The themes of duplicity and reprehensible sexual behavior continue this week… all this recent news of deception is causing me to doubt people with whom I interact even on a regular basis. Call it paranoia, street smart, skepticism, cynicism, misanthropy… however you want to term it, it’s causing me distress.
Last week, I dreamed that someone tried to rape me. To save myself some such an unfortunate incident, I busted myself out of a vehicle (moving at highway speeds) and rolled off to the side of the road. Then there was another dream about child abuse… thankfully, I can’t even remember the details. I don’t know what caused me to Google my manager’s name again, but I did last night.
My friend Pamela says I was “nosing” around for dirt. If you recall, I had innocently Googled him before, like a day or two after starting the new kickass job, and then I was unpleasantly surprised. What prompted me to search again last night? I don’t really know. Perhaps I had hoped to find the comments thread silent, and that would suggest his earlier reckless behavior had stopped. The original post had referred to incidents in 2004. A couple of people in the years following corroborated the claims, citing similar experiences. Then a post in 2008. Last night, unfortunately, there was a new comment, posted just last month with a link to a new site, Don’t Date Him Girl. The new site contained tons more information: detailed biographical information, place of employment, place of residence, current partner, etc. But mostly what bothered me– even more than the breach of trust with his relationship– was the careless, dangerous behavior. Seriously, multiple partners, no protection. And what I started to see was selfish and misogynistic conduct.
So today, we had our bi-weekly one-on-one, and again, I could not focus. In the back of my mind, I felt distrustful, suspicious. Now to be clear, he has never acted inappropriately towards me. I have noticed random absences during the work day, zippo details about the weekends (he never seems to do anything), various past travel stories with “an ex.” Nothing blatant. And his demeanor really comes across so harmless, and yet I can’t drop this other set of knowledge.
Today I called my girlfriend to discuss. Like John, she wondered why I searched out this information. In my defense, I felt like my action was motivated by a desire to squelch the uneasiness, to hope for the end of a hedonistic era. Or maybe my search was an act of self-sabotage. Nearly two years later, I still love my job and now I look for ways to torment myself with this hypocrisy. Am I too gullible? Is this just a matter of a few scorned lovers? Again, I don’t like to doubt women’s stories. Society dismisses them all too easily as is.
At the end of the conversation, my friend and I agreed that his actions seem to depict an illness, like alcoholism or addiction. So here’s my dilemma. He’s a great boss, the best I’ve ever had. Not perfect (in terms of professional leadership and development) but still, the best of the lot. I have had no issues with him professionally or through our own interactions. However, if the postings are to be believed, I would say his actions are misogynistic. So how do I, as a feminist, reconcile that he is fine to me personally, but awful to so many other women? I mean, this is an extreme example, but isn’t it like the Germans and other Europeans who disagreed with the Nazis but didn’t actively resist/rebel? Is this really just a case of compartmentalizing the professional and personal personas? It drives me nuts that these two personas are so contradictory. Ugh. I know, I am such a black/white kind of person. That’s why I’m not made for the complexities of this world!
So, what can be done? If indeed this is a kind of illness, perhaps I need to offer help or intervene? And how would this be done exactly? Do I risk losing my job? Do I quit? I am well aware that people think I’m getting worked up for nothing. But I am serious. Option 1 is to act like I don’t know and proceed as usual. After all, the job is kickass. But honestly, a part of me feels like I’m condoning the mistreatment of women by feigning ignorance.
And then where do I stand on rehabilitation? If he is sick, who has offered to help? Goddamnit, the naive side of me wants to believe that everyone is good, that people are bad because they are sick. And then I read stories like those about abusive priests and that fucking Duke official, and I want them all to die– screw second chances and reform. And really, why do I torture myself so? Why can’t I just focus on learning my fucking bboy moves and just get on with shit. I mean, I’m already in goddamn therapy for my own issues and now I have to climb into everyone else’s shit.
So what’s the conclusion for tonight? This is one for the big guns. Thank goodness therapy session 3 is tomorrow. I shall ask the expert, and perhaps she will have a brilliant strategy. Fingers crossed.