I Reported Sexual Harassment and Was Betrayed: A Letter to My Former Boss


Dear Ex-Boss, Mentor, Friend:

I’m sure you’re surprised to hear from me. While I could say that I’m surprised to be writing, I guess that wouldn’t be the truth.

As you can probably surmise thanks to pervasive gossip mills, I have had a rough few years since we last spoke or saw each other. After enduring what was a horrible experience at our place of employment, I then endured the betrayal of my husband and ensuing gaslighting until it came to light that he’d been having an affair for nearly a year with a woman from work. But this letter isn’t about that.

I’m writing to you to express my sincere sadness and disappointment in the way our relationship ended. You see, I really looked to you not only as a boss, but also as a friend and, most importantly, a mentor.

I still remember how excited I was when you first reached out to me after our meeting at the conference. I couldn’t wait to join your team and work with you. A place I anticipated I’d spend a good portion of my career with people I respected.

A year into our work together, I came to you with a serious and real allegation of mistreatment. A report of a man who not only made lude and inappropriate comments to me in my work environment but also, by his own admission, was “stalking” me on social media (his words, not mine – I have the screenshots of his words to me as evidence). I came to you for help and protection. Not only for myself but for others in the community.

Instead of offering me help, support, and protection, I was met with deceit and, ultimately, betrayal of my anonymity. Imagine if your daughter had been sexually harassed and she took the strength to report it. Then imagine if that report, which took strength and courage to submit, had been shared with her peers without her consent. How do you think this would make her feel? Better? Supported? Or further victimized and vulnerable? How do you think she would feel if the person she reported this to was a friend and mentor? Do you think this would encourage her to report something of this nature again? Or do you think this would dissuade her from doing so? I’m pretty sure you know the answer to these questions.

Unfortunately for me, I had shared with you that I was sexually assaulted in college. This was, in fact, used against me throughout the “investigation” into my allegations. “I understand you’re taking this a little harder than most due to your history.” You know what? That may be true but not for the reasons you and the administration may believe. What made it harder was the fact that even more than a decade after I reported my assault, I was met with the same gaslighting and stonewalling, and silencing. What made it harder was the fact that I now had a baby girl. The fact that nothing seemed to have changed with regard to sexual misconduct reports was all the more terrifying and enraging.

I think you get the point. What happened is deeply unacceptable and I know you would want better for women, your own daughter, my daughter, if (god forbid) they should ever have to report any sort of sexual misconduct. I know you’re better than that.

We had really good times. I valued our work together, our friendship. When I left, I not only left a job that I loved but also a group of people I had faith in that ultimately failed me; looked at me as though I was at fault for something that was in no way, shape, or form my fault; thought the worst of me (that I would go to the press?!) when all I wanted was to do the right thing for myself and for the sake of the community. This was a deeply troubling and traumatic experience that has left an indelible mark on my soul.

Of course, my non-disclosure agreement with our place of employment (which is disgusting in and of itself) prevents me from sharing this publicly. And the silencing of women continues. Why did I agree to this condition of silencing? Because the only way I could feel safe and walk away with the pay that I deserved was to do so. What perverted world are we living in?

Do I regret reporting the continual sexual harassment and stalking that happened? Absolutely not. Would I encourage my own daughter to report the same? Without a shadow of a doubt. But my hope would be that she would never have to endure the revictimization, the added trauma of silencing and betrayal. We can do better. We must do better.

My name might be omitted, but I will not silence my voice.


A Woman on a Mission


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