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#MeToo: Sexual Harassment

#MeToo: Sexual Harassment

By Author, life coach and radio personality Johanna Sparrow Many years ago, while working in the banking industry, I thought I was only giving off a ladylike, respectful, and professional demeanor in the workplace. Heck, who was I kidding, I knew I’d have to bite my tongue if I wanted peace with my male counterparts,

By Author, life coach and radio personality Johanna Sparrow

Many years ago, while working in the banking industry, I thought I was only giving off a ladylike, respectful, and professional demeanor in the workplace. Heck, who was I kidding, I knew I’d have to bite my tongue if I wanted peace with my male counterparts, but I could only do that for so long before speaking my peace. I had to keep my head down and not say a word even when I was made to feel uncomfortable by a male manager and team members, but I wasn’t the only one. In an office space where men dominated and did no wrong, I found myself fighting off unwanted advancements and misunderstandings with two male co-workers and a high-level male manager who behaved just as badly. Their job was to make my life a living hell, and I cringed every time I got up from my seat. The stare downs, along with the inappropriate comments directed towards me throughout the day, became too much for me to handle.

“Lighten up,” one male worker said after jokingly expressing what I may be like in bed.

Sure, I’d seen this play out before my eyes many times with other women in the office, but I said very little and thanked God that it wasn’t me being harassed by my male peers. I looked the other way until it started happening to me, and just like the women before me, it didn’t feel good. I was especially uncomfortable knowing that I had no one to run to after realizing the HR department wasn’t there to help me after I’d initially believed they were. I was forced to battle sexual harassment in my office alone.

Why didn’t anyone help me? Well, I was being treated just like the women before me who were there one day and gone the next because they felt they were better off leaving the job. Sad to say, the HR department did very little to assist me, just as it hadn’t helped the many previous women. And I even found a few women taking the males’ side even though they knew that the harassment and unwanted attention toward their female peers was wrong.

I felt like I’d done something wrong after seeking help from the HR department and receiving a negative response. I was made to feel as if I’d taken things the wrong way and should apologize to the co-workers and manger that I’d reported if I wanted to continue working at that place. As a result, I started to hate my job and walking into work became stressful. I’d never experience anxiety until that period, and I felt like hiding myself away from the world to remain safe from being the target of future sexual harassment behaviors.

I eventually left that job. My time there wasn’t easy, and it was difficult when men would stand at my desk to talk to me about frivolous things while trying to look down my top. It was nearly impossible to smile at work because I was so unhappy and felt extremely lonely. At times, I wanted to tell them how I felt, but as a woman, I knew that wouldn’t work out in my favor.

After talking things over with my husband, I realized the most beneficial thing for me to do was quit. It’s very sad to know that this type of treatment toward women in the workplace happens daily and that they’re forced to quite if they want peace. It’s not right, and I want the world to know that something needs to be done to protect women that are attempting to work and make a living for their families.

I work from home now, and the thought of working in an office setting frightens me and stresses me out to no end. Life is hard enough, and having someone harass you repeatedly is horrible and makes life much more difficult. I had to seek help for what I was going through, because it didn’t make sense, and I needed to hear that what had happened to me wasn’t my fault. If this is what you’re going through, change jobs and find someone you trust to talk with. And remember, it’s not your fault when someone harasses you.

-Johanna Sparrow

Johanna Sparrow is a pro at balancing life and relationships.  As a certified life coach in San Antonio, Texas, Johanna created Heart Bruised Conscious Connection Renewal codes (HBCCR)©, a system to improve relationships.  She rolled out the system, also known as Breakthrough: Understanding Life Lessons, in 2015 to help her clients find common ground within daily connections.  She is also the author of 31 novels, including the newly released A Life of Turmoil, a woman’s story of abuse and neglect, and the recently released Helen’s Scars, a semi-autobiographic memoir of her real-life aunt Helen’s life of abuse, drug addiction, and prostitution. Johanna helps her readers and clients balance their lives through tapping into their spiritual connections.

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