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Sexually assaulted at work- what to do?(118 Posts)
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Hi all, name changed just for this as it is a delicate subject but I am a regular poster on msn.
I work for a big company with a loose policy in terms of colleagues socializing/ dating/ sleeping together. Most people are young and single and it is pretty much the norm that people
sleep date around.
I have been "friends" with a male colleague who is in a very senior position. I am several ranks lower than him. We are "friends" as we have been knowing each other since high school and we come from the same hometown (not in the UK). He actually initially recommended me for this job.
I have always known this guy had a questionable attitude towards women and sex, despite the fact that he is married to a lovely woman. Occasionally he made sleazy comments about other women that I felt uncomfortable with. A couple of times he tried to hit on me "verbally" (suggesting we went home together after a night at the pub) but I always thought he was joking/ teasing and just laughed it off.
Ultimately I never confronted him, because at the end of the day I admit he is a useful contact to have in my company and I never wanted to risk that professional connection with all the future potential benefts it carries.
A month ago we agreed to grab some food together after a night at the pub but we decided to swing by the office to pick up a bag (office open 24/7 with security). We were drunk.
Once there, he dragged me to the office showers (I did not oppose any resistance as I honestly did not understand what was going on) and he put my hand on his crotch and asked me to give him oral sex.
I was honestly so surprised that I just froze, stood there jockingly begging him to go out and have food (which was the original plan). He then started touching me in a pathetic attempt to turn me on I guess. I stood there doing and saying nothing. He kept groping me. After a while he said this was "my chance" and that I was stupid to waste it. Eventually he gave up and we walked out, pretending nothing happened.
Since then not only he has been acting like nothing has happened, but he actually keeps making inappropriate comments, i.e. a couple of days ago he told me that night he had a dream he was in an orgy with me.
I don't know what to do. The more I think about this the more I realize how awful what he did to me was.
He is very well-respected and powerful in my company and I know that reporting him officially would probably hinder my career more than it would actually affect his. On the other hand I have been feeling increasingly uncomfortable in his presence and I just can't pretend to laugh at his disgusting comments anymore. Thankfully we don't work together as we are in separate departments but he sits not too far from me at the office so I see him every day.
Please help, what should I do?
Report him to the police, he assaulted you and this is a criminal offence.
Do you have an HR person or a supportive manager at work that you would feel comfortable confiding in?
Peas thank you for replying. I feel like if I involved my manager or HR in this the situation would immediately escalate as I suppose it is pretty serious and they wouldn't be able to ignore it. I am afraid there would be negative consequences on my career if I did that.
I just want him to stay away from me
I imagine going to the police would cause more serious consequences for him than talking to HR?
Perhaps then you need to be more direct, no matter how hard it is for you.
You could offer him a choice?
My suggestion of what you could put to him:
"I have a problem I need to go away. We both know what it is. If you don't, perhaps read up on how Harvey Weinstein's career has taken a nosedive.
As far as I see it, the way for this to be dealt with is:
A. I am treated with respect from this point forward
B. I go to HR
C. I talk to the police
Which option would you think is the best one?"
This spells the situation out without actually spelling it out iyswim?
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
Raindrops excuse me where did I suggest I flirted with him? We were out drinking with a big group of colleagues, not just the two of us. I was not aware that agreeing to grab food after a night at the pub was synonymous with "come grope me in the showers".
Your assumptions are quite offensive. I did not ask for any of that. I have been stupid for allowing him to put me in that situation, but he is most definitely the one in the wrong here.
Nice victim blaming there, Raindrops.
OP, please report this man to the police and to your employer. Is there CCTV that could support your case?
Poor judgement it may have been @rainbowsandsparkles but that does not mean that he has a right to grab her, feel her up and ask for oral sex. In an empty office. I don't normally get that angry about this sort of stuff, too jaded I suppose, but people like you (and him) really bloody piss me off.
In the long run, your peace of mine and self respect are worth so much more than your job.
Go to the police. He might not stop next time. You don't have to press charges but knowing that the police know and you could press charges if he does anything else might be enough to get him to back off for now.
Keep a record of his comments and actions and start looking for a new job. Once you have a new job and you're out from under his control you can decide how you want to proceed.
I'm sorry this happened to you.
"Laughing it off" did not mean flirting. It means brushing it away and pretending his comments did not happen. Literally preteding they were a joke.
I never flirted him for career advancement. I was aware that maintaining a friendly work relationship with him could be useful in the future, given that we work in a company where having an internal network is very important and actually encouraged by managers.
Obviously that was before he decided to sexually harass me in the showers, now that "friendly relationship" is spoiled forever as far as I am concerned.
Sorry for the typos I am getting a bit emotional about this.
Your attitude is literally the problem here, @rainbowsandsparkles. She is afraid to report a serious sexual assault at work because of people like you. You should be ashamed of yourself.
I would hope that I would report the disgusting fucker, especially in the current climate, but I'm in a two person household so not completely reliant on my own income and also have relatively well off parents that would support me with eg legal costs. I'd also tell his wife - if I'm burning bridges they're all going, with a flammenwerfer. But it's easy to say that - can you contact any kind of employee assistance eg counselling etc and discuss this with them? Another manager who is likely to be sympathetic? Also - if he's done this to you there are other women at your work who this has happened to, can you try to tap into who they are?
And something did actually happen. What happened to you was wrong and he deserves what happens to him.
"he put my hand on his crotch and asked me to give him oral sex. ... He kept groping me."
"Nothing actually happened."
Raindrops (I assume in response to OP's question "where did I suggest I flirted with him?"):
"Fourth and fifth paragraph."
OP's 4th & 5th paragraphs:
"I have always known this guy had a questionable attitude towards women and sex, despite the fact that he is married to a lovely woman. Occasionally he made sleazy comments about other women that I felt uncomfortable with. A couple of times he tried to hit on me "verbally" (suggesting we went home together after a night at the pub) but I always thought he was joking/ teasing and just laughed it off.
Ultimately I never confronted him, because at the end of the day I admit he is a useful contact to have in my company and I never wanted to risk that professional connection with all the future potential benefts it carries."
Raindrops, get a grip and stop victim blaming.
OP, I do hope you bring it further, but at the least find some way to tell this asshole to stop.
I suspect he has probably done this before, and you may find reporting him has more effect than you might have expected.
You don't need to justify yourself to the victim blamer, OP. Feel what you need to feel right now, then make a plan.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
Please ignore raindrops.
I can't believe what some people write on here.
Hope you don't have a daughter raindrops, and if you do would you say the same to her...
That's not victim blaming. That's basic common sense.
Yes, I would absolutely say that to my dd. I would hope she is street wise and sensible enough not to be so unprofessional at work or so trusting of a man with a reputation.
Raindrop I suppose I was naive enough to think that his marriage, his position of seniority compared to me and the fact that we have been knowing each other since school were good enough reasons for him not to cross the line.
Until then I thought he was sleazy but in a "all talk and no action" way.
Raindrops NONE OF THAT FUCKING MATTERS
HE HAS NO RIGHT TO TOUCH HER REGARDLESS.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND??? IT IS NOT DIFFICULT.
Sorry for shouting everyone.
OP you really do need to speak with someone, he is an awful person if he thinks it is ok to behave like this.
Some men are stupid jerks women have known that since Eve tempted Adam. Women have to be more sensible. It isn't victim blaming It's making sure one is never a victim.
Take no notice of little miss victim blaming.
None of this wAs your fault.
Please report him.
It's attitudes lile yours that makes victims of 'minor' assaults less likely to report them.
Behaviour like this can escalate. Lairy comments which were not confronted have turned into this. He quite possibly thought you were 'up for it', as you were accepting of his previous comments and behaviour.
To many men, silence is consent.
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