Trigger Warning: This post deals with themes of sexual harassment, and child sex abuse. It may be triggering for some readers.
Working in the entertainment industry was always going to be an eye-opener for me. I was prepared for that.
I was a naive, 20-year-old Italian girl who still lived at home. I didn’t swear and was easily embarrassed. But for some reason when I got in front of the mic, I was happy to have a chat and I was even a bit funny.
So, I scored a job in breakfast radio at a regional radio station. I stayed in radio for a decade, working at five different stations.
During that time I was groped by celebrities, sexually harassed by a boss and forced to watch pornography in the announcers’ room.
I quickly learned how to swear and was introduced to my male colleagues’ ‘fuckability’ metre whereby any female who walked into our building was immediately graded as either ‘fuckable’ or ‘unfuckable’.
Two categories was all my dribbling colleagues could manage.
One boss thought it would be funny to mark down on a wall calendar each time his wife gave him a blowjob.
Some months were better than others. His tally was loudly discussed in the hallways.
At one station, the slimeball who was responsible for most of the groping incidents at our office – including one where I was accosted while trying to use the photocopier – was appointed the point-of-contact for all sexual harassment complaints. So we were meant to complain about him, to him.
During my 10 years in the industry, things got progressively better – or at least attempts were made to improve things.
After those first few horrible years, at one station we started getting called into meetings where we were told to report incidents of sexual harassment. But despite what they said in those meetings, they implicitly made it clear that reports of sexual harassment would not be welcomed.
So I didn’t say anything, and neither did my equally-harassed female colleagues.
And every time I failed to report an incident, I died a little.
I didn’t report when the soapstar fondled my hand when he was just meant to shake it. I didn’t report when the movie star put his hand on my butt while we took a photo for our website. I didn’t report when the singer asked me to meet him back at his hotel room. I didn’t complain when we were forced to view a celebrity porn video during an announcers’ meeting.