Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Open Thread: Herman Cain

We’ve been trying to refrain from writing about politics until 2012 actually arrives, but Herman Cain is rapidly pushing himself up the priority list.

His platform is essentially all the Republican talking points from the last few years – less regulation of business (yes, even in these times), religion as a base for public life, military might makes right, the whole bit. However, most people aren’t talking about Cain’s stance on the issues these days.

At this point, four different women have come forward, alleging sexual harassment from Cain. The most recent woman, Sharon Bialek, has come forward publicly, with Gloria Alred, to make her case.

Predictably, Republicans are minimizing the allegations – however, they chose to do this in the strangest way possible. Apparently, they thought it would be a good idea to resurrect the “high tech lynching” slogan from the Clarence Thomas years – just as the the Anita Hill 20 Years Later conference reminded us of how race and gender matters tend to explode. (To their “credit,” so far the Republican establishment is backing race over gender – the fourth accuser is a white woman, and they are still throwing her under the bus for trying to tarnish Cain’s reputation. That could be it’s own commentary, but I’m leaving that alone for now.)

Floor is yours.


by Guest Contributor Fiqah, originally published at Possum Stew
[NOTE: This post was originally penned back in September. The police officer in question is obviously no longer a threat to my safety. However, because a lot of what I discuss in this post is triggering, it took me a while to get to a place where I felt comfortable posting it.  If you have any bad experiences with police harassment or street/sidewalk harassment, you might want to skip this post altogether.]

Today I cried on a stack of lemons at the supermarket. I should note here that crying in public, much less on produce, is atypical Fiqah behavior. Public crying is embarrassing AND unattractive, and as a pretty and vain chronic sinusitis sufferer, I know that Puffy-Sobby-Wetface is NOT my best look. But today, that’s exactly what I did: stuck my elbows in a stack of sunny yellow lemons, buried my face in my palms, and sobbed. It was early afternoon, and the produce section was thankfully empty. I don’t know how long I stood there before I was able to collect myself, wipe my obviously-been-crying face, clean my smeary glasses, and make my purchase. I ignored the eyes of the cashier, the concerned and alarmed expression of the man bagging my groceries, and the fiery burning of my beet-red ears as I left the store. You fucking idiot! I thought as I made my way back home. You forgot he was there!

I guess now would be a good time to explain myself.

For the past month or so, I have been the recipient of the unwanted attentions of a cop. This officer, whose beat is at a park in my neighborhood, first approached me when I was coming back from running some morning errands. At the time, I was carrying a few large shopping bags and wearing ear buds blasting M.I.A. I didn’t see him until he was right next to me, grabbing one of the heavier bags right out of my hand and startling me stupid. The cop, a Latino man in his late thirties, purred a too-familiar “hello” and told me that he it looked like I needed some help. All this as he took off his sunglasses and frankly assessed my bosom. A chill had gone through my whole body as I’d smiled and stammered a nervous thank you, moving my purse around to from my side to my front in an attempt to cover my breasts. Continue reading