Using Gretchen Carlson as a model for changing the way women fight sexual harassment is tone deaf.

I am a 67 y/o woman who has worked in many jobs.  From paper boy, farm worker, kitchen helper, short order cook, motel maid, bartender, cocktail waitress, college instructor, to then completing college to serve two tours of duty as a US Army Nurse in the 44th Medical Battalion in Danang, returning home, getting my Master’s then working as a Family and Neurological Nurse Practitioner.  I NEVER signed an “employment contract” unless signing up for the Army counts!

I have worked two to three jobs at a time–Nurse Practitioner, critical care nurse on weekend night shifts and subbing as a nursing instructor at the college of nursing.  The majority of women don’t sign employment contracts!  Women who work in the home whether as wife and mother or self-employed..don’t have contracts!  House wives and self-employed ARE sexually assaulted too!  I became a widow in 2009 and while moving to a basement apartment with my service dog, I was assaulted–well raped by the cable guy installing my new system!  He said, she said–never indicted–he even returned as he convinced himself it was consensual!

Your using Gretchen Carlson, a woman who came from a life of privilege–Miss America, Oxford, violin lessons, then working as a talking head on TV (Fox and Friends with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade) hardly counts as hard hitting Peabody Award investigative journalism.

When I worked as a motel maid or cocktail waitress I HAD to wear a uniform—invariably for the latter position it was a VERY short dress, high heels, and a plunging neckline.  The nightclub manager told us waitresses to flirt with every customer…”Make him think that he gets to take you home after work!”  I was shown how to walk “enticingly” and to be sure to lean well over male customers when placing drinks on the table…”The guys should know that it’s ok to touch you.”  My twin sister refused to let a guy slide his hand up her skirt.  Twice she pulled away and said NO!. The third time she poured a drink over his head…Of course she was fired immediately; they apologized profusely to the customer and gave him and his table free drinks.  This was in the late 1960s and in retrospect my sister probably had Asperger’s; she sobbed and was inconsolable..”I will NEVER get another job now!” She spiraled downhill and was 100% disabled for life.

EVERY woman I have EVER talked to has been sexually assaulted.  And I have talked with many women in my line of work–as colleagues, students, patients.  So I don’t understand the quote of “one in four women are sexually assaulted!”

Ask ANY woman about the time a first time date expected sex after a dinner and movie–“You OWE me!”  And many girls acquiesced.  Just this afternoon while shopping at the Tractor Supply I spoke with a woman about Trump’s outrageously condescending comments. (“Lewd” doesn’t begin to describe his speech on the Access Hollywood bus!) She told me a story about the vice president of the largest manufacturer in this small town.  She said she met him at new personnel orientation.  She was filling the position of a counselor in the company’s health care division.  All medical treatment was done under the auspices of the company.  The Emory medical center in Atlanta 60 miles away was contracted for major trauma or referrals for treatment beyond the scope of this department.  She was excited as she had returned to school to get her Master’s in psych counseling after her children had left home.  She was 50 years old and said she was surprised when this young VERY good looking VP asked her out.  She asked him if it was “OK” to date fellow employees, especially someone “so high up in administration and he told her “No problem!”  He also “neglected” to tell her he was married. This was her first job outside the home.

She was newly widowed and this was all overwhelming–new career, new life–starting over!  He picked her up in his Jaguar, then said he “forgot” his wallet at his apartment and invited her up.  Yes she WAS raped.  She said nothing to anyone as she needed the job…and felt “I must have led him on!  It MUST have been my fault.  Was I too eager, should I have worn perfume (!!)”  That was 20 years ago and her eyes filled with tears as she talked about it.  He never spoke to her again.  As the psych counselor she ended up hearing the SAME story over and over from new employees.  All had been small town women who had been born and raised in the same small community, same Baptist church, a graduate of one of the three small high schools in this rural Georgia county.

For 20 years she heard about this serial sexual predator and could do NOTHING!  He was a county commissioner, sat on the Board of the local hospital, was an admired man whose best friend was the Chief of Police.  Each woman said the same thing–“My word against his!  Oh and PLEASE don’t tell anyone.”  The other executives MUST have known as this creep was using a condo maintained by the company for out of town visitors–much “nicer” than the local motels. He was never promoted, just stayed as a VP.

It only stopped when he died of a heart attack at age 57.

I will tell you what it was like being a critical care nurse in the 1970s.  We nurses returned from Vietnam with skills never taught in our nursing colleges–trauma medicine and caring for chest injury patients.  Intensive Care Units were now being built in every hospital.  We were proud of our skills and we taught other RNs how to work with these much sicker patients, how to work with advanced medical equipment–ventilators, pressure lines that transferred images onto oscilloscopes–early cardiac monitors.  We developed courses in Advanced Cardiac Life Support with newly minted cardiologists and anesthesiologists.  Then we also developed Advanced Trauma Life Support courses to deal with the new high velocity bullets from the modified M-16s from the Vietnam War–the AR-15s now on the streets.

In the 1960s and 1970s all the ICU doctors and especially the surgeons were men and we nurses all women…but STRONG women proud of being critical care RNs. This was also Utah which was 50% Mormon and patriarchal. We women were told over and over that the doctor was always right.

There were 80 of us ICU nurses in this one 25 bed unit.  All of us were young, most of us  unmarried, and physically active–skiers, backpackers, and most of bicycled everywhere and to work.  I was proud of being in shape–muscular with tan legs and arms. We were all under age 35.  We showered there and changed into scrub dresses–no scrub pants at that time.  Two snaps in the back of the dress and a tie around the waist.

I could not begin to count the times that I would be working with a new patient just back from open heart surgery…I’d have both hands busty, hanging blood, plasma, IVs, working with the pressure gauges on the monitor and setting up the bedside ventilator, adjusting oxygen percentages, rates, changing dressings, giving antibiotics, and adjusting blood pressure medications being pumped into central IV lines.

INVARIABLY a young male surgical resident or the anesthesiologist would come in, slide behind me, unsnap the buttons on my scrub dress, reach in and fondle my breasts and rub up against me.  I would just try to move away, laugh it off–“Come on Joel–let me work!” If we needed to do CPR, it was the duty of the RN to get up on the surgical gurneys, kneel next to the patient and do chest compressions.  EVERY time a male doctor would slide his hands up our thighs and grab our crotches.  We would just continue to keep counting out loud so that the anesthesiologist would know when to breathe for the patient.

There was a satirical book out in 1978 that everyone read called “House of God.”  Everyone quoted it from it, everyone remembered how RNs were there to be USED as sex objects by the male surgical residents.

We RNs just didn’t bring it up…oh if we went on a skiing weekend up at Jackson Hole and after drinking heavily, someone would bring it up—but it was almost like BRAGGING!  Who got “hit on the most” and which good looking doctor made the “advances.”  NO ONE thought of it as sexual assault!  We were THAT brainwashed!  This was the era of the Equal Rights Amendment and trying to get 38 states to ratify the amendment passed by congress in 1972.  I was the lobbyist for the Utah State Legislature from the Nurses’ Association–a thankless, non-paying position–but one where I learned about good and the very bad about politics in Utah.  95% of the ICU RNs I worked with were NOT Mormon.  I went to a National Nurses’ Convention in Miami where we had session learning how to work with state legislatures in getting ratification.  As the sponsors moved around the room handing out packets of information for ratification, strategical moves, etc–they got to me–saw Salt Lake City, Utah on my name pin–laughed and said “Well we don’t need to waste any dox on you!”  I was flummoxed–“What are you talking about?”  They told me that the Mormon Church and the state’s two largest newspapers were dead set against the ERA. I was SO naive.  It wasn’t until I left Utah did I realize how subservient women were!

I changed after that–went back to school to get my Master’s Degree as an Independent Nurse Practitioner, met women AND men RNs from around the country and began seeing that RNs were NOT play toys for doctors. That nursing was an honorable profession.

Every year nurses get the HIGHEST ratings in Gallup polls for ethics and honesty.  Time to take back my pride, take back my body.  But it is still hard!  Most hospitals think RNs are replaceable while getting good MDs makes or breaks a medical center and its national ratings.  It helps a LOT that more men have chosen nursing as a career and that more women are in medical school. STILL nurses are not treated with the respect we deserve–and we women are light years away from respect.

I’d like to tell you about the four times I have been raped–enough to say that none of the rapists were indicted much less convicted and “He said” still carries much more weight than “She said.”  This is a misogynistic country…and I hate it more each day.

But Gretchen Carlson of the 1% in NO WAY speaks for me or my sisters.

According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.  There are 20-30 million sex slaves today.  100% of women have been sexually assaulted–just TALK to real women!  It starts when we are 8, 9 years old…and our country does NOT care.  They don’t!  We are here to be used by men who hold the power, the men who make up 95% of Fortune 500 companies–the 80% of US Senators–the millions of men who stand up for Trump.