Whitewashed, by Kimberly Peterson

Mrs. Sechrist, wife of Jacob Sechrist, a farmer living a few miles north of this city, fell from a box upon which she was standing while engaged in white-washing the ceiling of a room, broke her neck and died. (Weekly Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Saturday, December 1, 1888)


She said:

Jacob, can you bring in a box from the barn,:
I need to whitewash the ceiling.

He said:

I only kicked the box.
Clearly, she decided to fall.

She said:

He was constantly hugging me, telling
me to wear tighter tops “to show off my
tits”. He reached his arm around me to stroked
my breast with his fingertips. When I recoiled,
he laughed. “Lighten up, its just a friendly hug.”

The CEO came into my office to introduce
a new Board member. That member grabbed
my shoulders and kissed me roughly. My boss
just laughed. I went to HR but they said,
“Not much we can do.”

We were on a business trip. I asked why meet
in his room. “To be more comfortable.” He came
out of the bathroom wearing only his robe, asked
for a massage. I tried to get out but he blocked
the door, said “Shut up cunt, watch me jerk-off.”

At his party, he kept pouring me drinks. He
took me on a tour. I remember taking
a book off the shelf. He turned me around,
slammed into me, shoved his hand
up my skirt, pulled my panties aside,
stuck two fingers into my vagina. I
froze. His zipper was undone. He grabbed
my wrist and used my hand to masturbate.
He pushed me onto the bed, tugged at my
clothing, grinded against me. When I tried
to yell, he covered my mouth, smothering
He pushed me onto the bed, tugged at my
clothing, grinded against me. When I tried
to yell, he covered my mouth, smothering
me. I thought he might accidentally
kill me. I was underneath one of them
while the two of them laughed.

He said:

I’m shocked by allegations that,
to my recollection, did not occurred.
Everyone knows I like to hug.

If the alleged assault did occur,
why did she stay in my employ?
Anything that did occur, was
clearly consensual.

I addressed workplace issues quickly
solely to keep the peace. The non-disclosure
clause was included to protect her privacy.

Her timelines do not hold up to scrutiny.
If she stands by her allegations, she should
contact the police.

This is a circus and a national disgrace. It’s a grotesque
and coordinated character assassination.



Kimberly Peterson writes both poetry and creative nonfiction that explores surviving challenging experiences. Visit www.kimberlypeterson.ca to see more of her work.