How to deal with sexual harassment in the work place and my feelings about it?
October 7, 2012 2:45 PM Subscribe
I have been sexually harassed at work on two separate occasions, I need help deciding what to do about it and understanding my own feelings.
posted by abirdinthehand to Work & Money (46 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This male coworker is from another department, we know each other but are not particularly friendly with one another in general, meaning we don't have conversations beyond, 'hi hows it going, great see ya later.' He is a bit older than me and married.
The first incident was in the spring, he snuck up behind me and put his chest, only his chest, on my back. I jumped and said 'you scared me.' He laughed and walked away.
The second incident was over the summer, he again snuck up behind me- while I was having a conversation with someone else- and grabbed my waist, putting one hand on each side and kind of squeezing me. I turned around, gave him a nasty look and said 'what the hell?' I immediately resumed my conversation and he wandered off.
Since then nothing has happened, although I saw him a week ago and he told me we were scheduled to be at the same function so I could 'look forward to him harassing me.' I was completely shocked by that comment and had no response at the time.
I wish I had different reactions in each of these situations. My girlfriends say, just tell him to stop touching you! But each time- well he does literally sneak up behind me- he catches me off guard. And I seem to just react. . . I guess I feel almost guilty for not adequately protecting myself or something.
The other thing is, although I've talked to several coworkers about it, I feel somewhat embarrassed about the whole thing and don't want to draw attention to it, or me.
These emotions conflict with my values and how I would like to behave, but I don't know how to be more assertive in the actual moment when I'm just having this gut reaction.
So my coworkers are encouraging me to go to HR, I'm wondering if I should try to address the issue with him first.