It’s a horrible situation especially because, when I’m mic'd up for an event, I can’t chew out the human scum lobbing these inappropriate comments at me.
Unfortunately, older men are the worst exhibitors of this behavior.
They put their arm around you and pull you into a hold like you are their wife or girlfriend. It’s deeply intimate and incredibly inappropriate. And there’s nothing you can do. You are representing the nonprofit in that moment, you can’t pull away or tell them off. You have no recourse.
Men have interrupted my auctions, not to bid on items, but to ask me to sell them my panties.
People have gotten up to interrupt me, mid-auction, and explain to me how they think I should be doing my job.
I spent a good portion of last auction season pregnant. I’m small, so when I’m pregnant I get really big. Each time I have come back to work after having a baby, I receive gross comments about my body and how thin and attractive I am now that I’m not pregnant. It’s gross, it’s rude, and it’s inappropriate. I wish they noticed the auction items as much as my post-pregnancy weight loss.
I’m already preparing myself for all the comments I’m going to get when I show up to auctions this year looking like my normal, non-pregnant self. Also, thank you for remembering how good I am at my job, instead of just what I look like. I love this job and I’m damn good at it, it would be nice if people remembered that for a change.
I’m not sure if male auctioneers suffer similar mistreatment at events. I would not be surprised to learn that they do.
I have thought about asking the nonprofits I work with to do something to combat sexual harassment at events. If it’s happening to me, it’s definitely happening to other people. But, I’m not sure what they could, or would, do about it. Will they risk losing a major donor who just happens to also be a creep? Or will they let that behavior slide because they can’t function without those major donations? Unfortunately, I think I know the answer.
Comment below and let me know what you think nonprofits can/should do if a donor behaves inappropriately at a fundraising event.