Tag Archives: Workplace

Maria

I was dating a guy I met online, he is from North America and I’m orginally from South America. He had ways of approaching that at times were sexists and inappropriate, but always covered by some sort of “dark humor”, so I didn’t pay much attention to it, also since they were almost always within certain sexual or flirtatious context I convince myself to don’t take them so seriously. But now we stopped seeing each other about 6 months ago, occasionally chatting over internet, and last night in the middle of a normal conversation over internet, he said to me “you’d look hot with a dress showing off that full latina bum”. I felt so small, so insignificant, just reduced to a stereotype that does not belong to me. Such a small phrase made me rethink and review the months we were together. I’ve fight against the macho culture, all my life. But I never felt objectify by someone I was actually dating. And now I feel guilty and as it is my fault for allowing him to treat me that way from the very begging.

Anon

After receiving repeated explicit and detailed threats of sexual violence in the workplace on a daily basis for weeks from a patient who is a convicted sex offender, I discussed these with my line manager who stated “well what do we expect when we bring a beautiful woman on the ward” and laughed. He didn’t discuss it beyond this. I was the only woman in the team at the time and had not been in the service long so did not feel comfortable to report my line manager to more senior managers. I expressed to my team that I did not feel safe on the ward but the patient was not moved wards and I continued to have to go onto the ward he was on every day. When he started being allowed periods of leave off the ward, I stayed late at work to ensure that I didn’t have to walk from the building to my car at a time when he might be allowed to be out, particularly as he had made a point of telling me several times that he knew which car was mine. I felt I had to take these steps to manage the risk myself as I did not feel that anyone else was taking the risk to me seriously. I consulted the advice of a male psychologist colleague who specializes in working with sex offenders. He told me that “there’s nothing you can really do other than eat 10 donoughts a night”. A member of nursing staff told me that it is my fault because I have not lied to the patient and pretended that I’m married. I explained that my relationship status is irrelevant and being single does not justify sexual harassment and sexual aggression but they continued to say things like this, including in front of the patient. The patient stated to the whole team in a ward round that he is going to spank me and nobody challenged him at all. As part of my role, I had to sit in meetings where others or myself had to read out reports regarding the patients progress/mental state/behaviour, which frequently included quotes the patient had made where he described my breasts and bottom in detail, or described masturbating whilst thinking of me. It was extremely humiliating to have to sit in a professional meeting in a room full of people, in a role I have worked hard to be taken seriously in, and to have extremely personal descriptions about myself read out to everyone. Nobody asked if I was ok or offered to censor the material. This went on for months and only ended because I left the service. This is not unique to that service, but is a problem pervasive in forensic mental health services.

Anon

As one of the only females in the service (and the only female in a senior position) I was repeatedly told by male members of staff that “we shouldn’t have girls working here”. When the team manager announced that he has recruited someone to the vacant post we had, a male member of staff said “please tell me it’s a man?”. The manager laughed and said “beggars can’t be choosers!” and apologised for appointing a woman (who is extremely experienced and is actually over qualified for the post).

M

Fifteen years ago I was working for the Government in my home country. I was tasked to brief and support a Member of Parliament at a public conference event. I attended the event with him, we chatted, I helped him with questions and his speaking points, it seemed quite normal and professional. I’d done similar things before. It was an evening event. At the end, he asked which area of the city I was living in, and when I told him, he said he was staying quite near, could I give him a lift as far as my house and he would make is own way from there – it would save him calling one of the Parliamentary drivers out. That felt a bit strange, but I agreed. I was eager to please and as a well-trained civil servant, sure that my job was to support the elected representatives, whatever they needed, those busy important people. And I was shy and yes, naive. When we arrived at my house he said it was quite late, he would call a taxi rather than walk, could he wait inside? When we were inside, he started to stand very close to me, and to touch my arms and then he put his arm around my waist. I was scared. I couldn’t understand how I’d let it happen that a strange man was in my home late at night touching me. I didn’t want him to touch me, but it was me who had driven him here, me who had agreed to let him wait inside. So I must have invited it, yes? He must have thought he was playing a game we were both in on, when actually only he knew the rules. He was stroking me and kissing me, and pressed me onto the sofa. He asked could he touch me, I didn’t say yes but I didn’t say no – my voice had vanished with shock and fear. He touched me intimately, I remember being stiff with anxiety and discomfort but willing myself not to flinch because that might make it worse, maybe he’d think I liked it and violate me completely. Eventually, he said it was late and he had an early meeting. He called a taxi and it came quickly. I can’t remember what happened while we were waiting for it, but he left. I went to the shower and washed and washed but I couldn’t feel clean. I didn’t sleep that night. I didn’t know what to do or think only that I never in a lifetime thought something like that would happen, and how awful it felt. I never reported it. I was so ashamed, I thought it was my fault, and I knew too well that politicians are dirty fighters and that the press love a scandal – I didn’t want to get dragged through that. At different times over the years since then I’ve tried to resolve that experience, make sense of it. but on some level the hurt and shame go on. I’ve come to understand it wasn’t my fault. That man abused his position of authority, he abused my innocence, and what he did was wrong. It was an assault. That man scarred me in a way that has never quite healed. I wish he’d had to pay for it. But he didn’t.

S K

I am from India. This incident just happened with me. My dad being the head of his department in the company gets many perps such as I call and 5 guards would show up at our doorstep with the dogs if we want to play with them. So this was my first time seeing this. I was wearing my favorite night dress, a pink colored knee length dress with half sleeves.As they came I went to the door to play with the dogs. I was about to open the door that my father told me to go and change. I was frustrated af but being in an Indian family you are not supposed to say no to whatever your elders say. I have anger issues so I kicked my chair a few time scribbled stuff on paper. And then wore sweat pants and a t shirt. As I came out in frustration, I wispered “I is this ok or should I put on a burkha” (no offense to the muslims). As the words came out of my mouth my dad’s eyes were enraged. And he started yelling at me… The typical dialogues “ye nakhre mere saamne nai chalenge” “Mai jo bhi bol raha hu tumhare ache ke liye hi bol rah hu!” ” Mai jo bhi bol raha hu reasons ke wajah se bolta hu!” “Maine duniya tumse jyada dekhi hai” and me being the rebellious teenager started yelling back him saying ” Whatever your reasons may be , thay make me feel really shitty!” And many other stuff! … And still he didn’t listen to me and kept telling me if you want to live hear do as I say!!!! Mind you we were screaming at each other on the top of our lungs while the people of our company were still out side. I went inside my room banged the door and cried. I don’t want to live in such society. A society where my dad is allowed to wear shorts while I cannot even wear a knee length dress. A society where my character is judged according to the way i dress. A society where a girl can’t live the way she wants.

V

When I was 15, I saw my GP has I had lost a tampon. The male GP vaginally examined me without offering a chaperone and without any gloves. 5 years that same GP refused to allow me to access the implant contraception, not based on medical reasons but because he thought I was irresponsible. When I was 17, my male driving instructor used to had my had, touch my thigh and kiss my hand. Told mum and dad which resulted in dad standing outside the house at the end of my lesson. However, when he called asking if I wanted to book another block of lessons, I told my parents that I didn’t want to speak to him but they made me speak to him. At Uni, a man smacked my bum so hard I cannot describe how painful it was. Another time, a man wanted to kiss me but I said no. When I turned around he trier to shoved me down the stairs. I have have my breasts touched, shoulders massaged and personal spaced invaded at work. I have been asked repeatedly out for dinner by a senior colleague to the point I avoided meetings with him. When my colleague told my boss and spoke to him about it, he refused to speak to me again. Had a doctor say he would cover a night shift if I left a rose for him in the on call room. I have been denied the opportunity to apply for a promotion at work due to being on maternity leave (it was advertised internally only).

Rebecca

I work in my local pub. Yesterday a male customer lifted my skirt as I walked past him. When I was younger and things like that happened I’d end up saying nothing because I didn’t know what to say. I pinned him against a wall and shouted in his face. Then felt guilty for embarrassing him. Why? Other male customers were very supportive so that was nice.

M

I cannot count the times I have heard “got to wear the short skirt” before difficult meetings. Always by men! I cringe every time I hear it but it’s spoken like such a normal/funny thing to say!

Ember

My new male coworker joined my company three weeks ago to help take over some of my tasks. A couple of days ago, I discovered he has been allocated a task I was promoted into a role to focus on, with absolutely no background knowledge. A man with three weeks’ experience is considered more up to the task than a female with five years’ experience.