Note to Myself
The signs were all there, but like they say, love is blind but the neighbours aren’t. I thought getting out of my relationship would help me grow but it turns out things are a little more complicated when you work together. Someone who has status over you in the workplace can make it difficult for you to fairly be protected by the company.
When I left my boyfriend, he never gave up. Now, there’s a difference between someone not giving up to prove their love for you, but it’s another thing when they don’t leave you alone to the point it takes over your life. Working together still gave him the opportunity to come up behind me, touch me, grope me, throw things like bugs and spiders at me. It also allowed him to drive around my house in the middle of the night, on weekends, whilst texting me telling me he knew who I was with.
Since this man had some status, when I went forward with sexual harassment complaints we were both given written final warnings for inappropriate behaviour in the workplace after the investigation was conducted.
With policies in place to protect employees from being reprimanded going forward with complaints, I did not feel that my company had my best interests at heart. And I knew that what he was doing wasn’t okay.
The best advice that I can give to women is never give up. Trust your gut and sometimes you have to fight for yourself when it feels like no one else will. I knew what he was doing was wrong. So the police was my next option. Three weeks after I went to the police, he was arrested and charged with criminal harassment. While this doesn’t change the written final warning I received at work, or what I dealt with, it protects me from him stalking me any further around my house, as well as prevents him from being able to talk to me at work.
For anyone going through something similar, I reiterate that sometimes you have to be the one to fight for yourself. And sometimes the person who can protect you the most is you.
It’s been a long 6 month road of fighting for myself, stress, and a lot of rumours in the workplace. But when you know your worth, and know who you are and stand up for what you know is right, you will always come out in one piece on the other side. It may not come without some emotional scars, but when you reach out, sometimes you’re the one who can help yourself the most. And through all the upset, the outcome is worth it. The road to feeling whole isn’t easy, but with support from the community, family and virtual art therapy I have learned that there are so many supportive outlets that can help but you can’t expect them to come to you. Reaching out to see what sources of support York Region could offer me was most definitely what helped me cope the most in 2020. And I could not be more thankful.
If any woman are going through something similar, and can relate even in the slightest, just know that you are your biggest advocate and never stop believing in yourself and what you’re capable of.