advertisement
14 December 2017

‘I was sexually harassed at work – this is how I stopped it for good’

“I didn’t think they would believe a young coloured girl over a senior white manager…”

0

As a junior manager I was working late one night when the general manager came past my desk.

He noted that I had had a birthday and he had not wished me. He then proceeded to kiss me entirely inappropriately.

Read more: “My husband beat me while I was pregnant – here’s how I survived”

What if no one believes me?

The general manager was my four times removed super-senior. I said I didn’t think what he’d done was appropriate, but I was fearful that the behaviour would continue.

I thought if I told people, no one would believe me. He was a senior exec, old enough to be my father. I was a 26-year-old junior manager.

It was also in the days of Apartheid and I didn’t think they would believe a young coloured girl over a senior white manager.

Reporting sexual harassment without involving HR

I eventually told my boss’ boss. I understand that his boss had a conversation with the GM – who was actually his senior.

I also learnt from my boss that I was not the first. However, I felt entirely disempowered and I needed to reclaim my power.

Read more: This is what it’s like to have sex after being raped: one woman’s story

Confronting the perpetrator

The next time I worked late and the GM came by, I said, “Mr XXX, what you did a few weeks ago was entirely inappropriate. However, I am prepared to forget it and move on, provided that it does not happen again.”

He looked completely shocked at the fact that I had challenge him and said: “I don’t want you to forget it.” Then he walked away.

My impression, though, was that I had won the round. And after that he stayed away from me.

*The writer went on to build a successful career at the company and ultimately became a general manager.

This article was originally featured on www.womenshealthsmag.com

Image credit: iStock

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Live healthier

Terrific Tea! »

Rooibos makes cocktails healthier Rooibos: an alternative energy drink

More than 10 reasons why rooibos is good for you

Today marks the first annual National Rooibos Day, which aims to raise awareness of the health benefits and many uses of rooibos tea.

Healthy? Are you sure? »

5 diseases we can get from animals Could your salon visit make you sick?

7 terrifying diseases you could have without knowing it

Not all serious illnesses come with tell-tale symptoms. There are diseases that can turn your body into a ticking time-bomb while you're unaware of any danger.