color key — yellow: relationships; red: assault. contrast of light and dark correlates with bright and somber tones of voice.

In The Kitchen

In The Kitchen

In The Kitchen

In The Kitchen

cw: sexual assault. I work at a restaurant with a variety of men. 

One of them is one of my best friends. He's very respectful of me. We talk openly about how sex can be good and how it can be bad, and we share our lives in a way that friends do. But we've had a couple conversations where he expressed that he doesn't understand why a girl wouldn't report a sexual assault. 

Another one is the head chef. He's kind and we joke, and he's a good boss. But he's said some things to female employees that make them uncomfortable. He's never said any of them to me. I think it’s because he knows I wouldn't put up with it. One of my coworkers told me a few things he's said to her, but wouldn't tell me everything because she didn't want to "get him in trouble." She doesn't work there anymore. 

Another is an odd guy that's a line cook with me. He's somewhat aware of the struggles that women face. Maybe not aware, but he at least won't push them aside like most men do. 

Another is a new hire. He's a good worker — still figuring out how to do his job and work with our team. But the problem is that he looks almost exactly like a line cook at a different restaurant I worked at in a different state. 

That line cook from the other restaurant sexually assaulted me in the parking lot one night after our shift. I had been polite to him, because I am a polite person, but had never really spoken to him beyond asking him to give me a side of dressing or to correct a small issue on a dish. 

He was walking out of the restaurant at the same time as me and pushed me against a car and kissed me and moved his hands around my body. Thankfully, someone yelled in the parking lot and he got distracted so I could run to my car. I worked there for another month or so. I was never very close with anyone there, but after that night the tone changed around the way people treated me. I'm sure he told the other cooks things that weren't true about me. 

Now, at this job, the cook that looks like him touches me more than I would like. Never inappropriately, but just too often and when it's not needed. And it makes me jump every time. It's not his fault that he looks like my assaulter, but he shouldn't touch people. It makes shifts with him very difficult.

The odd, semi-aware cook tells me to ask the toucher to stop or to talk to the head chef about it. But I don't see either option panning out. I told the odd cook that I was talking to him because he doesn't seem like a creepy guy. He responded with a laugh and, "I like to think that I'm not." But that's the thing, most boys are creepy without knowing and I told him that. 

Even my best friend at the restaurant didn't respond well when I told him. He didn't respond poorly, he kind of just didn't respond at all.

© Midnight Woman 2021