The Tough Girl Trap

Julie was raised to be a tough girl. She could run a forklift better than any man in her workplace. She knew how to hunt, fish, and defend herself in a fight. She also loved a good mani-pedi – because being tough didn’t take away from being feminine.

Julie worked with all men in a construction industry. She fought her way to each promotion she got by working twice as hard as the men around her, but it was worth it to her to know she proved herself.

The problem was her general manager was sexually harassing her. He criticized her body to customers, went through her phone when she wasn’t looking, and even snapped her bra, among other things. Julie initially thought she was “tough enough” to handle the harassment. She looked at it almost like a hazing that she could make it through and get to the other side.

The problem is that sexual harassment is not hazing. With hazing, the idea is that once we prove ourselves, the hazing ends. When we don’t identify sexual harassment and do something about it, it only gets worse.