Nobody else was in the radio station

I’ve been watching the news, reading the stories online, and listening to the voices of women relaying their experiences on the radio. Every time another victim speaks, I feel guilt for not speaking out years ago. Today, thanks to those women, I found my voice. For those who have been paying attention to all of the celebrity stories of sexual misconduct and harassment, let me tell you – it also happens here.
When I first started my career in media, I was pushed and pinned up against the back of a control room wall. The popular radio host pressed his body against mine. He held my arms back. He looked directly in my eyes and said: “If you want to go further in radio, you have to play the game.” This was done to me by a very well-known, popular, and powerful media personality here in Newfoundland. I was scared, alone, and I didn’t know what to do. I had just finished an overnight shift, and nobody else was in the radio station with me except for him. I managed to get away from him when another employee entered the building. I was shaken, but continued to work there, trying as best I could to avoid him. I even attempted to bring my concerns to the Harassment Committee at the radio station, only to find that the committee was made up of all males, including my harasser. I felt too intimidated to pursue it.
But, I shouldn’t have been surprised, as the job itself involved a certain level of sexual harassment on a regular basis. One of our required duties was to promote the radio station in the downtown bar scene – handing out promotional materials, smiling pretty, and socializing with our listeners. At such outings, we were often met with cat-calling, ass-slapping, sexual propositions, and groping from the people we met. However, when I would complain, I was told that while I was wearing the jacket displaying the call letters and logo for all to see, then I was representing the station. They failed to address my concerns.
Although this happened to me almost 30 years ago, sadly, sexism still runs rampant in the media. I hope that this will encourage others who have similar experiences to come forward.
Kathy Rowe, 51
Torbay, NL

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