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Author Topic: Yesterday i filed a sexual harrassment complaint...
porcelain girl
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against SANTA CLAUS.

yes, apparently jolly old saint nick took a liking to this little redheaded elf at my company's children's christmas party. (i work at a large toyota dealership.) i took a picture with mr. and mrs. claus along with the other receptionists so we could put our pictures up together for a laugh, and a few coworkers joked that santa liked having me sit on his lap a little too much.
unfortunately they were right. after the other receptionists left santa came up behind me (i answer phones at the receptionist desk) and started rubbing my shoulders. mrs. claus was right there, so i just kinda said "oh, uh, is that my christmas present or something?" but was sorta uncomfortable.
then he came up behind me while i was reading (hart's hope) and started running his white gloved fingers up and down my neck and through my hair..GAAAAAAAAAAAH it was gross and i told him to stop. and he kept calling me by my name, which was disconcerting, because i hadn't told him it, but apparently he overheard.
i was so creeped out and pissed off and kept scratching my neck to try and wipe out the feeling of his icky fingers.
then he had the gaul to try and pass off some broken candy canes to me - the dirty bastard was lucky i didn't break one off into a shiv and slice open that bowl full of jelly like a grapefruit.
::shudder::
i hate santa claus.

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ana kata
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porce, are you serious? ick, ick, ick! I'm so glad you filed a complaint!

They should double the penalty, whatever it is, because he was wearing a Santa suit at the time. Is nothing sacred?

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T_Smith
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::shudder::

That so totally sucks, and more power to you for filling the report.

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mackillian
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*gets stick* [Mad]

Dirty Old Men.

Kick some ass, sara!

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odouls268
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You know, if you want, I can come kick the piss out of him. I dont require paperwork. Im a 'cut through the red tape' kinda guy. All I ask is that I get to wear my "If you mess with the bull, you get the horns!" tshirt while I'm kicking.
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mackillian
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Can I have a tshirt like that?!
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jexx
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icky icky ew ew!

UGH

*shudder*

That's really really creepy, sara. I hope that man meets up with odouls in a dark alley somewhere.

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TomDavidson
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Does the Santa Claus in question work for your company, too?
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porcelain girl
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no, tom. he is just an old man that gets hired by a bunch of people every year.

i found it extra disturbing because, though i am in my twenties, i have that "barely legal" look still.
and him calling me by my name. ew.

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porcelain girl
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i wanted to say something to him but it's hard when you are totally taken my surprise like that.
especially when the perpetrator does something not quite so bad that you can plain out call them on it, but bad enough that you feel really slimy.

it was inappropriate, no question about that.

but i was hesitant to cuss out santa claus in front of a bunch of five year olds.

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Da_Goat
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Senior citizens are nothing but trouble. That's one thing I've always said, and I feel there's enough evidence to help back that up as more than just a prejudice.

Anyway, this kind of off-topic, but I just noticed you're a redhead named Sarah? That's freaky: the last four or five redheads I've met have also been 'Sarah's. I've always thought it was a pretty redheddish name, and I guess I'm not the only one with that opinion.

Anyway, good luck on filing your report. That guy so deserves to lose money, or if this was a perfect planet, much, much more than that. And, especially if what you say about your appearance ("barely legal") is true, this guy should not be allowed to be so close to children.

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Lalo
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I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here. Not only because it's a habit I tend to fall into, but also because I've done something remarkable similar with the Little Mermaid at Disneyland. Once upon a time, I visited Disneyland and, having always had a crush on Ariel, waited in line with the five-year-olds to take my picture with her. When it was my turn, I picked her up, put her in my lap, and we shared a smooch. Nothing heavy, or anything, but nonetheless sexual interaction.

Now, in my defense, I'm sure my kiss was reciprocated, and I know for my part the whole thing was just done in good fun. I'm pretty sure the same holds true for her -- actually, I'm 100% sure, but I could be wrong in the sense that I could be wrong that my eyes are green.

Did you make it 100% clear to this guy that he needed to get his hands off you? From my reading of your post, you didn't tell him so when he was rubbing your shoulders, and you didn't stop him until he'd already run his fingers through your hair and down your neck several times. While I, personally, think it's creepy for an old dude to be hitting on a chick who looks sixteen, or whatever, maybe he was unaware that you weren't enjoying his advances? Advances that, while unwarranted, aren't really forceful enough to be considered assault and could be an aggressive form of flirting?

I want to repeat, I'm not empathatic with the guy, nor am I particularly sympathetic for old dudes who want to touch younger (and younger-looking) chicks. But are you sure you weren't his Ariel? Did you make your feelings clear from the get-go? About how long after you told him no did he actually stop pawing you? And by "Mrs. Claus," I assume you mean the character, not this guy's actual wife -- is he a bachelor?

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LadyDove
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sara-

I've found it very effective to firmly take the offending hand at the wrist, look the guy in the eyes and say in your most librarian voice,"No thank you".

I am so happy that you're going to report the "bad santa". Hopefully your dealership will forward the complaint to his employer, assuming he's not employed by the dealership. It would be interesting to get his name find out if he's "registered" in your area.

Eddie's story aside, I'm shocked that someone of so short and public an acquaintance would become aggressive that quickly. I bet it's not the first time he's "acted out".

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Bob_Scopatz
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Are you sure that wasn't just Dan_Raven?
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porcelain girl
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i was under the impression that mrs. claus was really this guy's wife.

that is why i didn't know what to say when he was rubbing my shoulders, i thought maybe he was just a nice old man that had empathy for stressed out receptionists. and mrs. claus was standing right there!

but it is not appropriate for some man that doesn't know you to go up and put his hands on you like that, and it wasn't just a quick squeeze squeeze, it was a sustained act.

it wasn't until he called me sara (no H, ever.)and started stroking my wispy red hair that i freaked out.
gawds. ew. it makes my stomach hurt.
it was just creepy how he acted like he knew me, which he DIDN'T and used his santa character as an excuse to touch young women AFTER the photo op.
frikkin jerk.
you just never realize what is going on when it's going on, and don't get the chance to stand up and be a bada$$, oh no, you just remain the little girl that lets out an awkward squeal of "no" and then sits sullen faced, raking her nails across her neck wishing she had punched him in the face and risked being fired instead of sitting in the juices of knowing what he was thinking. just gross, man, totally gross.

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human_2.0
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It isn't that hard to tell when flirting isn't mutual. And rubbing shoulders was always flirting or fatherly in my book. Rubbing neck and saying person's name is more than flirting and never fatherly in my book.

I doubt you can really be prepared for something like that. He wasn't Santa, he was a wolf in sheeps clothing...

I just met a Sara (no 'H') last week, with red hair, and better yet, she had an identical twin! Two red heads! (one named "Sara") And they have that young look too! (being only 10 years old...)

[ December 23, 2003, 02:27 AM: Message edited by: human_2.0 ]

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Hobbes
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((((((((Porce))))))))

That's so awful, I'll keep you in my prayers.

Hobbes [Smile]

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odouls268
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Oh jexx, I dont need a dark alley. I'll whip a filthy old man's ass in broad daylight. I've got no qualms with that. All I need is someone to point him out.

[Mad]

[ December 23, 2003, 04:16 AM: Message edited by: odouls268 ]

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jexx
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Yes, Davedear, I just don't want you to get into any legal trouble. *grin* I was going to say "in broad daylight where other people can see what a whiny butthead this fake Santa is", but then I thought of the children. [Wink]
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Maccabeus
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*phones Mr. Kris Kringle* He took out a guy who was drinking in a Santa suit...he'll probably drop this guy out of the sleigh at 10000 feet. [Mad]

Um, also, btw, my sister's name is Sara, and her hair is blonde.

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amira tharani
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Bleck. I'm glad you reported him. Go Porce!
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scottneb
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Hey, I just wanted to say something about this.

Porce, (I won't use your first name for obvious reasons) it is absolutely imperative that you understand something about men. In all my dealings, I've found that there are basically two different and totally seperate forms of men. Those that respect women and those that don't. You obviously fell into a very bad situation with a man that has no respect for the sanctity of women. Don't ever think that is your fault. Most women after an encounter like this will internalize the situation and blame nobody but themselves. That is very untrue, and please don't think that. You haven't said that you have these thoughts, but I can see that others in this thread have had a situation like this, reverted inward and would have you do the same. All I have to say is don't. You should always remember that there is another side to men, those of us that would do anything to preserve the well being of the women around us. You probably know of a few of us. Just don't forget, men cannot be generalized.

-scottneb-

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Pixie
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Good for you Porce. [Smile] I hope someone does something about your complaint. Creepy old men are bad enough when you know they're watching you but touching... ::shivers:: When I was skating last year I always thought it was unnerving to have these 40-somethings there to watch their daughters end up watching me instead. Made me wonder what their wives'd think about them chaperoning their little girls in the future. This one guy in particular. He never talked to me (Thank god!) but he'd always move into whichever section of the rink or prep area I was working in.

...And, since we're talking about the connection between "Sara" and redheads... I'm a natural redhead and my name's Morgan, not Sara (very pretty name BTW), thank-you-very-much. [Wink] [Smile]

Edit: Very good point, Scottneb. [Smile]

[ December 23, 2003, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: Pixie ]

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Tresopax
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You should demand to be put on the permanent "nice" list as compensation. [Wink]
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Dan_raven
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It wasn't me, no matter what Evil Bob says.

I never flirt with the people in my Santa Lap, especially if Mrs. Claus is around.

I am sorry to hear about this Porce. My wife went through a similar situation with an arcade owner.

The offender needs a reindeer horn inserted where the snow never falls.

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twinky
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*hug*

Come to Canada, where the real Santa lives. The real Santa isn't a dirty old man. [Smile]

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Rhaegar The Fool
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Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew.
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Krankykat
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porce:
My wife and I never would let our kids "visit" Santa... ever. I know most of the mall santa types are nice old men who like to chugg eggnog, but I would lay odds that a large percent are pedophiles and perverts. You did the right thing.

lalo:
quote:
[Evil] I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here. [Evil Laugh]
I thought you always played the devils advocate.
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Rakeesh
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I'm glad you're OK, but sorry you had to endure that experience:( Blegh!

Puttin' your hands on someone uninvited is or isn't inappropriate and potentially illegal only if she doesn't mind. You're putting a lot in a person's hands there, and that's no pun intended.

Now, I'd like to lay on a whoopass for Santa Claus. Although it won't happen, it is at least pleasant to hope he gets his ass stomped in the near future:)

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ana kata
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Yeah, I want to reiterate strongly that when someone does something like this it's highly inappropriate, and grounds for losing their job, and so on.

They are nasty and offensive on a lot of different levels, and anyone who thinks it's just guys being guys, or excusable in any way, is mistaken.

He chose a time and place, around children and so on, when you would be less able to react freely, he took you by surprise, and he didn't care how you felt about it. It clearly didn't matter to him whether you felt it to be revolting or what. He wasn't doing it for you, but just for his own enjoyment. The key here is that he's trying to be coercive. To make it impossible for you to refuse. Very nasty.

My own recommended method for dealing with people who touch inappropriately (and you have to be expecting it, really, to be able to do this, so it is best used as a way to stop a repeat offender that you have to be around often) is to hurt them, then apologize. Severe physical pain is SUCH a good training method. It speaks straight to the hind brain and says "ouch" if the person should ever think to try that again.

I know I've outlined this method for Sara before, but it's so very effective and powerful that I want to tell it again for the benefit of all girls who are being treated this way. If a person fails to read the body language that says "hands off", if they don't understand what it means that you freeze up in horror when they rub your neck, or whatever, then the next time they touch you, lash out. Spin around and punch them in the face, or step very hard down on their instep, or kick them or elbow them hard in the ribs. Whatever you want to do.

Then when they are doubled up going "ow ow ow" you can apologize profusely, "Oh, dear, are you all right? You startled me, I'm SO sorry! I hope I didn't hurt you!" Insincere as can be but perfectly polite. They can't get angry. It was just an accident, you see. They shouldn't have startled you like that. So, because most sexual harrassment is by people you know, family friends or coworkers or uncles or something, people against whom you are reluctant to begin legal action, you can do this instead and train the person never to do that again, while also maintaining normal "cordial" politeness between you.

People who do this are on the level of reaching out to grab shiny things. They are on the level of a toddler. It's very effective with people like that to slap their hands, figuratively speaking. Cause them some pain, hopefully without permanent injury, (but they take their chances), and you will be amazed at how quickly they learn. They will never touch you again. After two or three girls respond this way, they will be cured forever of this ugly and very wrongheaded way of interacting with girls.

This applies to women and girls too. I've heard of cases of this happening with the sexes reversed.

If you want evidence that the world is becoming a better place, realize that when I was a girl it was not even seen as bad or offensive when men acted this way, but just the way things were. The New Yorker magazine used to have cartoons regularly showing beautiful young secretaries being mauled by their old bosses, being chased around the boardroom, etc. It was just a joke, something to snicker at, not something that could be changed. If you complained, it would have immediately come back on you. Well, why do you dress that way? Why are you so pretty? What did you expect? Quit being so mean to poor men who are at the mercy of their hormones. Yes, the world is a far better place in many ways, since my childhood.

[ December 23, 2003, 03:49 PM: Message edited by: ana kata ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
If you want evidence that the world is becoming a better place, realize that when I was a girl it was not even seen as bad or offensive when men acted this way, but just the way things were. The New Yorker magazine used to have cartoons regularly showing beautiful young secretaries being mauled by their old bosses, being chased around the boardroom, etc. It was just a joke, something to snicker at, not something that could be changed.
Yep, just like it used to be "funny" to drink and drive.

Word, ana kata. Good advice.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
People who do this are on the level of reaching out to grab shiny things. They are on the level of a toddler. It's very effective with people like that to slap their hands, figuratively speaking. Cause them some pain, hopefully without permanent injury, (but they take their chances), and you will be amazed at how quickly they learn. They will never touch you again. After two or three girls respond this way, they will be cured forever of this ugly and very wrongheaded way of interacting with girls.

Bright shiny objects!!! That's a great observation! I think you're right.

My grandmother said she always regretted the end of women wearing hats, mainly because it gave her an excuse to have a hatpin handy when these occassions arose.

Ouch!!!

By the way, Porce, please don't think that my levity earlier means I don't take this kind of thing seriously or that I think it was no big deal. I think this kind of thing should always be reported and the person should be evaluated. Seriously. It may be a small percentage of these creeps who escalate their behavior over time, but anyone who lacks the social understanding regarding groping strangers isn't really that far from more serious assault, IMHO.

You definitely did the right thing. I hope this jerk gets taught a lesson.

Personally, I wouldn't advocate the slap or trying a knee to the groin (or even a hatpin). There's always a chance that the dude was actually restraining himself and you might find that by hurting him, you buy yourself some real trouble.

It's better to deal with this with employers and/or the police, IMHO.

[ December 23, 2003, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Bob_Scopatz ]

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porcelain girl
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thanks for the comments and support, guys.

i'm fine, but it's good to be able to share crap like this.

btw, i am naturally a blonde,as well.
i think pod used to have a pic of my real hair, but it's long since been red [Smile]

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UofUlawguy
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Why am I thinking of the opening of The World According to Garp?
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littlemissattitude
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Ewwww. Icky.

I apologize to the men here in advance, by saying that I am by no means talking about all men, just the ones who can't keep their hands (and bodies) to themselves.

What is it with some men? I mean, as a woman I've seen men who are very tempting - but I would never dream of walking up to them and just touching them. That's just rude. I just don't understand why there are men who can't control themselves any better than they do. There is a man at church - supposed to be a happily married older Mormon man (he has kids my age) - who used to come up and start touching my hair all the time. I kept telling him to quit it, but every time he got in touching distance, he'd do it again.

I tried telling others at church that I didn't like it, didn't appreciate it, and felt it was inappropriate. You know what their answer was? "That's just the way he is. He doesn't mean any harm." Excuse me? My not wanting the touching isn't harm enough? He would probably still do it, but I stay as far away from him as I can - that situation is one of the reasons I don't go to church very often. Not only does he creep me out; I don't particulary want to spend my time with people who don't see anything wrong with unwanted touching.

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bn
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Hmm, in defence of the man described in the above anecdote... Some people ARE just like that, and can't help it. I'm 99-100% sure that he didn't mean it in a sexual way, just that was his way of showing affection.

There's a similar guy at our church, he's 50something and still lives with his parents because he's mentally disabled. To anyone that wouldn't know his background you'd think he was anything from a sleazebag to a peadophile, but that just isn't the case.

Granted, I'm sure it bugged the hell out of you, but it comes down to people needing to be a bit more tolerant of everyone.

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porcelain girl
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sometimes affection is unwarranted, unwanted, and also inappropriate.
touching does NOT have to be sexual to be inappropriate or disturbing.
if someone says no, or they don't like it, whatever--- it doesn't matter how you were touching them, unless you are saving their life, keep your hands to yourself.

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littlemissattitude
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This guy I was describing is not mentally disabled. And I don't care if he meant it in a sexual way or not. And he has never shown any sign of having any "affection" for me, of any kind. He's got a hair fetish. Everyone in the ward knows it. He is known for going around and asking women if he can cut their hair. I'm not sure why his wife tolerates it.

Anyway, my saying no should be enough to stop him touching me. I think it is a sign of great disrespect for any individual to touch any other individual, when that individual has asked, clearly and politely, not to be touched.

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mackillian
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I have a personal space bubble around me. Sara and jexx and anne kate know. I have a neon sign blaring that says "Do not touch!"

Except for some reason, nurses have explained to me (those nurses who were responsible for my care in the hospital) that that kind of sign actually told them TO hug me.

[Dont Know]

But.

Unless you KNOW someone well, not touching them is...polite.

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Tresopax
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quote:
Granted, I'm sure it bugged the hell out of you, but it comes down to people needing to be a bit more tolerant of everyone.
Actually, on second thought, I think I agree. Hair-touching really shouldn't be that big of a deal. It shouldn't be equated with sexual harassment. It's more like social weirdness.

But then again, if you tell someone not to do it then they really do have a responsibility to cut it out, don't they? You're not their toy to mess with, after all, regardless of what message is intended to be delivered by the gesture.

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mackillian
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But it remains that hair-touching IS a big deal. It isn't like it's a pat on the head or a pat on the shoulder. When you touch someone's hair (unless your getting a bug out of it, ew)...most of the time, it's considered an intimate guesture.

Would you let just ANYONE wash your hair?

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littlemissattitude
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Mac is right. Hair-touching is a big deal. To me it is, anyway.
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Nick
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My reaction to the thread.

Here is what you should have done.

[Evil]

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Nick
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I didn't want to get into this thread but I wanted to add something:
quote:
Mac is right. Hair-touching is a big deal. To me it is, anyway.
Well, that's true. It is a big deal for strangers to do such odd things. I don't know if it was sexual or not. Was he sexually suggestive? Did he grope you? If not, it's not sexual harrassment, but it was inappropriate, and it was harrassment. Just not sexual harrassment.

But since this guy is a total stranger, I can definitely understand your position.

Harrassment charges are minor, and what this man did was not minor. So charging him with sexual harassment might not be the correct charge, but it does seem to be the correct amount of punishment.
Just my 2 [Smile]

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
And he has never shown any sign of having any "affection" for me, of any kind. He's got a hair fetish. Everyone in the ward knows it. He is known for going around and asking women if he can cut their hair. I'm not sure why his wife tolerates it.

I'm sorry but this is just wrong. The fact that people in the ward stick up for him even after the point where it becomes an obvious problem (as in the guy is bothering other people in the ward by not stopping when told to) really bothers me. In fact, the fact that he hasn't learned some discretion in the first place is really a problem too.

There is no person on the planet who should have as their default method of dealing with a stranger something so intimate as hair touching. I think hugging is not a very appropriate thing to do either, frankly, for a greeting between strangers. To me, hugs & such are a very intimate act reserved for friends who know and trust one another.

Back to this guy in your ward...why do you think people stick up for him? Is he one of the VIPs in the parish?

More to the point, though, do the others realize that it's your ward too and by making allowances for this guy they are telling you that your feelings aren't as important as his obvious fetish?

I think you are being turned into a victim. I mean, who would you go to if this guy became more aggressive in his advances? Or if you saw him do this to a small child? Would you trust the others in the ward to deal with it? They haven't shown much understanding of the victim's point of view, IMHO. How far will they go in making allowances for him?

And to protect yourself will you have to put a restraining order on the guy? How will that sit in the ward? He can't be barred from church, I don't think, but if he approached you in any way you could have him instantly arrested. How would that sit with the people who are making allowances?

Maybe they'd get the message if you did file a formal complaint and sought a restraining order????

I'm sorry, but there's only so much tolerance and understanding I'm willing to extend to someone who doesn't show any respect for my (and others) personal boundaries. His "little problem" is not more important than my right to feel secure in my own person. Is it?

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human_2.0
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"Men can't help themselves" is a lie. As a man, I know this. I know what "I couldn't help myself" feels like, and it feels like this: I want something and no one is going to stop me from getting it, and if I hurt people I have to live with, I'm going to pretend so that they will forgive me.

You can tell the difference between a person who "couldn't help themselves" and someone who is more innocent by their eyes. Predatory eyes don't lie. And predatory people can't hide their eyes.

I've seen touchy-feely handicap people and they don't have predatory eyes.

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ana kata
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The attitude of the ward is the overwhelmingly pervasive attitude in society. It's very much like the observation Bill Cosby made, that parents aren't interested in justice. Parents are only interested in quiet. The same thing is true in the workplace, at church, in your family, or anywhere. So if you complain, then it's you who is causing the problem. "We need for this situation to be made better, for all these complaints to go away, so you! Stop complaining! There, see? Problem all fixed." [Smile]

That's another beauty of the inflict-pain-then-apologize method. No authority has to be convinced or prodded to act. You're not branded a troublemaker. People at large never have an opportunity to roll their eyes and say "oh, yeah, she's one of those." And you don't open yourself to speculation about whether something in your dress or way of acting somehow encouraged the problem.

Another advantage is that the person is trained with the least damage to their reputation and ability to earn a living, if you care about that. I am not too worried about causing that person unnecessary damage, but it does seem the merciful thing to do, to me, in some circumstances, to try to teach someone with as little hurt to them as possible. The momentary physical discomfort and moderate humiliation of being poleaxed by a girl is a brief personal thing that won't damage their career. Depending on how bad the person is, and what you judge the danger to other girls might be from this guy, you may or may not want to cause him lasting harm.

[ December 24, 2003, 08:00 AM: Message edited by: ana kata ]

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littlemissattitude
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The guy in question has been in the ward approximately since dirt was invented (pretty much forever). Without going into any more detail, yes, he is very well respected within the ward. Me on the other hand - I'm 47 and never been married, which makes me suspect in the Mormon world to begin with. And I don't make any secret of the fact that this lack of husband doesn't bother me a whole lot, which makes me even more suspect. Guess who is going to get all the respect and all the sympathy in the ward. Not me.

In fact, I suspect that if most of the ward members told the truth about it, they either suspect that I did something to invite the touching (which I most definitely did not) or that I should just shut up and quit complaining and enjoy whatever male attention I can get because I'm obviously not young enough, not thin enough, and not pretty enough to get much of it. Or that I don't like men, which is patently ridiculous. Those are the vibes I get from them, anyway. Good thing I don't really care what they think, I guess. I just get irritated when they imply that I'm the problem.

It is nice that there are people out there who actually understand my position on the matter.

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Bob_Scopatz
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I don't understand why you would continue associating with people who think that about you, and who condone the behavior of an obviously troubled man.

Is there another place you can go for spiritual connections?

Sorry to butt in, but I have literally 100's of options as to where I go to worship. If I were treated shabbily in a particular place, you can bet on me never returning.

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Noemon
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quote:
If a person fails to read the body language that says "hands off", if they don't understand what it means that you freeze up in horror when they rub your neck, or whatever, then the next time they touch you, lash out. Spin around and punch them in the face, or step very hard down on their instep, or kick them or elbow them hard in the ribs. Whatever you want to do.
My great grandmother used to use this one to good effect. I remember a story about a guy back in the 20s who groped her on a train. She came down hard on his instep, pretty much putting him out of comission for the rest of the ride. When she was getting her luggage down from the overhead rack, she slipped and accidentally slammed the guy in the back of the head with her (fairly heavy) suitcase. She always said she felt bad about the suitcase part of the incident, but I don't quite think she ever convinced anybody of that.
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