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Sexual Harassment

Dear Amy,

Today, while attending the Community College of Southern Nevada, I was approached by a National Guard (I believe) recruiter.

After assuring her that I wasn't interested in joining her cause, she began to speak to my friend and I about personal issues, such as my friends' choice to smoke, and our intimate lives. After hearing I was 17, she acted shocked to know that I was in a sexual relationship (with a boyfriend of 2 years), and proceeded to lecture me on birth control. (I'm very informed about sexual safety, and always use protection, so this was completely unnecessary.)

She went on to say that pregnant women were not given scholarships, and upon walking away from the conversation, yelled "Keep your legs closed!" at me in front of a large group of people, while her accomplices (men in military uniforms, also recruiters, I assume) laughed. I don't know what any of this conversation had to do with her job, but I willingly gave her personal information that she used against me as, what I believe to be, sexual harassment.

Is there anything I can do, such as notify the National Guard of this kind of offensive behavior?

Thank you so much for your help,


P.S. Thank you so much for what you do in your column. I think it's extremely admirable of you to help so many feminists. I've also read both of your books, Manifesta and Grassroots, which I thought were great. Keep up the noble work!


Marisa --

What an uncomfortable situation. Though it was offensive, unnecessary, etc... it really doesn't fit within any definition that would warrant a legal response.

However, she was representing the National Guard and I'm sure that they have some rules about behavior when it comes to that. I would certainly report this directly to the National Guard -- at a minimum she will get reprimanded in some way. I know that such agencies take their jobs very seriously and want their representatives to represent them in the best possible way -- and her behavior doesn't seem to be reflecting the image they would want out there. I would also put this in writing to them -- it's good to have a paper trail. If she does such things in the future, this will be there as a reminder or as further proof.

I hope that helps and sorry you had to experience it in the first place. Thanks, too, for reading Manifesta and Grassroots.

Good luck,