Virginia – We don’t hear too many news stories about women getting burned on sexual harassment charges in the workforce. Most stories having to do with sexual harassment overwhelmingly concern male offences. With that being said, it is no wonder that the recent sexual harassment charge involving Vanessa Idlemon, 31, of North West Virginia, came as a surprise to the local news.
Her peers found the charges quite startling considering that Idlemon, in addition to being described as “timid, and shy”, also serves as a national voice in the Feminist community. “For her to act upon such primitive instincts is unprofessional, but it also goes against her core values as a feminist” says Martha Operan, a close co-worker of Idlemon.
Idlemon was working at a large opinion oriented website that focuses on civil liberties and social justice. The website hosts a collection of esteemed bloggers and columnists. She worked under the guidance of senior editor, Bill Longhorn. Longhorn managed and edited her well received blogs. “She was one of our most popular feminist bloggers” Longhorn says, “Why she would compromise her job over something so trivial, sex, is beyond me”.
Longhorn recounts the incident vividly. “I was sitting at my desk, doing paperwork, and in walks Vanessa. I said…Hi Vanessa, whats up? or something like that. Do you need me to look over anything for you?” Longhorn initially supposed that Vanessa needed help editing a blog, but then, awkwardness ensued. “She just stared at me” Longhorn continues, ” she crawled on my desk sensually and said ‘I’ve been naughty, punish me’. She arched her behind in the air and I figured said ‘What are you going to do boss?’.” At this point Longhorn found himself in an uncomfortable situation. He had learned about sexual harassment in the workplace through company funded seminars. He later admits “The encounter was beyond my scope of professionalism.”
After having climbed atop his desk, Longhorn says Vanessa began pleading for him to “Punish her.” Longhorn says “I didn’t have time to think about what the whole situation implied so I just kind of went a long with it. I said…OK, you want to be punished, I’m demoting you to Intern.” When the whimsical remark fell flat Longhorn began to panic. “She just kept crawling towards me and said ‘No, really. Punish me, I want pain’…So I said…you want to really be punished? I’m firing you. That shut her up.”
Idlemon left the office that day. She refuses to make any statements to our reporters, but we uncovered a recent Twitter post following the incident that reads:
“Women have needs, just like men do. But when we express our needs, we get fired, we get shamed, we get ostracized. This is exactly the inequality I’ve been talking about in my blogs. Today, women lost another battle.”
The post has gained substantial attention on social media, with some users finding themselves in heated comment wars. One user comments:
“You go girl, men practically grab us at the club, but when you make one harmless advance at them they freak out because its unprofessional. Bullsh*t”
Feminists everywhere are in support of Vanessa declaring the hashtag #DontRegretGettingWet.
The hashtag implies that women should not be ashamed about acting on their sex drives. Idlemon’s incident has sparked a nation wide debate on gender inequality.