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tatapb

Workplace Harassment

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maraudertimes

thankfully i've never been harassed physically at work yet, although the word 'thankfully' shouldn't have to be in that sentence, nor should the word 'yet', but here we are... when i was 20 i was working at a company and my mentor was a couple years older than me (i think about 26-27?). at one point i had mentioned i had a boyfriend and he mentioned he had a serious girlfriend he was going to propose to after she was out of school. there was also another coop who was working hardware (i was on the software team), but because they didn't have much work for us, i would usually go hang out with him a bunch throughout the day.

the day i got dumped was really rough. the next day at work was even worse because i barely had any work to do, but the hardware coop let me just hang with him and showed me what he was doing, we chatted, snuck out at one point to get ice cream. my mentor asked why i hadnt been doing much work that day and when i told him he was really sweet about it and even told me that if i needed a day off he'd vouch for me to the supervisor. over the next two or so weeks the hardware coop and i got closer and he was a really good friend throughout the whole ordeal.

but then just about two weeks later, my mentor (whom i had added on facebook because why not?) started messaging me these really weird things after work. things like 'wow, ur glasses today made you look like a hot librarian' (which is funny because i was wearing my glasses to hide the fact that i had bags under my eyes from crying always), and other suggestive things. at work it was business as usual but after hours he would keep messaging me. i mentioned it to the hardware coop and he was super amazing about it, told me that i should ask him to stop, if it continued that i should go to hr, and promised he would back me up every step of the way. i was so lucky that he was there and was fully on my side because without him i probably would've still gotten the courage to tell my mentor to stop, but it wouldve taken a lot longer than the week and a half i dealt with it.

so i mentioned that i wasnt comfortable with these questions and flirtatious behaviour to my mentor because he had a girlfriend. his rebuttal was that his girlfriend knew. (lol, yeah im sure she did). but i doubled down and said that i wasnt comfortable flirting with someone who was unavailable. i phrased it that way because i was worried that if i was upfront and just said 'hey im not interested', it would end up poorly for me because my mentor would take it personally. it sucks, and im in a place now that im comfortable in myself and confident in the work i do, but at the time i still wasn't sure what path i wanted to go in life and didnt want to close any doors or cause problems in my workplace. thankfully though, my insistence that i was monogamous got my mentor to stop. i still had about a month of working there where it was clear there was some strange tension, but the good thing about coop is that it's only four months and i never have to see the guy again.

i was really really lucky that all of this happened online, that i was able to shut it down so quickly, and that i had someone, a man even, in my corner. the software industry is making big strides in becoming more inclusive, but there are still so many issues. i wish i couldve been more direct, wish that i wouldnt have had to worry about what position it would put me in by pissing off my mentor. but thats what happened and i cant change it, even if it sucks and i can still remember exactly how uncomfortable i felt, 3 years later, and will probably continue to remember it for years to come.

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beyond the rain

This is something I'm a bit scared to talk about for a lot of reasons: 

Spoiler

I still work there, the person was never officially dealt with, brings up old stuff. 

However, I'm gonna talk about it. I spoke about it a bit when I didn't think it was harrassment, then closed up when other people took over the situation - so I guess we're full cycle. 

 

My experience as a woman in a male dominated workplace has not been kind. My body has been up for discussion by male workers, even when mine hasn't been I've seen men make horrible gestures and jokes about women. I have been poked and prodded by strangers, and been subject to strange comments relating to taking advantage of me and other women. 

Prior to my one of the worst experiences of my life, I was involved in a situation where a guy obsessed over me for a few months. Not a lot of people talked to him, I felt bad, and I used to give him lifts home because we lived really close. He then started telling people we were together. He followed me around on shift, if I visited on my days off he'd follow me then too. I got messages if I hadn't spoke to him demanding to know why I ignored him and why I hated him. I dealt with that by asking my supervisor to keep us apart, I also spoke to him personally - and it worked. 

 

TW: assault - 

Spoiler

I was groped by a coworker outside of work. I was drunk, but he was very sober. Even being drunk I did not want him to touch me (which is not to say being drunk = consent!! I just remember freezing and thinking nope, do not want). What was worse, for me, was that he told EVERYONE at work he had seen up my skirt. 

So I dealt with a separate incident (see spoiler if youre ok w the trigger warning) by...not dealing with it. Roughly four staff members knew what had happened, and I had convinced them to not say anything. Sometimes you feel like it isnt worth all the fuss. At the time I didn't want him to lose his job, I wanted him to know what he did was wrong. Idk, it sounds dumb - that's what went through my head. Then I had some shifts with him. He followed me around work, if I was alone in a part of the building he would just appear and he'd be watching me. I was really worried about working with him at night in case it was just the two of us. I sent an email out to my manager asking for that NOT to happen. I said I'd work with him during the day, but recent events have made me uncomfortable and I don't want to work with him at night. I got no response to that email. Then a few weeks later I was put on a night shift with him. Just me and this guy. Cue me losing my rag, a panic attack, threatening to quit -- it was all very chaotic and messy. By this time I was really stressed because my friends who knew were threatening to tell everyone at work if I didn't tell management. Which happened anyway, the manager never got to hear my side first hand because she heard a different version by a coworker instead. I was informed that because "I" had started telling people, I could get sacked. He could file a report for slander. Nevermind that it was the truth. The reason they believed me is because he wasn't a nice person. No one at work got on with him, and it felt like even my friends were pushing me to tell management bc they wanted him sacked. In the end I filed a report and nothing happened, he left of his own accord I believe a few months later. I haven't talked about this in a really long time so I'm sorry if this is really incoherent or seems rambly? 

 

I know I'm not the first or the last to experience sexual harrassment in the workplace. Honestly, at the time it didn't feel like it. I dont know if I was avoiding the subject or if I just, didn't see what had taken place as sexual assault? Unfortunately, something I wanted to manage and keep to myself and a manager is now public knowledge amongst the entire staff and I spend almost every shift feeling humiliated 🙃

 

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