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Thursday, November 17, 2011

How far have we come?

Posted on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I'm writing to express my frustration with sexual harassment in the workplace, and that in this day and age, it not only still occurs, but is tolerated. Up until today, I worked for as a youth counselor in a group home. Last week, a male coworker approached me aggressively and stated matter of factly that he had a sexual dream about me and proceeded to describe the details in front of another female staff, with young clients nearby. I was shocked, offended and embarrassed all at the same time along with the other wide range of emotions a woman goes through when subjected to this type of harassment. I decided something had to be done and expected my employer would look at this for the serious matter it is. I was to be severely disappointed.

The end result was that I had to leave work, consult a physician and was instructed to take 2 weeks off while this assault was addressed by my employer. Or at least I thought they were going to. I have come to learn that they have done nothing other than reward this man by giving him the shifts I am unable to work as a result of his actions. In discussions with my employer, they informed me that they have "spoken" to him and that entries have been made in his file and that I "owe" him the opportunity for him to apologize for his actions. Their reason being that they can't "close/conclude" their part unless I subject myself to further humiliation at the hands of this man. As a result of their sole interest of being to make this "go away" I decided to quit. So I ask you, has any progress been made with women's rights in the workplace when this manner of behaviour is not only permitted, but rewarded? Where the only option available is for me to quit my job so that I can stand up for myself and regain my dignity.

Yes, we sure have come a long way haven't we? —M

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