I used to be an assistant to a CEO, and I loved my job. But I was miserable at home. My boyfriend of ten years, with whom I had two children, was emotionally abusive. I knew I shouldn’t put up with it, but I felt trapped.
I loved my job, and I never talked about my home life while at work, but I had the feeling that my bosses knew something was wrong. They were always supportive and never asked questions.
Eventually, I could no longer keep my home life separate. My ex, Tim, would call and scream at me so loudly my co-workers could hear, or he would show up at my office to pick a fight. My co-workers were rightly concerned, and I felt safe at work. After Tim tried to strangle me, I broke up with him the next day and got a restraining order at the urging of my assistant general manager, “Joe.”
Initially, my colleagues were helpful. Joe lent me a car so Tim wouldn’t recognize it, and helped find a shelter for me and my kids. The CEO also assured me that I would have my job back whenever I was ready to return to work. I went back to work a week later, finally free. The work staff continued to support and protect me – except for Joe.
"One nightmare had ended, but another had begun."
One nightmare had ended, but another had begun. Joe started sending me text messages complimenting me on my appearance. I was shocked, and while I did not flirt back, I was polite because I feared for my job.
The sexual harassment escalated. Joe would visit my office and close the door, which made me nervous. He would give me expensive gifts and ask me out on dates. I would always say no, but this continued for months until he became engaged to another woman at our company.
One day when his fiancée went out of town, Joe asked me to work late. He offered me a gift and professed his love for me. When I tried to leave, he pushed the door shut and tried to kiss me. I kept pushing him away and finally broke free.
Joe never apologized or mentioned the incident, but his fiancée got suspicious. That same week, she demoted me. Soon thereafter, I was fired.
After surviving the abuse at home, it was especially hurtful to face abuse all over again at work.
Fortunately, a year later, I found another job and am moving on with my life.