just a chick from Trinidad writing about her life on a small island but with big dreams all the same.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sexual Harassment............

Ok i have been putting off blogging about this for some time but i am ready today maybe it could help someone else out there in blog land...

A few years ago i had the experience where one of my bosses used to make me feel real uncomfortable he would make crude jokes and comments around me his body always seemed to brush against my body like his arm touching my breast or something like that and i knew it wasn't right the way i felt.

i went to the department that handles these things and the lady i spoke to told me that what i explained to her WAS sexual harrassment but its really hard to prove and at the time my husband was unemployed and i needed my job so she gave me some advice and i did everything she told me to do i was in a mess i felt trapped and helpless and she told me to do things to empower myself like further my education so that eventually i could get a better job that's why i am doing my degree she told me to stay out of his way thats why i work the night shift and i have been doing all those things and basically life has been bearable but last month things escalated and basically i can't give too much details but one evening while i was on duty he called me to his office and locked the doors and made a pass at me and..... well i am still dealing with it... i took some time off work and today i called for some more time home because i am not ready to go back to work... i mentioned what happened to a female friend at work and she went behind my back and reported it and the company took action against him but my work colleagues especially the female ones are not happy they think he is just getting a slap on the wrist and they are applying pressure on me to got to the police and get a lawyer and sue basically i get phone calls everyday from people who are now finding out and they all start with ....girl if it was me i woulda do....blah blah blah and all i want to say is no if it was you you don't know how you will act in this situation you don't know so stop....

I am stressed missed all of my summer classes and exams are next week and i have to decide what to do next everyone thinks the guy should be fired and i should insist that the company does that but i have to think about my family my son and the repercussions i need my job especially now i need it.

Basically i have to get into a fight that i am really too tired and weary to fight any other time in my life i would have been able to deal with this but not now its too much happening at once..... and when i think about it anyhow the outcome i have a lot to lose so its easy for someone on the outside to say things like your husband if he was a real man would get his friends to beat his arse.... well guess what he works for the same company and he needs his job too and on and on as i've said i feel trapped again...and basically just want to run away and hide or turn back time and make up an excuse and not go to his office say i'm too busy or another co-worker gave me the number of a councellor and she treatened that she'll call back later or come drag me out of bed if i don't make the call...........i still haven't made the call i just want to stay in bed today so i won't be answering the phone today...... i just need a break.

i know all these things are happening because i need to build some character and be more brave and to stop being a coward where life is concerned and i have been getting there slowly i finally am dealing with my marriage and doing what is best for me and my sanity....but this is just too much....

All i know now is that sexual harassment is real its about someone abusing their power over someone and the lesson that i learned so far is that i am going to speak up in the future if someone does something to make me feel uncomfortable i am going to be strong enough to say something and not run like i normally do because sometimes these things don't go away by themselves they can get out of hand like i am finding out firsthand.


Blogger Scratchie said...

I am truly at a loss for words. It saddens me that so many people are dealing with uncomfortable situations created by those in authority. I figure your co-workers are afraid that if they let it go you will just shrink away rather than dealing with it. Maybe they are right, and maybe they are wrong. You will deal with it in your own way and time. Speaking from an IR/HRA perspective I think it is much better that it is out in the open. That way even if the company doesn't address it totally it puts them on guard. As for you personally, if you are so inclined please seek help. The counsellor is really a good idea even if you don't think so right now. Believe me that Mental abuse is actually as bad as and sometimes worse than physical and sexual abuse especially since it is the hardest to prove. You have been abused by the mere fact that you have had to change your life to lessen the threat from this low life. Take heart though, there is always a sunshine at the end of the storm. Try and pull yourself together and stand up tall. I hope it works out well for you.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Wow, I'm truly sorry to hear about this. The thing that really angers me about it is how the HR dept handled it when you went to them. Their solution was for you to go back to school to get out of that position???? WTF kind of a solution is that?

3:09 PM  
Blogger JaG said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story. I'm wishing you a lot of strength. I hope you'll come out of this stronger.

4:07 PM  
Blogger ~b*b~ said...

you might not feel so, but your courage in sharing these painful and intimate strugggles that you have experienced is a VERY brave act. i'm sending you an e-hug and i really do hope you're feeling better soon. you are an amazing and strong woman and you will get through this!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Abeni said...

Sorry to hear about this.People outside the situation always know what you should do.It never is that easy and I know of what I speak.The thing is try not to drop in the trap of feeling as if you caused it.One good thing is the incident is out in the open now so at least other women would be aware.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I think it's a good idea for you to go see the counsellor so that the healing process can begin. It's a pity that assholes that practice sexual harrasment often get off with a slap on the wrist because of the heavy burden of proof.

8:12 PM  
Blogger smallislandgirl said...

Scratchie thank you so much my co-workers all want me to be the one to get rid of the guy because apparently he has done this before with other people who were afraid to do anything about it like me i understand that but feel its for the company to decide not me.

Chris i know what you mean the lady who gave me the advice i think she knew that i was not mentally able to deal with a fight like now.

JAG thank you so much.

b*b thank you too even though to be honest i don't feel strong right now.

Abeni thank you too its really out in the open now it even made the paper though they left out our names.

Charles i did call the councellor but she did not sound too warm and friendly on the phone its not easy for me to open up and talk to someone especially someone i don't know i prefer to write down my thoughts instead but i will try to find someone i feel comfortable withjust to help me sort out my feelings so thanks.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Mad Bull said...

Wow! What a thing! You have to do whats best for you... try to see the councellor. Be strong, this will all work out.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Jdid said...

well glad you had the courage to share this with us. thats a positive step. go check out the consellor though I think that can help you decide what your next step should be. dont do anything you are uncomfortable with in terms of pushing for suing him or gettinga lawyer just cause coworkers say so. do what you can live with

8:07 AM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Hello Small Island Girl, I like your blog.

I am a coward too in some instances, but sometimes I speak up when I get really really vexed.

I was harrassed by co-workers in tv in Jamaica, and even though I reported it, nothing happened. Those guys were not my boss so I laced into them with really angry, nasty words and they left me alone after that.

8:37 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going thru a simular situation now. You are an inspiration to me. I hope that your situation goes well. Mine is just starting. This guy showed me a pornographic of a woman baring her breasts on a video cell phone and then said that I wanted to see it. He has been harrassing other women too and it is uncalled for. from saying that he wants to watch us eat to staring at our breasts and butts things are getting out of hand.

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