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Silence is not golden when it comes to sexual harassment

By Luu Nguyen   July 6, 2022 | 04:33 pm PT
Silence is not golden when it comes to sexual harassment
A man has inappropriate gestures towards a woman. Illustration photo by Shutterstock
When my boss wrapped his arms around my neck and passed sexual comments, I did not hold back but snapped at him in front of colleagues.

I have been reading a lot about sexual harassment in the workplace recently. I want to share how I deal with similar incidents at work so that people could stop becoming victims.

I am a woman who has been working in a male-dominated field for over a decade. No unfortunate incident has happened to me, and this was not because I am surrounded by nice people but because I know exactly how I should act in such situations.

The first thing I do when I am being harassed is to make my stance known to the other party directly and immediately. I do not fear losing my job by protecting myself. If push comes to shove and I end up being singled out at the workplace, so be it.

So I always choose to stand my ground instead of compromising.

It should be noted that I am not a rich person. But if I ever end up being in a situation where I am short of money, I am willing to do any work to put food on my table, even menial work.

Secondly, I believe fear and weakness will only be fuel for an assailant. So I am never afraid of perverts, even those who could be as old as my own father, supposedly "elders who should be respected." They are the ones with problems, not me, so why should I be the one to back down?

Thirdly, I never allow myself to get drunk or at least drunk in front of someone I do not trust.

"No" is a full sentence. It is okay to refuse to go to gatherings you do not want to be a part of, and it is okay if you do not let your hair down at a party. I believe that is a skill everyone should learn once they join the workforce.

There was a time when I had just joined a new company. The deputy director seemed quite nice, often inviting the whole department out for meals.

One day, after he finished a meeting with a client, the drunk man returned to office, wrapped his arms around my neck and tried to make sexual advances toward me. I pushed him away immediately, pointed my finger at his face and warned him not to touch me a second time.

I received strange looks and heard whispers after that, but I paid no heed. There were a few more similar incidents after that, but eventually he realized he could not do anything to me and stopped trying.

Sexual harassment can happen anywhere, not just at the workplace, and anyone can be a victim. So it is important to equip yourself with self-defense knowledge, and never, ever compromise. Push back loud and clear.

 
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