My Sexual Harasser Said “Hello”

Yup. He walked right past my son and I in the store and said a meek, “Hello”. The guy who knew full well what he was doing to all the women he effected, the man who took advantage of his position, took advantage of several women in his care (several never came forward)…..the man who made me question my sanity, made me question my ability to do any job, the one who made me feel so insignificant by his actions…….that guy. Cresfield “Cres” Moody, formerly a family nurse practitioner.

Seriously. Why? What was the point? To play me another time? To get a rise out of me?? He knew full well I was one of the people who spoke to the Arizona board of nursing, adding to their case resulting in him surrendering his nursing licence.

What angered me further was the fact that I couldn’t simply walk past and ignore him. Nope. That well conditioned response of not rocking the boat kicked in. I turned and gave a paltry “hello” after I passed.

Really?! I felt instantly nauseous. I couldn’t focus and I started walking randomly down aisles. My son wanted to look at something in the area where I’d seen Cres heading. I decided to avoid seeing him again and chose to browse/hide in woman’s wear, pretending to shop.

Why the hell am I hiding?! I did nothing wrong and yet here I am, feeling sick at the whole situation. I don’t wish anything bad on him, I just wish to never see or speak to him again. Ever.

Try as I may, I don’t think I can fully put into words how being sexually harassed effected me. I lost confidence in myself. Shame silenced me and it did for years. Another person’s will was imposed upon me and I felt insignificant and powerless. I felt as if no one would believe me, I was a nobody, right? “Just” his receptionist and “only” a nursing assistant. He was a well respected member of the community, a leader in his church and of much higher rank and importance than I……or so I thought at the time. I was more concerned about the impact my speaking up would have on his wife and his family. I was more concerned for him and his livelihood than I was for myself….all because I didn’t realize my worth.

I’m not “just” or “only” anything. I know my worth and it is OK if I’m not polite. Next time, I will let silence speak for me and hold my head up.

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Motherhood

…..it saved me from myself.

After high school, I did not have a plan for my future. Actually, I had a dozen different ideas but whenever (and for whatever reason) I shared those ideas, I was always told they were a bad idea. I longed to do something exciting and challenging. Something which would put me out in the world, in front of people. I wanted to do something important, something greater than myself. I wanted to be someone others would look up to and be proud. Perhaps my dreams were too big or too scary for those around me to imagine. Instead of encouraging me to aim high and set lofty goals, I was, over time, discouraged from dreaming all together.

Only suggestions which felt, in my mind, “safe/not adventurous/exciting”were deemed acceptable. No modeling, no joining the military, no flying planes. By the time I was eighteen, I was working at a large retailer with no goals and saw the future as a scary place. I took every discouraging word I received to mean “they think I’m stupid, they think I will fail, they have no faith in me”. I was defeated, felt lost and hopeless. To top it off, I was confronted with, “You need to make a plan for your life because you can’t work in your current job forever”.

Wow. Really???? Everything I’d ever suggested, hoped or dreamed about was shot down and now you want me to “do something with myself”?! I felt like I couldn’t win on any front. I was depressed as a kid and I grew into a depressed young adult. Depressed and hopeless to be more specific.

Just before my twentieth birthday, I became pregnant. Unwed and pregnant and an embarrassment to my uber religious parents to boot. A wedding was thrown together (in a month, to a man I scarcely knew) to white-wash my sins. Four months later, my bundle of joy arrived.

I had taken maternity leave with the intention of returning to work but when the time came, I couldn’t. This was my baby, my responsibility and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give that power to anyone else. I was able to be a stay at home mom until my son was about six months old. I worked part time and my mom watched my wee one until my other half came home. A little over a year later, I was pregnant with son number two. I was able to stay at home with both of my boys until my youngest was about eighteen months old and my oldest was three.

I have always taken my job as a mom very seriously. Being so young when my boys were born seemed to bring plenty of unsolicited advice. I have always looked younger than I am and I feel people looked at a pregnant me as yet another “teen mom” (which I wasn’t). I wasn’t taken seriously by nurses. They treated me as if I wouldn’t bring my kids in for shots (which I had declined at the time, due him being ill) and spoke to me as if I was simple-minded.

Despite all of that, I was owning my “mama bear” role. I somehow couldn’t fight for myself (yet) but I had two small people for whom I would definitely fight. Having a purpose saved me, quite literally and gave me something to live for. My boys showed me that I am capable and have much more value and worth than the doubters would’ve had me believe. I wouldn’t wish my journey on anyone because I’ve always said I’ve done everything backwards. I guess it is my way because I’ve been consistently doing things backwards ever since. While it has been a frustrating journey, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.