Women at work places: speak up and break the silence!
A first hand case study from a client of WCCC
I have been working at my job since June 2010. I just broke up with my boyfriend at the time when a guy from my work asked if he could be my boyfriend and I accepted. After about two weeks I told him that we’re finished - I didn’t like his behavior. From then on he used to come to my office and say things to me like why did I finish with him but he never disrespect me in any way.
On the last day of December, he came into my office doing the same thing complaining and asking if we could go back on being boyfriend girlfriend again. All of a sudden another man from our work walked in and grabbed me from the front and told my ex-boyfriend to kiss me. I was shaking my head around because I didn’t want to. But he was holding my face in his hands and kissing my lips, sticking his tongue in my mouth. After that they went out the door laughing. I could hear them saying to their co-worker outside, “the offender just kissed the victim, she deserved it because she was playing hard to get”.
In the beginning of this year, my ex boyfriend grabbed my buttock one day as I was walking outside my office. At this time, I heard rumors that he is talking about me having an affair with another men, saying that I am not a virgin and one day he say it straight to my face. One day I walked inside one of the rooms at work and as I walk in I can hear my name came up in my ex-boyfriend’s conversation and the men burst out laughing. I was so angry. I walked up to him kicking his feet saying, what did you say about me? He didn’t say anything, they just kept on laughing. So I kicked him again. Then he kicked me three times on the chest. It hurt so much because he was wearing his safety boots. I went to the doctor to make a report. I took it to the police and made a complaint about the two men, the man who held me and my ex boyfriend who kissed me, grabbed my buttock, gossiped about me and kicked me on the chest.
I’ll never forget this incident because this is the first time I have ever experience something like this even outside of work. I haven’t felt like this ever in my life before. That day I felt so afraid that I can’t sleep at night for a few weeks, I felt dirty and angry and when they were laughing at me I felt used ‘little and without dignity, I also felt frustrated thinking that I can’t do anything about it, that I am powerless in this situation.
I came straight to the director of WCCC because that’s who I was advised to go to, and after talking to her a counselor was appointed to me while the director was writing a letter to my boss at work telling him:
That I am a client of the WCCC and informing him of my right to have a workplace that is safe and free of sexual harassment.
The counselor then documented my story, called the Ministry of Police Domestic Violence Unit to clarify some information and then we went into a counseling session. By the time we were finished the letter was ready and the centre delivered it to my work.
One of the reasons why I am so grateful to the centre, I didn’t know anything about my complaint if it wasn’t for the centre. After I made my complaint I went with my parent, my counselor and the male advocate of the centre to court, we met up with the prosecutor and he told us that he dropped the case of one of the men because there is not enough evidence and the other man will only be charged on one count. Luckily, the two staff of the centre were there to level with him. My counselor took me to the DVU unit again today to talk about my case and I am still unsatisfied but at the same time I am happy because the centre is there to help me, support me and make me feel good about myself, that I haven’t done anything wrong, and am empowered about this kind of situation. We are still working on my case.
I feel very lucky that I came to the centre, the way they talk to the police it made me feel courageous, I feel good about myself, have high self-esteem, that I am supported, I advice you women out there especially women at work places to speak up and break the silence, that’s the purpose of my taking this case to court. I don’t want to go through this again, and I don’t want it to happen to anyone at my work place or any other organization. I am very grateful that I came to the centre and it was true that they help me a great deal. They did a great deal more than what I expected.