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Mon Dec 26, 2011, 11:37 AM

 

haaalp! every time my light begins to shine...

I seem to become a magnet for dark energies. I think this topic has come up before, for many of us. It's in full force again for me again.

One way in which it has repeatedly reared its ugly head is sexual harassment. I expect anybody who has been around a while knows that sexual harassment is not about sex, it is about power. I also expect most women have been subjected to it at least once in their lifetime, unless you are surrounded by protective, big brothers...

For me, it seems to come up about once/decade. As some of you know, my most recent case was also the worst, when I was literally driven from my home of 17 years by a registered sex offender and his gang, who harassed me 24x7 for 3 years. The police told me they had a file on him "an inch thick and a mile long." They looked relieved when I told them I planned to move, "Good. Get out of town. There's nothing we can do. We can't protect you.'

Now it is happening at my new job. The offender is from the cleaning crew and is a severely mentally disabled man who was injured in a car accident at age 16. He has a track record of fixating on at least one woman and he "has a hard time accepting 'no' for an answer" according to one of the techs involved in the situation. His last target got rid of him by marrying somebody else. I have no plans or intention of marrying anybody for the purpose of losing a harasser!

The lesson he apparently learned from his prior experience was to harass 'by proxy.' He has gone from lab assistant to lab assistant, the phlebotomy supervisor and at least 1 lab tech, gleaning bits of information about me from each one. The tech was the *only* one with the good sense to tell him to leave me alone and not feed him more info. 2 lab assistants and the supervisor all came to me giggling and trying to get me to date him!!!!! The 1st one would not accept no for an answer, had the m.f. gall to say, 'All you have to do is have coffee with him and explain why you don't want to date him' and then followed up the next day by asking if I'd 'followed up with him yet?"

I did not appreciate, just 4 months into a new job, being forced to file a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker. I spent 4 days sick in bed as a result, losing precious income and study time. 2 weeks later, another lab assistant approached me, wanting to know if I have an SO. Sure enough, it was for him, so I told her I've already filed 1 sexual harassment complaint, am I going to have to file another? She backed off in a big hurry.

This phase of the harassment seems done, since I haven't been approached by any other lab assistants for over a month now. However, his more subtle harassment continues, in that any time he seems me in the hallway, he tries to accidentally "bump" into me in an attempt to start a conversation. So now when I leave the lab and venture out to go to the bathroom or cafeteria, I'm in 'defensive' mode, ready to either change direction or carefully ignore him.

Well, on Christmas eve, I gave myself the gift of lunch in the cafeteria instead of my usual fare from home eaten in the lab break room. I hadn't run into him in weeks and forgot my defenses. As I headed away from the register, there he was at a table with other workers, some of whom I have to work with from the emergency room. He very loudly yelled, "Merry Christmas!" at me, demanding a response in front of witnesses. I chose rudeness, gave him an ugly look and walked by. Hopefully, his friends will tell him I'm a snobby bitch and to forget about it.

The thing is this. My extensive experience with harassment (I also spent 8 months being stalked at work) is that if you pay *any* attention to them, it encourages more attention. I no longer even nod my head at him in the hall, as I did before this all started. I certainly will not start any conversation with him.

Company policy is I am basically on my own. He is staying just inside the line of harassment; had the lab assistants not said anything to me I wouldn't even have this predicament. Now,if I turn him down for a date and he persists, only then can I elevate. I refuse to give him even that opportunity because my history says that even if they do get involved, the authorities will at best not help and worst case make things worse. Twice in the past when I was sexually harassed, the problem escalated after I sought help.

How do I get rid of this creepy guy? His name is Mark. He is very tall and thin, with shortish black hair. I frequently see him pushing a mop. If someone can do a cord-cutting or a something, please, please do. I am at a loss and it's seriously creeping me out.

Back when I was a kid, there was a solution to harassment. The bigger men friends, brothers, fathers and uncles, whoever, would get the offender alone and, quite frankly, beat the living shit out of them. As brutal as that approach may seem today, the simple fact is it worked. Would-be harassers thought very carefully about consequences and stopped harassing. This isn't about someone wanting to date someone. It's about control and ownership, and it is a form of violence against the target.

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Reply haaalp! every time my light begins to shine... (Original post)
magical thyme Dec 2011 OP
Tumbulu Dec 2011 #1
OneGrassRoot Dec 2011 #2
magical thyme Dec 2011 #3
OneGrassRoot Dec 2011 #4
liberalmuse Dec 2011 #5
Metta Dec 2011 #6
Myrina Dec 2011 #7
magical thyme Dec 2011 #8
BanzaiBonnie Dec 2011 #9
magical thyme Dec 2011 #10

Response to magical thyme (Original post)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 12:54 PM

1. What a sad situation

I am sorry for you and for all involved.

I suspect that the other lab techs consider this fellow harmless and feel sorry for him. Perhaps they know him and are only getting to know you.

I have been in these situations often enough and I cannot ignore them either- which is the standard response that I used to get.

My only thoughts at this time is to do the old "wear a wedding/engagement ring thing" and have a pretend spouse or boyfriend, or SO.

If he is mentally disabled, be might then move on to the next imaginary possible suitor. If he has worked there a long time, the management is not taking these situations seriously.

Good luck, I am sorry that you are suffering with this and I look forward to hearing what the wise folks on this board suggest.

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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 12:56 PM

2. That strikes me as good advice.

The "wear a wedding/engagement ring thing."

You don't have to say who you're committed to; it could be a symbol of your commitment to your authentic self, so you could wear it truthfully without feeling you're being deceitful or whatever.

I think that's what I would do in your situation.

I also am so very, very sorry you're going through this....yet again.



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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 01:05 PM

3. tried the wedding band thing in the past, twice

 

that I can remember. The creeps didn't care and kept it up, I'm guessing because it was about power. When I refused to date them, they apparently got off on creeping me out.

In this case, because it is at work in a small, catty group, I would then be forced to make up a story and carry it for the entire work group of a dozen+ lab techs and lab assistants. I simply can't pull off that kind of game. If I'd started there with a band on I could have, but they all know I'm single. It is too late now, and I really had no way to anticipate this. I'm almost 60 now, I really thought that phase of my life was over. I guess it won't be until I'm dead, and then some necrophiliac will fixate on my poor corpse.

You are right that they know him, more or less, but in that case they should have known better than to encourage him, should realize how inappropriate their behavior was in the situation, and should have not provided him information about me. It was wrong on every level, and there is no excuse for it. And I believe our manager is aware of his history because as soon as I complained, she asked, "is it mark xxx?" I didn't even have to name him!

Yes, he's worked there a long time. This is a small, rural community so the locals all know each other. They are protecting him, which I understand, but they also have an obligation to protect anyone he fixates on. It's complicated, too, because there are multiple organizations involved: the hospital, the multi-county healthcare org, and the lab, are each separate nonprofit companies.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 01:16 PM

4. Gotcha...

Sending you more hugs of support, magical thyme. I'll envision this challenge simply fading on its own, having no energy at all.




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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 08:45 PM

5. Yep.

I totally agree with Tumbulu. Been in this situation as well (I think most women have). My advice would be to lie and say you have an SO. I know that sounds bad, but it's all I can offer. Nothing else will work - unless you leave the job, or he leaves the job, and you probably don't want to do that.

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Response to magical thyme (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 03:53 PM

6. Thoughts.

Sorry to hear you're having tough times with people who don't respect you and seem to be out for their own gain. Here are things that work towards the ends you want.

higher self negotiation - http://kundalini-teacher.com/karma/hself.php?searchresult=1&sstring=higher+self+negotiation

cutting the cords - http://kundalini-teacher.com/karma/akacords.php?searchresult=1&sstring=cords

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Response to magical thyme (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 08:58 AM

7. I am confused.

You say he is 'sexually harassing' you. Sexual harassment is about power, control and ownership - as you state. But he is a janitor, not in a position to advance or hinder your career. Also, I don't see anything in your post about him making overt comments TO you (A la Clarence Thomas and the pubic hair), just asking people about you and trying to get your attention/gauge your interest.

To me it seems as if he is genuinely emotionally challenged or learning disabled, and yes probably does have attachment issues - maybe never learned how to appropriately interact with women because of those things. Some people fixate on a 'perfect mate' whether there's any reality to it or not, and if he is emotionally unbalanced, ignoring him is only going to make him intensify his efforts.

As a devil's advocate comment - you seem to have a propsensity to 'find' sexual harassment on a fairly regular basis. Could it be that you're the one who's fixating on him as a harasser because that's what your past experiences have programmed you to do?

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Response to Myrina (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 09:25 AM

8. the harassment came by proxy

 

from my co-workers asking personal questions about me and then feeding the information to him, and pressuring me to date him and refusing to accept no for an answer, to the point that 4 months into my job I felt it necessary to complain.

I did *nothing* to invite or encourage this. I do not dress or act in any way provocatively. I didn't even know who the fuck they were talking about initially, although I guessed at it by his bizarre, juvenile behavior 2+ months earlier, the 1st time I ever saw him.

I very rarely pass him in the halls - only 3 times in the 4 months before this started, and now 3 times in the last month with more wrong behavior by him. The day the various co-workers came to me questioning, giggling and pressuring me, I didn't even know he was in the building. He apparently was watching me from behind a door somewhere, though.

Since the day that the co-worker demanded to know if I'd "touched base with him yet," he has 3 times gone out of his way trying to strike up conversations. Not something anybody else at the hospital, in any capacity other than direct coworker, does. He has chased me down the hall with his mop, he has come right up in my face when I was getting a drink of water, and most recently tried to force conversation with his friends looking on.

He has a track record of this behavior: I am not his first target. Only the current one. According to the sole tech who told him straight out to leave me alone, he harassed another woman and had "a hard time accepting no for an answer."


"you seem to have a propsensity to 'find' sexual harassment on a fairly regular basis."

Right. I owned my condo for 13 years before the registered sex offender moved in next door. Obviously I was 'finding' it. And the creep that office stalked me worked on the same floor as me -- along with hundreds of men and women who didn't stalk me -- clearly I was looking for it.

I don't think "blame the victim" statements are helpful, appropriate or anything but offensive.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:23 AM

9. I'm so sorry about this trouble you're having

This is a horrible situation, made worse by the co-workers involvement.

When you made the complaint, do you know what they said to him? Did they tell him to leave you alone, not to speak to you or follow you or engage you in any way? I hope they did. And apparently he is not following that protocol. You may need to speak to your supervisor again. Or... do you know anyone in law enforcement who could (wearing a uniform) talk to him and just tell this guy not to talk to you again.

Just because someone is mentally challenged is not a good enough reason for others to dismiss his actions or consider him harmless. There is still something in him that has understanding what he's doing.

You are obviously having a fear reaction. I'm wondering after having been stalked for three years if you have PTSD? I was only stalked for a few months and I ended up with PTSD.


You need allies in this. What about the one lab tech who told him to leave you alone? Would it be within reason at all to let that person know of your history with being stalked for years and having to move? If that person could feed that to the rest of the group, you might gain some sympathy and they may have understanding of why unwanted attention is distressing to you. On the other hand, is this a group power play? With the whole group in on it, is it some sort of game they find amusing? And THAT may be the power play.

Make friends with others as you can. Take care. It will get better. Focus on the better part. I have some techniques for feeding your own power. If you're interested, contact me.

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Response to BanzaiBonnie (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 09:15 PM

10. you're probably quite right

 

about PTSD and a fear reaction. I'm sure to outsiders it seems like overreaction. But until you've lived the hell I was in, there is no way to imagine. The 3 years of harassment was 7x24x365. A gang hanging around the front door calling obscenities at me when I came and went, a video camera in his living room trained on my car, a mirror on a pole out his a/c duct aimed at my bedroom window, porn slipped under my door, and intermittent pounding on his floor/my bedroom ceiling all night/every night because I wouldn't have sex with him.

Anyway, my manager didn't talk to him, although she said she could talk to him or his supervisor if I wished. At the time, nothing was happening with him directly; my concern was the coworker who was not accepting 'no' and kept giving me sales pitches and trying to get me to date him. My manager carefully didn't address that in my meeting with her, but did speak the to individual in question. And then 2 weeks later, he approached another person, and then another tbo, with each feeding him information and using the info he already had to try to get me to date him. It was just juvenile - like a bunch of giggly 12-year-olds on a playground -- and creepy. That phase seems to have stopped, and then he started trying to 'bump into' me in the hall.

Twice now, however, he has shown up to mop the lab while I was there alone with the tech who told him to leave me alone. In both those cases, he has ignored me.

So it just may now be a matter of time...I hope, anyway.

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