Trigger Warning ⚠️ sexual harassment in the workplace ⚠️
I feel so disappointed that there are still men, or women, who think it’s acceptable to harass women, or men at work.
My job is at a reputable company that is to do with mental health. I can’t go into any further details due to confidentiality reasons.
When I go to work and spent 13-14 hours a shift with colleagues who are, or should be, just as passionate about mental health as I am, I don’t expect what happened to me this week.
Long story short, a male I was doing a shift with decided it would be okay to tell me “I like you”. Sounds innocent enough. No? I reminded him I’m in a relationship and he’s married! He says “don’t worry about that. She’s my problem not yours and I’ll deal with that”.
I carried on with my day but every opportunity he had he kept making inappropriate comments. Things such as “I’ll take you on a date. Let’s go for a drive. I’ll show you things you’ve never seen or done.” etc. To say I felt awkward and uncomfortable is an understatement.
However, as there are patients around who are potentially able to hear what we speak about in general, I am incredibly careful about what I say at work. He didn’t care and kept going.
I kept saying no to every suggestion and flirtation but how many times do we have to say no or stop to someone before they actually listen to us?
At one point he said he wanted to take me to him home country so I said “to meet your wife?” He didn’t like me reminding him of her. I told him not only did he disrespect his own wife and marriage, he’s disrespecting my partner and relationship and me. He blatantly told me that because I’m not married “it wouldn’t be cheating”.
“But YOU ARE married! YOU ARE cheating”! I asked how his wife would feel if she heard the way he spoke to me and he said, once again, she’s nothing and irrelevant to him. Disgusting man.
I was unable to speak to anyone in management due to my schedule that morning but I was feeling anxious and spoke to a female colleague who was shocked at what he’d been saying to me.
I felt like I was backed into a corner. I kept telling him to stop. I kept saying shut up dude. I kept saying no. I kept. I kept. And he kept going. When I was able to have a lunch break mid afternoon I had a moment to reflect and felt so lost. The tools we have to prevent being harassed weren’t working on this man.
I felt like my voice was being ignored and my “NO’s” meant nothing to him. I decided to keep away from him the rest of the day and deal with it when I could make sense of it all and speak to someone higher up.
Unfortunately that afternoon he ramped things up even more. I started to feel like I was shrinking and helpless and unable to stop what he was doing. I didn’t want to make a fuss but this was becoming unbearable.
He said that he had liked me back when I started months ago, was obsessed with me, keeps watching me and can’t stop staring at me. Oh, and that this would never stop.
I told him that not only will nothing ever happen, we cannot even be friends now because of his he’s behaved and disrespected my relationship. He says “we can be friends with benefits”. I stopped. Turned around. And had a moment of what the actual fuck is going on??
I chose to ignore him. He repeated himself and I ignored him. He kept going. So I turned back around and said “see that camera? see the other one over there? Those aren’t just visually recording everything. They are audio recording everything you’re saying”. I had forgotten the CCTV cameras all over covered the area we were in too.
He seemed genuinely shocked and then said that because we wear facemasks it won’t be picked up on. Bullshit. Body language is. My voice is always clear.
Later on when I was in the lounge area he pushed a piece of paper towards me, tapping it, and insisting I write my phone number on it. I said NO. He did it again. I said NO. I was so drained at this point.
I needed him to stop. I needed the shift to end. And I wanted out so I could speak to someone who would be able to speak with me and help me out. I knew I couldn’t and wouldn’t keep it to myself but I had to wait until I was able to speak to someone in charge.
After he asked me countless times for my number I felt myself wondering if it would be easier to do that. Then I stopped. I told him I’d think about it. He asked how long would that take and I said “ohhhh a VERY long time”.
At the end of the day I couldn’t leave quick enough. But I felt angry at the situation. Angry at what some people do to grind you down to the ground. Frustrated that whatever I tried to say was ignored. I was just a mess. I didn’t go to work that day to be treated like that. I went to make a difference to people’s lives.
The following morning I brought this up with my Manager who spoke with HR who were left speechless and disgusted at what they heard he’d been saying. I told them most of what he’d said as that was more than enough. They said you do not come to work to be sexually harassed all day, for hours, and be left emotionally drained.
I didn’t want him to lose his job. And I still don’t. However, when I heard from someone in Management that they were not shocked as he had made some inappropriate remarks to other women, albeit not as bad, I no longer cared what happened to him.
I immediately told them I’m no longer doing this “off the record” as now that I know he’s done similar things beforehand I now want this ON the record. Because if he’s done this to other women, he will continue to do it again and again.
And in an environment where we have to maintain professional conduct and composure, regardless of what we see and hear, he was able to get away with this disgusting sexist behaviour and harassing women….
I hope he’s dealt with properly as I know there’s no way he would be allowed to work again in this environment if this is how he’s known to behave.
#fyp #harassed #sexualharassment #mentalhealth