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Pulling the "Push Only" Door

“The only other advice I have is that things are really sexist, and we just have to deal with it.”

Early in my legal career, this was what I heard when I approached another employment attorney about sexual harassment I was experiencing. At the time, I was trying to take preventative steps before the harassment got too bad because I loved the work I was doing. I asked this lawyer how to set clear boundaries in my job with a much older man who seemed interested in me. I was so discouraged by the advice to “just deal with it” that I stopped talking about my experience as it got worse and worse over the course of a year.

Every time my boss would rub my shoulders or lean his body against mine, I would experience a complete freeze and dissociation. I found myself unable to say anything, even though I had never been someone to back down from defending myself. I had experienced harassment in the past and had always been able to stop it and stand up for myself. I knew I was smart and tough, but somehow this was different than what I had experienced i