I’ve been at my college job for three years now and it’s fantastic. I work in a library, but most of the time I can get away with watching Netflix, swiping on Tinder, or catching up on TSM columns. But I’ve also had to deal with the sexual advances of my creepy older boss. Not okay. One of my female bosses recently convinced me to report him so administration could investigate. Safe to say, this experience has taught me a thing or two about the process of reporting sexual harassment and has made me realize why so many women (and men) never report it.
1. Do the thing.
Okay, this may seem obvious, but I was dead-set on not saying anything until I graduated to avoid the annoyances of a college investigation. But, honestly, it’s worth the hassle. Odds are, if they’re being inappropriate with you, they will be inappropriate with someone else. And if you don’t report it, who will?
2. It’s okay to be scared. But it’s not okay to stay scared.
Hell, I was absolutely terrified when I submitted my report. Like, hands shaking, heart pounding, out of control scared. I was also freaked out about what would happen after my report was investigated, and my boss was told that I reported him. But, I realized something. I didn’t have to be scared. Damn it, I had no reason to be scared. I wasn’t the one doing something wrong. He was. If anyone should have been scared, it should him. Stick to yours guns. It’s okay to be scared, but know that you are in control and there are people who are going to look out for you.
3. It’s going to suck. A lot.
For those of you who don’t know, the reporting process sucks. There were many days where I wanted to leave work, head home, and drink ten whiskey diets just to forget my day. I was forced to leave my department of three years and transfer to an entirely different building. But if it meant that the asshole who treated me unfairly was going to get punished, then I could suck it up and move on.
4. You have resources. Use them.
It was one of my female supervisors who got me to report the him, and it was her that stood by my side the whole time. When I came back after a meeting crying my mascara off, she was the one who guided me into her office, gave me tissues and chocolate, and told me that it was going to be alright. She also introduced me to the HR director, helped me get situated in my new department, and put me in contact with the Office of Institutional Equity. I would have been lost in this process without her. If you’re having an issue with sexual harassment, reach out. You won’t regret it. I promise you.
5. Sometimes the asshole wins. And it’s awful.
Unfortunately, like the Rolling Stones sang, “you can’t always get what you want.” In my case, I wanted him fired, but instead I was just uprooted from my job so he could stay in his comfy, corner. It was an eye-opening experience for me to realize that sometimes the bad guy wins. I’ve read about a million articles about inequality in the workplace and unfair rulings on sexual harassment cases, but I never expected it to happen to me. I can’t say that I’m not upset about it, but I’m also still proud of myself for standing up and saying something in the first place. At least now people are aware of the kind of man he actually is.
6. You’ll get past this.
Even if the outcome isn’t what you hoped it would be, you did the right thing. Yeah, there may have been some bumps and trials along the way, but you did the right thing. I can’t regret turning him in, and I won’t. He deserves a much greater punishment than he received, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing more I can do. All I have left to do now is to get comfortable with my new job, and know that I did the right thing..
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