At a previous job in 2014, there was a trio of women that I witnessed taunting and disrespecting a temporary employee because he supposedly had been constantly staring at them. The ring leader tried to encourage me to join in by telling me that he was staring at me as well. I never witnessed him doing any of the things to them that they had accused him of doing but I witnessed them doing those things to him.
He never bothered anyone and was very grateful to have that job because his wife had been the sole provider for their family while he looked for work. I came to work one morning and was introduced to the temporary employee replacement. He lost his job because of the lies they told on him. I immediately went to management and reported what I had witnessed and also told how the one employee tried to encourage me to join in with the taunting of that employee, I then became a target and they started spreading rumors about me professionally as well as personally and trying to make trouble with and for me. After I got fed up with what I was experiencing, I went directly to the vice president of administration and reported how I had been treated since reporting what I witnessed. I also reported that I witnessed the ring leader taunting another coworker who had quit because of the bullying. Even though I didn’t like being made the target of workplace bullying I would do it all over again if faced with the same situation.
The “Me Too” movement is currently in effect because there were men and women afraid to speak up when something that made them feel disrespected or uncomfortable had been done to them. They were either too afraid to lose a job, become an outcast or afraid to stand up to someone who was very powerful and could make their lives uncomfortable.
In the department I worked in no one spoke up for this man and I felt bad for not saying anything sooner. I know that it’s easier to go along to get along but we have to start using our voices to speak on injustices, even if we have to stand alone.
About the Author - Athalia Strickland is launching a start up that's aimed at empowering, inspiring and uplifting women hoping that they will do the same for other women. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram at VEEMAPLACE