bite the head off of whoever asks it, but really, I am furious with Uncle Jack. Even when I say his name my face turns sullen, as if I have deprived myself of sleep for days. And now, with each brutal shove of clothes into my bag, I feel helplessly hurtling to an inevitably immeasurably humiliating experience. This is my story of how I handled what my Uncle dealt.
My father, Tom Barnold, and my hideously grinning Uncle Jack entered my room.
?You could at least knock,? I stated with as much animosity as the situation would permit.
?Ooh! The temper on this one!? Jested Jack to Tom. My father, my own father, welcomed the jest with his discrete chuckles, but I can not blame him for he knew none of what that comment actually meant, and his ignorance was my fault, and mine alone.
?John, why are you all excited? I was just checking on you before you go off to the mountains with this loser over here,? replied my father elbowing his brother, ?why all the fuss?? With the directness of the question Jack was immediately alarmed, and from behind my father?s back he gave me a scowl that only I have ever had the privilege to witness, much in the contrast of his usually cheerful grin he brandished to everyone else.
?No reason, I guess,? blurted myself. My father seemed satisfied, and my Uncle relieved.
?Now Tom, you know your kid here has many of the same wussy quirks of his old man. It is just plain unfair to criticize him for your foul-ups.? Uncle Jack slipped into the conversation to relax the tense situation with a little levity. My father laughed again and left, leaving me alone with?him.
?Well sonny, that was sure a close call, don?t you agree?? his grin now completely faded, and I gave no response. ?Hey, don?t get silent with me, when I ask – you answer!? barked Uncle Jack.
?Yes, yes, yes, that was sure a close call. Do you have to bully me, even now, you have a whole week to do?what you do?? I stammered with a hint of independence.
?Yeah well, you know me,? the plush returning to his face, ?just getting in a few extra kicks.? I glared up at him, completely unaffected by his joke, teaming with anger, and wanting to express it. ?Just remember you little punk, don?t say anything stupid to your father, or you may regret it,? he retorted to my glare, and having reassured my secrecy he left me to cry. Not the type of crying after you crash your bicycle or the type of emotional wailing women acted out on the silver screen, but the inward crying, where only tears fall, because no one must hear your sadness. It was in this immense sorrow where I was weakened enough to mentally drift. I glanced out the window at the dark rain, and a bolt of lightning temporarily illuminated my dreary room, as I reminisced, or reenacted the horror, of when IT first occurred.
I went over the details countless times, trying to pinpoint my error, and possibly a solution my germinated predicament. Every time I would conclude that it was my fault, that I practically cast this dreadful shadow over myself through my own imbecility. The whole thing began with my turning of age, before then Uncle Jack was my hero, afterwards my most loathed oppressor. After a baseball game, which Uncle Jack brought me to for my fifteenth birthday, I was enjoying a pleasant ride home. My uncle had the coolest sports car, a red Ford Mustang, all the envy of my father. When we were about half way home, Uncle Jack shot me a peculiar inspection, and seemed to make a conclusion to himself. From this conclusion he spoke to me, ?You know, I don?t quite feel like heading home just yet, what do you say we go for some ice cream?? True, I was the manly age of fifteen, but there was no way I would refuse ice cream, even at that ripe old stage of life, so, of course, I said , ?Yes.? He smiled warmly, and took a turn to the right, away from home, and towards ice cream, or so I thought. Countless times I bashed myself for this weakness: if only I would have refused the ice cream, if only I had been that much smarter. But I realize now that there is no way I could have possibly imagined, even in a worst nightmare, how my simple answer, ?Yes,? could have led to so much horror.
It was when we passed the second ice cream store that I decided to say something, not out of worry, but more out of my own eagerness for the cool, sweet taste of my favorite dessert. ?Jack! Com?on! We have already passed two ice cream places, when are we going to stop??
?Relax, you are always so wound up, I mean the temper on you!? This was why I, even to this day, recall the horror every time someone mentions ?the temper on me.? But the reason it is engraved in my memory is for what he said directly afterwards. ?I don?t feel that some lousy ?Carvel? ice cream is befitting this most important occasion. No, I am going to get you something much much better, only it is at my house, and we are going to have to go there to get it because you can?t find stuff as good as it anywhere else.? I did not say anything because at fifteen I knew when it was impolite to speak, or at least awkward. However, the tone on his voice was unlike anything I have ever heard from him before, and I was a little frightened. I should have spoke up, I should have spoke up, but, alas, I said nothing and walked right into the biggest trap of my whole life. Specifics are unnecessary, and the Lord himself knows I would do anything to avoid rehashing what transpired when we came to his house, even in my head. It was dark, excruciating, shameful, humiliating, twisted, and I never ever want to go there again.
While recalling IT, I had fallen asleep into another nightmare, and with the thunder right outside my window, it was not long before I awoke startled. I thought for a moment, evaluating my situation. I began to surge with so much bottled up hatred for Uncle Jack. The more I sat thinking of how much I hated him, the more I felt as though I was about to do something, something big. I was unsure what, or how, but all this emotion was about to explode without my control. I stood up, or actually jumped up. My fists were clenched, as were my teeth, and my eyes were peeled on the doorway. ?Something is gonna happen, something is gonna happen?? I repeated in my head.
I turned around about to sit down and return to feeling sorry for myself, which was so much easier. I was about to succumb to the urge when I decided that was impossible, spun around, and kicked open my door. I burst out of my room, and leapt down the stairs. ?Something is gonna happen, something is gonna happen?? I past right by my mother, who turned her head, shocked at my facial expression, but I was not about to stop my momentum now.
I was still unsure what I was going to do, but I knew it involved me, Uncle Jack, and maybe his car. I stopped in the kitchen, turned to my father and Jack talking, and acted as normal as I could. ?Uh, hey, Jack, could you lend my your keys. I need to load something in the trunk.? I suddenly realized my bag was up stairs, and that he would notice the flaw in my plan, but he was so arrogant in his assumption that he dominated my will, he did not think twice about tossing the keys over. ?Something is gonna happen, something is gonna happen?? I marched straight outside, hopped into his beloved car, turned it on, and slipped her into reverse. ?Stop. Wait. What am I doing?? I thought for a moment. That was the point of no return, just before backing out of the driveway, and I knew it. I thought it was a useless and senseless thing to do, reckless and dangerous, to myself even. No, there was no turning back, Uncle Jack wanted to ruin my life, fine, but I would ruin his right back at him. ?Uncle Jack, could you come out here for a moment? I need some help with your trunk.? I shouted out of the window as best I could. Fully aware that he sensed no urgency yet, I bided my time preparing for his arrival. I backed the car to the end of the driveway, half into the street, slid the transmission into drive, and waited. It seemed too long. For a moment, out there in the dark rain, I thought I was recognized, and maybe he was phoning the police, rather then coming out. I was wrong, he was just lazy, another common trait of his. As he stepped out he appeared confused. I had to strain my eyes even to see him. He was just standing there, looking around in the dark, trying to find his Mustang when I turned on the headlights. I wanted him to know who it was before I did what I was going to do, even though I still did not know for sure what I was going to do. He stopped quickly and stared directly into my eyes, and I into his. He looked different. Through the rain, the nighttime blanket of darkness, and even through the blinding flashes of lightening, I noticed his estranged expression. He wanted me to do it, as if he himself was ashamed of his own actions, but at the time, I would have none of it. I slammed on the gas pedal and that beautiful car purred through the thunder of the storm heading right at him.
It was through luck and luck alone, that my father lunged in the nick of time to wrench Jack from the path of the roaring beast of a car. I collided with the garage causing some heavy damage to my house, but only sustaining a few scratches on myself. Evidently Jack was not just being lazy in his meandering way when he strolled out of the house after my waiting for a quarter of an hour in his car. He was in fact speaking to my father, letting him know what was going on, and, in some way aware of what I was about to do, tried to commit suicide. Had my father remained stunned for a few moments more, Uncle Jack would not be serving time in prison to correct his behavior, but instead pushing up daisies in the local cemetery while I was carted off to prison for murder. Only now can I have the respect for the situation and understand why what I tried to do, how I attempted to solve my problem, was not only stupid and foolish, but illegal and unjustified. My Uncle put me through hell, but that was no reason for me to send myself there. Uncle Jack was a man with a problem, hopefully receiving the needed betterment from a correctional facility.
Thinking back, a more reasonable reaction would have been a confrontation with my father. I should have let him know what was going on, and if he did not believe me, I should have spoken to a police officer, or someone in power who would believe me. Aggression never solves anything, only makes matters worse. Had I realized this, I would have acted completely different. If I had a second chance, I think I would have chosen to tell my Uncle, back when we went for ice cream, that he was making me uncomfortable. The silence I abided by was wrong, and dangerous. I can only hope my story will be of some help to someone else in a similar position. Letting them know that they are not alone, they should talk to someone, and that violence is never the answer.