I have been the victim of sexual harassment twice in my life. Both times were at a previous job. The first time I was 24 and didn’t know what to do. A female co-worker approached me and asked me if this man was doing the same things to me as he was to her. When I told her yes another woman overheard and said the same things happened to her. We were all in our early twenties and this was our first full time job. A fourth woman overheard us and reported it to my boss. My boss reported it to the CEO and the CFO.
The CEO and CFO brought each of us into their office and I watched the other two women deny anything ever happened and I was stunned. When they asked me what happened, I wasn’t going to lie. I told them exactly what happened. I don’t know where that courage came from, and I certainly didn’t think they were going to believe me, but I told them the truth anyway. They told me they were thankful that one of us was brave enough to step up and say something. They also told us this hadn’t been his first offense. They have a three strikes and you’re out policy. That may change in light of all that is going on right now. I asked the other two women why they lied about what happened and it was because they feared losing their job and they feared they wouldn’t be believed.
Later that day, the man who harassed me actually came up to me and yelled at me for not telling him directly. It’s not like they were teaching young women in high school or college at that time how to handle that type of situation. He told me he could have lost his job because of me. I was shocked that he had the audacity to yell at me and yet I still felt guilty for some reason. He was a 64 year old man who had two daughters my age, and he should have known what he was doing was wrong. I asked him if he would want someone his age doing the things he did to us to his daughter’s and he got very upset and walked away. I am very grateful that the CEO and CFO believed me and took action. It meant a lot to me.