What, hey?  A second post in one week?  And I’m back!  How are all of you on this fabulous hump day?

So today’s post isn’t going to be a light one, so if you need a light pick-me-up, I suggest you save this for a sunnier day and read THIS instead!  If not, continue on.

Confession: This week marked the first week that I wasn’t sexually harassed since February.

WHAT?  You seem shocked.  Well, don’t be.

Studies estimate that somewhere between a quarter and half of women report that they’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

And as you probably know, the numbers get higher depending on the field you might find yourself in.  80 percent in the restaurant business (surprised?) and 64 percent in various scientific fields.  I’d be curious to know how many lawyers experience harassment.

Anyways, this wasn’t the first time it happened to me, and I suspect will not be the last.

While I’ve realized that the experience does not define my time at work.  I’ve had way more positive things happen to me at work than negative.  Way more men treat me with respect and courtesy than not.  Way more supportive colleagues than horrible black holes.  Even speaking to the decent guys, they’ve admitted to me that they fear that they’ll be falsely accused for sexual harassment and that is why they act extra cautious with members of the opposite sex.

However, I also have to note that for me, the exceptions, the really terrible, horrible experiences did really affect me.  They were really upsetting.  They spilled into other aspects of my life.  They poisoned my mind.  I had trouble getting out of bed.  I dreaded coming into work.  I was ultra-sensitive to people’s footsteps and the sound of the door being opened behind me.  When my harasser was in the room I always knew it.  I always felt his stare.  I always wanted shrink into myself and disappear.  The experiences were as I said, horrible, terrible.

But now that it’s over, I noticed that they were only horrible at the time they were happening.

Not just in the moment I experienced the harassment, but they were fortunately limited to the span of time that I experienced them.

I had often wondered, when will it be over?  Will it ever be over?  But the biggest fear I had was that I would never forget.  That I would never be myself again.

I worried that even when it stopped (which seemed too impossible to envision), that I would never be free of the reminder of the person, their acts, and how horrible I felt when it was happening.

And I’m relieved that my harasser leaving, so did the feelings of my person being violated, my dignity infringed upon, and my safety in question.

I instantly felt safer, more relaxed and not constantly on edge in fear of the next thing that I’d experience.

Have you ever experienced any kind of harassment in the workplace?  Do you fear either being harassed or being untruthfully accused of harassment?  What have you found to be most empowering in overcoming it, either when it’s happening or after the fact?

Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!

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3 thoughts on “Healing After The Bad, The Horrible, The Terrible

  1. Oh, Mira, I’m so sorry you had to go through that! This is so important to talk about, and I think it is much more common than people realize. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced something like that in a long time. In my first job out of college though, the EVP took an interest in my career advancement (I thought). Shortly after that, I accepted another job at a different company and he started sending me weird emails at all hours about how he was going through “withdrawls” even though I barely knew him. I felt so uncomfortable and all of the good feelings I’d had about my job performance were shaken. It still affects the way I think about my first employer. And that harassment was pretty mild.

    1. B- Harassment is never “mild” – it’s unpleasant and unfortunately affects you in and outside of the workplace in many ways. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you so soon out of college. It does seem that harassers target people they think will not turn them in or don’t know how to get rid of them (often those of us who are relatively fresh to the field). It’s sad that it affects how we remember otherwise good work environments, but hopefully you know that you really WERE a rockstar at that job – you would’ve gotten rave reviews from non-creepy bosses too, I promise! Thanks for sharing. I do think that’s one of the best ways to deal with traumatic happenings. xoxo, Mirabelle

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