When I was 16, I worked at a well known burger chain and my manager sexually harassed me. He used to touch my ass when he walked past me and when I confronted him he’d tell me that it was because I was taking up too much room. He always tried to get me to come over to his house and would do it in front of other men that I worked with so that when I said no, I was given a hard time by all of them. I became increasingly nervous about going to work and one day, while it was just the two of us opening the shop together, I asked him for the keys to the front door so I could unlock it and he told me they were in his front pocket, and that I should come and get them. That was the day that I decided to quit my job there.
Being 16, I don’t think I really realised at the time that this was sexual harassment. When I eventually told my mother after quitting my job what had happened, she helped me write a complaint to the company. They told me that if I had made the complaint while I still worked there, they could have done something but as I had quit, they weren’t able to. I found out that they then promoted him so he was in an even greater position of power even though a complaint of that seriousness had been made against him. I wish I’d fought harder at the time but being shut down after complaining just made me run and hide and try to forget about it.
Now, years later, I can see that rape culture was prevalent in that company in a way that meant all the people involved in my complaint were complicit in supporting something that was completely wrong. I hope that if any of them read this post and recognise my story, that they are ashamed of what they did.