#MeToo


Dearest Readers:

In the news, we continue hearing about the #MeToo epidemic. Many actresses and celebrities are finally coming forward about sexual molestation…sexual harassment…rape…and so on. Many are asking why it has taken them so long to come forward. My response – “You’ve never been a victim. Have you?”

If you read the last post I shared, you will know I was a victim too. No. Not from rape. I fought back hard and was able to fight my great-uncle off. While I’m certain other women fought, some were so horrified they could not fight back.

As a woman in a professional hospitality industry, I would like to share another incident I experienced. At the time, I worked in hospitality. On one occasion, I left my office to speak with someone on the floor below my office. I wore a black and white dress. White belt. Bolero jacket and high heels. Because I always wore heels, everyone who knew me, knew the click, click, clicking of my heels. I passed by the elevator. One of the instructors stopped me, telling me how “gorgeous you look today. Really inviting…” Then, he licked his lips and mumbled “Hmm…Hmm! You look edible today.”

At first, I ignored his comments, continuing to walk to my destination. Moments later, since no one was around and I did not have witnesses, I approached him.

He smiled a derogative smile. “You came back,” he said.

“Yes. I came back. Not to encourage you or express interest in what you were saying to me. I. Came. Back, to tell you from this moment on, you will address me with respect. The way you were looking at me, you were undressing me. I will not tolerate that behavior.”

He attempted to interrupt me, but I put my hand up to let him know I wasn’t finished. “From this day forward, you will not speak to me, or with me. You will look the other way, or you will turn away from me. How dare you to lick your lips and make such rude, suggestive comments to me.”

He moved closer. I pushed him back. “And, Mr. _____, IF you ever get the urge to lick your lips around me again, no doubt suggesting unbecoming ideas, I will press charges against you. What you did was disgusting and I will not tolerate it again. If needed, I will go to H-R to file a sexual harassment complaint.”

He gasped.

“Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes.” He said.

This instructor never spoke to me again. A few months later a student filed a complaint against him and he was escorted off of the property. The student left the campus, never to return.

I do not know exactly what happened to the student, but I was thankful the instructor would not be nearby again.

Yes. I should’ve filed a complaint, but at the time, my husband was unemployed and I needed the job. Since sexual harassment is such an open topic now, thanks to #MeToo, and the abundance of women coming forward, I am a bit disappointed in myself for not reporting it. I understand why women are hesitant, just like me.

Sexual harassment is not a new occurrence now. Sexual harassment has been happening for many, many years. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report it. While I haven’t stated where I worked at the time, or who the party was who sexually harassed me, I am coming forward to let others know it does happen. Women are made to feel as if we are the ones who caused this ‘epidemic’ to happen. I say, No. On the day it happened to me, I was left feeling scared and abused. I am proud of myself for approaching this disgusting man and letting him know his comments and actions made me uncomfortable. Obviously, he continued to make those off-colored comments to other women.

Some men never learn!

If you are reading this, and it happens to you, please stand up and speak out. Weeks after my incident I did ask our H-R professional what would happen IF someone filed a complaint against another colleague regarding sexual harassment. I was told, “It’s usually a question of He said…She said…IF there were no witnesses around.”

I wasn’t surprised. Today, I am thankful women are speaking up. It is time for us to stop being victims. Hopefully, #MeToo will give us the courage to share these disgusting incidents.

Let us all stand tall #MeToo!

 

In Memory of Chef Shane Whiddon


Good morning to all. If you follow my posts on Facebook and my blog, you will know yesterday was another tragic day in the Holy City of Charleston, SC.

Yesterday, a disgruntled, former employee walked into Virginia’s on King Restaurant with a sick mission on his mind. He reportedly has mental health issues.

Holding a weapon, he told everyone inside the restaurant to get on the floor and exit the building. One woman stated he pointed the weapon on her stomach. He did not shoot her.

Since I write about food and hospitality, I know quite a few chefs within the Lowcountry of Charleston, I researched Virginia’s on King Street Restaurant. At that time, I was able to click on to the website and read. I did not research the chef at that time.

Later, after reports of one person killed and the shooter in critical condition, I rushed back to the website, hoping to discover who the chef was. When I clicked on the site, I discovered it was temporarily unavailable. I realized there was probably only one reason the site was down. Perhaps the chef was the victim killed. Listening to the news reports, the interviews with Sheriff Al Cannon, and the Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, no one would share the name of the deceased victim or the name of the shooter.

While reports continued, a reputable friend sent me the name of Chef Shane Whiddon. Although he looked familiar to me, I do not recall ever having the privilege to interview him for a story. It is unfortunate that I’ve never eaten at Virginia’s on King Street.

Chef Anthony Shane Whiddon was 37-years-old, leaving a wife and two children.

http://abcnews4.com/news/crime-news/shane-whiddon-chef-at-virginias-on-king-dies-after-shooting-at-charleston-restaurant

I have no details about the shooter with exception that he was a ‘disgruntled former employee’ and he is in critical condition now.

My heart breaks for the family of Chef Shane Whiddon, Shannon, his wife, and their two lovely children. A neighbor of the family has established a Go Fund Me page, hopeful to raise $10,000 to go to the family.

https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/Eat/archives/2017/08/25/gofundme-campaign-created-to-support-the-family-of-chef-shane-whiddon-virginias-restaurant-homicide-victim

I’ve lived in the Holy City of Charleston for many years. I recall working as an intern at one of the local TV stations when I was in college. One of my responsibilities was to contact all police departments to see if anything was happening so we could be first with the “if it bleeds it leads,” stories. During my internship, the only report I discovered was a fire. No shootings. Killings. Rapes. Robberies. Drug busts…Nothing newsworthy.

I’ve had the honor and pleasure to know many successful chefs as students when I worked at Johnson & Wales University. Many of them are internationally famous, earning many awards for the amazing and tantalizing foods created by their talents, and many of these chefs chose to remain in Charleston. I suppose you could say, I have been blessed. Yes, indeed!

Now, almost daily there is a shooting. Drug busts and robberies. I ask myself: What has happened to the Holy City of Charleston?

Yes. This beautiful city has grown. Reportedly, we have lots of hopeful new residents moving into the lowcountry daily. I suppose with growth comes crimes. Now, we have crimes on a daily basis. I have been told by a number of people about how easy it is to get a weapon in South Carolina. I suppose I’m from the old school and don’t believe in weapons, but — this is South Carolina and in the Holy City, apparently it is rather easy to get a weapon. So sad. And now, another innocent victim is gone, all because a ‘disgruntled former employee walked into a restaurant and killed the chef.’

Since I am active within the hospitality industry, knowing many of the leaders of food and beverage and hospitality, I pray everyone will come together to assist the family of Chef Shane Whiddon. Now, his wife will be a single mom, raising two children who probably will never understand why their daddy was taken away by someone shooting and killing him. Just how do you explain that to a child? Yesterday morning, Chef left his family to go to work, creating delicious Southern foods for the guests at Virginia’s on King Street. He never came home.

Just what do you say when the children ask: “Where’s my daddy? Why can’t he come home to me? I miss my daddy.”

Chef Shane Whiddon was a family man. He had a generous heart and soul. I checked the Go Fund Me site only a moment ago. Contributions raised in only nine hours: $5,280.

No doubt the Holy City of Charleston feels the pain and loss, and so do I.

Such a sad day today. We are expecting more storms this afternoon probably like the torrential storms pouring down while the police officers rushed around to protect our city.  I must say, they did an amazing job yesterday. Makes me proud of our Holy City.

To the family and friends of Chef Shane Whiddon, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray God will guide all of you and give you strength during this traumatic time of grief.

If you would like to contribute to the Go Fund Me page for Chef Shane Whiddon, visit:

https://www.gofundme.com/helping-the-whiddon-family

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