Harassment in the workplace?

“Harassment”. We see this word very often over the news ,  the internet and social media. But yet, the issues related to this topic have been around for decades and still remain.

Couple months ago, I surveyed on harassment in the workplace and many of you were vocal about it. About 80% of the women who voted on my poll were victim of harassment at work, whether it was verbal, mental, emotional or sexual.  The number of stories some of you shared with me was unexpected.  Two recurrent situations were verbal harassment from the supervisor or sexual harassment from men. 

While I can’t talk for everybody , my personal experience with harassment in the workplace have allowed me to confirm 3 theories:

1.       Men are intimidated by smart, young, and qualified women

2.       Women are intimidated by women’s beauty features and qualifications

3.       Men still believe women exist for their  sexual pleasure.

YES. Men are intimidated by smart and qualified young women. Yes they are even if they say they are not! The older they are the more insecure they feel about your presence as a woman in the same office as them , and the more Nasty they become. 

I’ve seen a man old enough to be my father loose his control because he could not accept that I was at the same level as him in an executive position, and that I was more qualified than him on top of it. This man tried everything to scare me out of the job and when he realized I was not phased he started getting verbally abusive borderline violent. He even screamed at me “I know you are more qualified than me, but you don’t have the experience of a Man so you can’t do the job. You have to submit to me! That’s the only way I will work with you.” WTF does that mean I don’t have the experience of a man? I am a woman, so of course I don’t. And TF does that have to do with my experience as a professional  woman?

When I tell you they vomit all type of nonsense when their fragile masculinity feels threaten! he did not even realized he was not making any sense!  It is when sharing this experience with friends I realized this type of behavior was pretty common when  women are placed in a  Leadership position.  A friend of mine even had one of her coworkers tell her “ You’re in this position only because the office doesn’t want any discrimination law suits for gender equality, I should have gotten that promotion, being an engineer is a man’s job!”  SMH!

 

But men are not the only ones harassing women.  While its very common to be harassed by an old man, it’s also very common to be harassed by women of all ages, but mostly younger ones. Some women are simply petty when it comes to work. They will plot against another woman, create stories, forge lies, and  write her up for no reason just because they are uncomfortable with her beauty, the energy she manifest, and her qualifications.

Back when I was living in NY, my old manager who was a couple year older than me, basically hated me. Since she could not attack me directly (she knew I could report her and realized I was not as attached to the job as her), she used to have me do double the work or would just change my work when I was gone and report to her manager that I was making mistakes.  She hated the fact I was getting along with everybody and the most that I was attending grad school. Eventually she got caught  by that older women sitting next to me who treated me like her grand-daughter (Gwen!) and another black woman who considered me as her little sister since I was the youngest at the office.  It is only after I gave my 2 week notice that I learned she told Gwen who had confronted her that she just did not like the fact that I had it all together while being an immigrant and that I once I graduate I could become her boss. non sense!

Some of my friends had women coworkers hate on them just because they were black , because the boss smiled at them or the cute guy walk by their desk too much.  The level of pettiness some women are capable of is beyond this world!

 

The most observed form of harassment however, remain sexual harassment. Women are simply constantly sexually harassed by man in the work place (By women too but not that often.) While I’ve never been sexually harassed at work, almost all of my friends have. From coworkers making sexual comments about their outfits, touching them inappropriately , bargaining promotions they deserve in exchange of sex, to  sending unsolicited genitals picture in the middle of a casual conversation, they’ve almost experience it all. What pains me the most is that more often than not, these men use a situation of vulnerability to abuse these young professional women and coerce them to performing sexual acts on them; and after the fact they use this situation to threaten the woman for more favors. One of my readers shared with me a situation where her boss tried to put his hand under her skirt (for those of you already thinking about the length of her skirt. IT DOES NOT MATTER), she told him to stop and that was inappropriate. Homeboy got mad and write her up for wearing inappropriate attire at work. When I tell you I hate when they act as victim because their ego is hurt! And the fact that everybody is always more keen to blame the woman for wearing an inappropriate outfit hurts me to the core of my soul! How do you consciously violate someone and play the victim?! Ca me depasse!

There is only so much we can do to face these situations so we should use all the resources we have to protect us:

          Report any type of abuse

          Don’t let the abuser know you are scared, even if you are

          Defend yourself no matter what.

With that being said, for those of us in Haiti, I know there are absolutely no protection for us against harassment cuz people do as they please, and when it’s not your boss harassing you, the harasser most likely is tied to The boss or have some sort of power. It’s a frustrating and a shameful fact!

Always remember that no Job, absolutely NO JOB is worth your mental health, your security and your safety! I know you might need the money or the experience but what you will lose for that money might cost you more in the long run. So protect yourself at all cost! 

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