I was desperate and didn’t know how to answer
When I was in my early twenties, I arranged a meeting with three older male colleagues – two at senior management and an external PR specialist who worked with us on some projects.
When I started presenting the meeting, PR derailed me, saying, “It’s a nice skirt, Rachel, but it would look better on the floor in my bedroom.” I was absolutely desperate and didn’t know how to answer. I was very young and lacked the confidence and calm that Taylor Swift has.
Neither of my two male bosses called him. In fact, I think they laughed. I managed to get together to some extent and continue the meeting, but I felt undermined and powerless in the dynamics. This, of course, is the intention behind such actions – to remove someone’s power and defend their own.
He put his hand on the back of my pants and squeezed
I am an outspoken gay man working in a big bank. I attended a big business event where I knew several people. Towards the end, a man I knew from another department approached me. He put his hand on the back of my pants, squeezing lightly. As he did so, he leaned over to my ear and said, “Do you want to go out after that? I know you like to have fun. I hurried away and said, “I have to go home.”
Anonymous Bank Manager, London
The Steering Committee decided that there was insufficient evidence of action
I was an auxiliary worker in a dormitory for young homeless people and regularly took night shifts with older workers. I was harassed many times by a male employee who made an exception for my sexuality. Did I use vibrators? Who played the man in sex with my partner? He told me, “I just wasn’t smeared properly and he was the one to do it.”
When I found out he was questioning young women at the hostel, I made a formal complaint. The Steering Committee decided that there was not enough evidence of action, although I was the third member of staff to complain about his behavior.
He was eventually fired for gross misconduct, not for sexual harassment of women, but for financial wrongdoing.
Anonymous Assistant, London
They competed to be the first to sleep with me
I was the new girl in a company made up mostly of men.
At least three of my men had made sexist remarks, and there were rumors that they were competing to sleep with me first.
At the Christmas party about a month after I started, the son of the owner of the company began to touch me inappropriately and beg me to return to his room. He didn’t say no, so I called my boyfriend to pick me up. The same person continued to make advances all the time I worked there, including on business trips. I couldn’t say anything because he was the owner’s son.
Anonymous marketing manager
The men tried to throw balls of paper at my cleavage while I worked
I just started working as a reporter for a male-dominated newsroom. Shortly after the launch, there was an event for employees to celebrate the newspaper, which won an industry award last month.
I was young, shy, and had no idea what to say when two very drunken column editors came up to me to tell me that the editor who hired me was right when he told them I had big breasts. About an hour later, one of these editors came up behind me and grabbed me by the chest for a few seconds before stumbling.
Throughout my post, men made regular comments about my chest and even played a “game” in which they tried to throw balls of rolled paper at my décolleté while I worked.
Anonymous journalist, London
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