I had only been there for about two months before I was harassed over the public radio, which all the staff used to communicate with one another when we were working. A co-worker accused me over the radio of having favours done for me because of my female body parts. I was kind of shocked and thrown off guard. Afterward, I ended up talking to my supervisor, who had also heard the comments, and he refused to do anything. He told me I could confront the worker one-on-one if I wanted, but essentially he was telling me that I shouldn’t be offended.
I did end up confronting the employee and he genuinely apologized. He was almost in tears when he was apologizing to me. I had no issues with him ever again, but I still felt uneasy about my supervisor. However, I thought I’d dealt with the issue well and I didn’t expect anything else to happen.
The second incident happened a couple of weeks after that. My shirt was lifted up by another male employee. He then made derogatory remarks in the following days and weeks about female body parts.
I told my supervisor right away about what had happened and said that I needed a couple of days to reflect on what to do about the situation. I didn’t want to make a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Offensive comments about women in general and women’s body parts happened all the time. The man who lifted up my shirt would say how he only watched the red carpet to look at the cleavage of the women and the sexy bodies. I ended up writing a formal statement because what was happening was just so wrong. The mindset of the men I worked with was just completely disrespectful.
The human resources department ended up interviewing both me and the man who lifted up my shirt. HR concluded the investigation without telling me. In their notes that they sent to the company, they said the incident was just a misunderstanding. There wasn’t much I could do, so I didn’t follow up.
The third incident happened months later. My supervisor was sexually harassing me over text message—he asked me to come over for booty calls. He was indirectly involved in all of these incidents because he was responsible for addressing them in the first place. He was aware of everything that was happening to me and he still made the choice to send me those text messages.
There was a formal investigation launched after the third incident. It wasn’t easy, though, to get this to happen because my employer was trying to rid themselves of accountability for not properly dealing with the second incident. The workplace was unionized as well and I was ignored by three different union representatives.
I was on a temporary contract but had been verbally offered a permanent position within the company. I had no intention of quitting ever. It was the best job I’ve ever had. But after I complained, I was dismissed.
I’ve lost trust in the men I work with. I also haven’t been able to trust any managers. I’m always putting my guard up. I get why people would rather not report these things in the workplace, because it sets you up for failure. Your job is at stake. I realized that the people who are supposed to protect you aren’t actually there to protect you. It’s taken me a long time to heal from that.