I had a conversation the other day with one of our new female officers. She is a great girl and very eager to learn, but she has been having some problems lately. Unfortunately they are problems many females in law enforcement face. It's sexual harassment, but not by her employer or coworkers. This harassment comes from "The Wives", and it is painful.
Law enforcement is a dysfunctional family. I love the men I work with like I love my own brothers and uncles. We have bonded, and we have a lot of shared stories and experiences. I can't explain this bond, and unfortunately many of the wives don't understand it or are jealous of it. Especially when it comes to female officers.
When I first started I was 22 years old. I was put on a crew with 3 really great officers who taught me a lot, but they had to be careful. If they were seen stopped talking to me too much by their wives or wives friends they would hear about it. If their wives thought they were helping me too much they had to answer for it. They never told me this, but I overheard conversations. I saw the looks, and the rumors got back to me. It was painful as a young officer not being able to be part of the team because if I was my partners would pay for it later. They hand to juggle teaching me the job, being my partner and their wives. Because of this I could feel them distancing themselves at times.
After a few years I was transferred to investigations where my partner and his wife were great. I love them, and they are my family here. They watch my kids when I get called out, and his wife knows my relationship with him is purely the typical relationship partners in law enforcement have.
Unfortunately for me, he was promoted. He is now my boss, and I have a new partner. We had a great working relationship initially. Then along came the new girlfriend. I have overheard her asking him why he had to ride in the car with me or why a male officer couldn't help him on something. My working relationship with my partner went from great teamwork to not even talking. I wouldn't blame this on the girlfriend had I not personally overheard the conversation.
I had another partner before I was a detective who was single. We talked a lot and had a pretty good friendship. He was one of the guys who was there for me the most when I had my miscarriages. His ex-wife had a miscarriage, and it was nice to talk to him. A few years later he was married and they were having issues getting pregnant. He talked to me about it a few times. His wife later commented on Facebook how she did not think it was right for married men to confide any of their problems in a woman other than his wife no matter how good of friends they were before the husband met his wife. It was her not so subtle jab at me, and the comments that followed were horrible. I knew I couldn't stand up for myself because that would just make any rumors of me sleeping around worse, and it would make things between him and his wife worse.
It is that same wife who is making it hard on our new female officer. She has tried to make her husband change crews because she does not want him working with her. She has gotten all of the other wives up in arms. Our new female officer also happens to be a single mother so obviously she will sleep with your husband is the thought of the wives. I have called a wife out for saying something about her, but my words fell on deaf ears. Their opinions have been made, and there isn't much that can be done. I have been having the same issues for 8 years.
I have a strict no pooping where I eat policy. That means nothing sexual with the guys I work with. I have faithfully followed this policy while single and married, but I still feel like I am fighting an uphill battle. I still overhear "The Wives" talking about how easy it would be for us girls to mess around with their husbands due to the hours we spend together. This is true. I spend lots of odd hours with the men I work with, but I spend those hours working not working it.
I know "The Wives" think their husbands are amazing. They think all women want to drop their panties at the sight of them, and that we will relentlessly seduce their men until they finally break. (Typing that made me want to puke a little) The truth is these men are my family, and I'm a bit against sleeping with my brothers. I also have morals and standards that will keep me from cheating on my husband or doing anything with a married man.
It hurts me to see women placing hurdles in front of other women who are trying to make it in a male dominated world. I am good at jumping these hurdles, but I know other females who have gotten snagged up in them. They have gotten so discouraged they have left this job. They left because of a kind of sexual harassment there is no fix for. They left because they felt the discouragement I feel tonight all the time.