Workplace Sexual Harassment

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One of the first jobs I got upon graduation was at the headquarters of one of Singapore’s post-secondary education institutes. Sexual harrassment? Where do I even begin?! I remember at least 2 men at management level being rather vulgar in their behaviour. One of them lecherously ‘checked me out’ from head to toe as I was talking to him in the corridor, on my way to the pantry. There was no mistaking the look as it was deliberate, slow and sleazy! The other actually went all out to proposition me to have an affair with him! It was very difficult liaising with him on common projects because he was such a dirty old man and always managed to slip a filthy suggestion or two somewhere in the conversation.
 
Then there was the Eastern European colleague who was far less subtle. One evening, while we were having drinks after office hours with a couple of other male colleagues, he commented on my succulent and perky breasts and how he just wanted to sink his teeth right into them – complete with dramatisation and a growl (he was at his seat but snapped his teeth across the table in by direction)!
 
Another dirty old man who worked at reception suggested rather ‘innocently’ that we go out for lunch at some ‘cosy restaurant’ one day, ‘just you and I’. Mind you, he was what we would call a ‘religious man’, forever reprimanding students to dress decently and behave virtuously!
 
As a point of information, all of the above men are married and in their 40s or 50s.
 
The last straw came when I discovered that a colleague of mine was actually molesting some of my male students! I complained to my female manager, who said unless the students themselves complained, nothing could be done. The students were too afraid, of course, and I felt absolutely helpless. I pursued the matter and spoke to my department director as well, after sending him an email that such a thing was taking place. He said that they would look into it – my colleague was amicably verbally warned, and there was no investigation.
 
I quit! I was in my early twenties, had no idea what to do in the face of sexual harrassment and simply wondered if I was just much prettier and sexier than I thought and had to ‘watch out for that’ at work.
 
The last I heard, perpetrator still works there.
 
 
Home-maker, Mother of 2
Early 30s

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Your Stories...

  1. Butterfly

    May 13, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I have always been suspicious about my friend’s dad but I have no proof until last week. We went to her house after our Mother’s Day celebration in ECP. Her dad was at home, there were four of us who went over to shower as we’re going out shopping later.

    Her dad was showering at that moment so she hurried him up saying that we need to shower and we’re in a hurry. He went out of the toilet and told my friend to ask me to shower first. She sense something fishy so she ask my boyfriend who is also he cousin to shower first.

    My boyfriend is aware of his suspicions so he ransacked the whole toilet the moment he went in thinking that he might find any recording device but he found none. The moment he step out of the toilet his uncle rushed in saying that he needs to wash his dirty towel. So boyfriend just kept quiet and just change his clothes in front of the toilet. For 2-3 minutes there’s no gushing water sound so which means he didn’t wash any towel at all.

    My boyfriend went straight to me and warned me to put my clothes on while showering as he sense something amiss. I went in the toilet and ransacked the whole toilet again and I saw this device with a USB port sticking out,its warm and has got blue light beaming. I suspect it must be a camera so I covered the thing with soaps and shampoo bottles as I’m not sure where is the camera hole.

    Being precautious, I still showered with my clothes on. While showering I was thinking how can I get my hp in which is charging at that point of time coz I wanted to snap a picture of it as an evidence, so after showering I called out to my boyfriend and ask him to pass my handbag pretending to search for my contact lens.

    His uncle panickly went to the kitchen pretending to take something but actually he’s peeping on what my boyfriend is passing me. I just stay put at the door of the toilet coz I’ve still not gotten my hp. And luckily my phone rang so he pass me the hp as well. I answered the call in the bathroom and after the call,I recorded a video of the device and its surrounding. I stomped out of the bathroom after recording,feeling so disgusted by my friend’s dad doings.

    I told them what happened and my friend started crying in disbelieve that her own dad is doing such thing. We went to Sim Lim to check on what is the function of that device. The salesperson told us that if there a blue light means its recording.Later that night, her dad wants to meet us at ECP’s carpark to declare everything was just a misunderstanding and that the device is faulty.

    I mean like if its a misunderstanding,he should have clear things the moment I stepped out of the toilet. I am so pissed and I’m at loss. I have not tell my parents about it. I seriously need help in this matter as I do not want this to repeat.

  2. Don Smith

    October 4, 2010 at 12:34 am

    My name is Donald Smith and I am forty years old and I was a manager at a subway in Michigan.

    My story begins with the fact that I was not being professional at the work place, one of the female employees that I hired started to joke with me and horse play with me while at work and we even exchanged text messages while not at work which some included jokes and so on.

    The employee came into the office one day and started to rub my shoulders on one occasion, and on another she said she wanted a hug and proceeded to place her arms around me and hug me (which I felt uncomfortable with both these incidents, but I did not stop it) on a few other occasions she would come up behind me and jab her fingers into my side to tickle me. With all that said I sent her a text as a joke only as play stating “I want you” and the next just a couple seconds later said “LOL”.

    With all that said, I went on vacation and when I returned the general manager called and said that she needed to meet with me so we then met where she then informed me that I was fired for sexual harassment. I was not even given a chance to defend myself, how can they get away with this. I am in the process of fighting everything about this incident.

    I do admit that I am guilty of not being professional, but I am in no way a person who has ever or ever will sexually harass another person period.

  3. Conner

    October 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I think reputable business men who are on the board of various government agencies should behave themselves as well and not take advantages of their young secretariats who assist them during overseas business missions. They may appear friendly but are having indecent thoughts about you. Many a time even the bosses cant even protect their staff when the offender are of a higher position, eg. council member, chairman of business communities. and the thing is, we as lower level staffs cant even afford to offend them, not mentioning our bosses. In such situation when the offender is an influential person or even a business leader in the industry, How should we respond? They don’t have to verbally threaten just by knowing his identity is enough to weaken our standing.

    Shall i give up my career so as to cut off all connections with this fella? it really disturbs me to see him everywhere during important/large scale events.

    Shame on him to be flirting so openly.oh yeah…he had a bad reputation of his affair with his secretary. doesn’t he learn his lesson?

    Admin: comment has been edited to remove identifying information

  4. I'm finally putting this nightmare behind me

    October 19, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I came from an international background, received top education abroad before coming to work in Singapore. It was my first job after graduation, and I was very excited about it, until it all turned into nightmare in a year.

    Soon after I arrived in Singapore, I was very devoted to my job, working day and night, and voluntarily working over time most of the days. Soon I received recognition across the firm, and was one day invited to talk about work in private with a senior manager.

    Unfortunately, the conversation about work did not last long. He started saying that he has fallen in love with me, and tried to grope me and take me to some place. This disgusted me to the extreme extent. I was aware that he was married with children, and his wife gave up her career for his family.

    Since then I had been trying to avoid him, but he never gave up after being rejected by me from the first incident. He constantly tried to ask me out after work, and each time I had to fight with him in order to just go home after work. In the office, he often made inappropriate comments such as “your body is so hot, I can’t think”, and I was so disturbed that I could not wear professionally tailored clothes in office most of the time.

    After a while I decided I could not tolerate this anymore and went to my direct supervisor. However, she told me she could do nothing about it as the manager is too senior in the firm. I then started seeking legal counselling in Singapore, but some of the lawyers I approached seemed rather inexperienced, or even a little insensitive about sexual harassment cases. They simply asked me to “go to the police”, unless what I was interested was “getting some money”. Yet what I really needed was to end the harassment and be able to concentrate on my work, which I really enjoy if not for the incidents. I was not sure if going to the police directly is a good idea, as it would almost certainly adversely affect my career, given the publicity it might bring and the “small circle” nature of the industry I was in.

    I was in despair. I could not work in a place where my direct supervisor was unable to protect me from senior manager’s almost daily harassment. I was too disappointed in the firm and the system here, that I finally tendered my resignation, after many nights of insomnia and nightmares.

    However, even as I was prepared to let it go and leave this firm, the senior manager made it difficult enough for me to even exit the firm. Rumours that were detrimental to my reputation started to spread, and I heard that the senior manager was threatening to “destroy” my career. It was at this point of time I decided I needed to fight back.

    After the earlier disappointment with the legal counselling in Singapore, I tried to search for alternative resources. Although there are numerous resources for dealing with sexual harassment in the Europe/US, it is difficult to find organizations in Singapore that dedicate in this area. After some search online, I finally found AWARE organization and reached out to them. Fortunately, AWARE was willing to see me and gave me consultation on my case. They provided me with invaluable advices on dealing with the harassment case as well as different choices that I could make based on the final goal I wanted to achieve. In contrast to the previous legal counselling experience, they were very sympathetic about my situation, and was sensitive about my feeling and mental needs.

    After the initial meeting, besides frequent follow-up on my case, they also recommended me a lawyer who had previous successful experience in harassment cases, and helped me a great deal in taking on the firm. I have now left the firm, finally moving on and putting this nightmare behind me. Looking back, I have suffered a huge amount during my year working in this firm in Singapore, and things will be a lot worse if it were not for the help of AWARE. I sincerely thank AWARE for their great work. Meanwhile, I also hope Singapore law can progress towards more and more protection of victims’ right in terms of sexual harassment.

  5. Orchid stories

    November 26, 2011 at 1:02 am

    I attended church regularly because I loved Jesus Christ and believe that He is the Messiah for humanity.However, some christian men and pastors are strongly against women going into fashion , modelling and makeup. I saw makeup as simply a grooming tool but the church hates it and associates with prostitution and I was very sad. I never thought that modelling is a prositute job but a work of art, a decent business and like what Jesus Christ said, to the pure everything is pure. To the corrupt, everything is corrupt. I took a risk and shared with a brother in christ that I wish to become a model I evied the models in fashion magazine and often wondered where the rhetoric was to justify that modelling is a form of prostitution. If that is so, then our Prime Minister should outlaw such a business. That man called me a prostitute yet he himself was enamoured with the glamourous lifestyle of looking good and attractive and often dolles himself up alot, trying to be attractive.

    At work,I was in NIE-MOE and in MOE, they set a standard of dresscode that totally eliminates sexual innnuedoes. I was often picked by my HOD for dressing too tight and I asked my colleague one day if I was wearing too sexy. She turned around and showed me that she was wearing exactly the same body fitting top, not too tight but shows the natural contours of a woman’s body and told me that she was just picking on me.In MOE, you are to hide whatever feminine beauty you have to avoid a situation. That shirt was available in British India and majority of the Singaporeans would have own a piece of that popular piece and the whole world is probably also wearing it.

    Back in CHIJ St. Nicholas, we were not allowed to wear long hair and if you can’t tie it up tidily, you have to cut it. We were made to look as stripped off our sexuality as possible, with no knowledge of our feminine beauty, and just before we graduate after 10 years,the principal suddenly called for a crash course in social graces teaching us how to walk and wear makeup, only to be blamed for all sexual crimes when we walked out of school with a grooming course preparing us for the working world.

    What is wrong with Singapore?

    When I applied for SIA flight stewardesses, having had lifesaving experience and foreign languages with paper certification, I was denied the job based on some strange way of selection criteria. SQ practices age discrimination in subtle and sly ways and had been convering up for many years–gosh , there is so much to tell about SIA that had been covered up and swept under the carpet that it no longer is able to contain the avanlanche of injustices towards her staff.. They had skin check —what is the purpose of your skin in the airline job? To look good? Nay, they say it is to test your reaction towards such criteria, yes, but how can anyone be sure that they are tellng the truth and not secretly lying to you that they choose the most beautiful womenn for the job? Just go and take a look at the staff they have and compare them with the number of women who don’t have the job and see the pattern. Look at their advertisement alone and you can tell.

    Some of the selection practises alone are unreasonable and shameful to speak of publicly. Once you say you want to be a flight stewardess, people associate you with infidelity, glamourous sex, meeting pilots and businessmen… what do I care? I love travelling, I get a peace of mind on a job away from everybody and besided, I have more than what it takes to work as an airline staff and they give lame excuses that because I am in my thirties, I am too old. Or I might get married.

    They fortune tell your future for you and deny you a job because they know what will happen to your future and that your marriage will get in the way of your job. So how does British Airway justify this for their staff? Why is it that Singapore, being under the english law pays hyocrite to her own legal system? Born in the 70s, that generation of children were looking forward to a liberating system that promises a great future ahead with prosperity, happiness and what have you not pledged in our National anthem that we recite everyday in school. Yet, behind all these years of mindless chanting of the national anthem, just look at today’s Singapore and you can see that it was all lipservice and that the generation of today fell back to misery and with all certainity, it was one that is worse than our forefather’s and our parents’ time of seual and racial discrimination. What do you know, SIngapore did not progress after all because the people physically grew up but held on to old prejudices and horrors of horrors, brought the undesirable past into the children’s future and the children were stupid enought to make the same mistakes and made it worse this time round.

    Does SIA sound like sexual harrassment to you? Absolutely! Just follow this website about the definition of sexual harassment, like advertising Singapore Airlines with the Singapore Girl logo when no other airline does that. Yet, again and again , SQ denies insulting women. I am going to vomit with the gory details of SIA and maybe some other industries. Even AWARE herself abuses her own clients.

    Sure , by pushing the Singapore girl and giving confidence to the Singapore female is SQ’s intent, but look closely and see if she really does or is this merely a form of female oppression and humiliation? The women themselve even submit to this form of humiliation as the norm.

    Racism, sexism had been SIA’s glaring and open, most shameless publicity and outright outrage of Singaporean women and utmost atrocity beyond words and measure that she doesn’t even deserve to exist in the first place.

    What is worse, Boh Tong, an ex-flight steward conducting private lessons for SQ’s recruitment advised a yound male on how to have sex with a senior stewardess and he posted it online shamelessly. The stranger thing was that nobody cared enough to report BohTong. SQ’s managers often call her staff useless when the problem lies in them. They don’t see how useless they are and pay such low dirt money to people and the contractors siphon off the worker’s pay without SQ’s awareness, or maybe SIA knew about it all along but close one eye and ignored the plight of many staff. So everybody had been supporting a crooked airlnes for so many years and nobody cares because they don’t stand to lose anything.

    How many stories do I need to tell for people to see the truth of the situation that is robbing the very life of people.

    Think NUS, think the Chinese traditional family like mine, think the church, think the workplace, think the music industry and think even the bible of how it works against women,and you will be shock to find facts about men, yes, christian men using the name of God and Jesus to rape and harass women. What utter blasphemy. This post-war era that was meant to be built on proper foundations was all but a pretty picture or worse smoke. And I am sorry to say, men prefer women to be raped, because they get a mysogynnistic sexual satisfaction that simpky spells violence and hatred toward women. That explains the low fertility rate, because Singapore is a far cry from who She says she is. And the women are not any better despite all the education and religious feeding. It only made it worse and many fell because they place their confidence on the false premises of power control like racism and sadism for women they hate.

    It is all a form of mental illness that modern Singaporeans face. If is not so, I would not be still penniless as I am today after the day I graduated. What the heck, Jesus Christ said, He is no fool to lose what he cannot gain and gains what he cannot lose. If this world belongs to Satan and he has taken every life out of some unfortunate women, then I gladly lose all wordly things this world has to gain what Christ Jesus Himself can give and more abundantly than I can ever imagine. This world isn’t worth my love and attention/

  6. MRT

    December 17, 2011 at 1:08 am

    I was on my way home on the train during the evening peak hour. As usual, the train was extremely crowded then. I boarded the train at city hall interchange while transiting from the north-south line to the east-west line.

    The train was extremely crowded and there were people everywhere on the train. I wanted to have my own personal space on the train, thus I moved into the train, keeping away from the crowded exit/entrance doorway of the train.

    At first, I thought that being the peak hour period, it was normal to have people standing close to you. Therefore, I gave a man who was standing behind me the benefit of doubt. However, I began to suspect his motives when I realized there was something warm brushing against my butt then. From the corner of my eyes, I noticed the same man who was standing very close behind me. I felt very uncomfortable then and tried to move away from him. However, the train was too crowded for me to make any significant movement away from him.

    Then, I began to feel that the warm mass behind my butt was starting to harden. I realized that the man was rubbing against my butt for his sexual pleasure. I was so terrified then. I run out of the train when it finally reached my destination.

    However, to my horror, he actually followed me out of the train and down the escalator to the ticket gantry. He wanted me to follow him to somewhere else. All I could think was to get away from him and I firmly answered a ‘No’ to him while walking straight without looking at him. I was so relieved when I turned to see that he stopped following me when I was out of the train station then.

  7. Kelsie

    December 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Ever since I entered high school, a few guys have noticed my beauty and shyness and have tried to use that to their advantage. My first expirience was sophomore year in English by a guy named Marcus. He would often stand in front of or behind me and hump me and give me a nasty look. This gave me a sickening feeling in my gut, but it didn’t stop there. He began slapping my butt and groping me in class. He would corner me and ask me when we were going to have sex and my only reply was to look down and say “I don’t know”. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself. Every day he would tell me how sexy I looked and he was always wanting dirty pictures. He was obsessed with my butt and boobs. He’d always tell me to stand in front of him and turn around so he and his friends could admire my butt. One day, he sent me a text in class that said “When are you going to let me and Jake do dirty things to you? ;)”. Later he texted me again and said “Meet me out in the hall so i can see your nice titties.” he was eager to see them and practically begged me to see them, but I didn’t let that happen.
    Later that year, a young man found me on Facebook and began sending me messages. I talked with him for a while until he began talking to me inappropriately. He said things like “I wanna eat you out and walk my tongue all over that p*ssy” and “I wanna f*ck you so hard that you won’t be able to walk anymore”. It got much worse so I finally decided to unfriend him.
    I play volleyball for my school, which means I wear spandex.. so many guys have told me that I have the nicest a** they had ever seen and they love it when I jump up and down or bend over. Believe me, almost every guy I talked to after a game gave some input about that.
    These two freshman met me my senior year (by playing volleyball of course) and they seemed so sweet and innocent when I talked to them in person. But they later told my best friend what they really thought about me.. They said I had the nicest a** and boobs they had ever seen, how badly they wanted to f*ck me, how good they thought I’d be in bed, etc. A few months later we had our first home basketball game which meant everyone came. I somehow ended up next to those two freshman in the student section. The whole game they were telling me how fine I was and what they wanted to do to me. They would slap my a** literally every 5 minutes and they’d stand over me so they could see down my shirt. After the game ended, I walked to my car. On the way there I ran into Jacob (one of the freshman). He put his arm around me and told me that he would be glad to change my “virgin” status, as he ran his fingers through my hair and kissed me on the cheek. I pushed him away and ran to my car and left.

    This isn’t all I have encountered at high school, but I guess I just needed to get that out. Thank you for listening. God Bless.

  8. Beware of wolves lurking in sheep's clothing - it could even be your respectable, retired, elderly, friendly, seemingly benign neighbour

    January 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    During the ongoing privatisation exercise of the estate I live in, I had gone to the estate office to ask them about the process. A fellow resident on the privatisation committee who lived in the next block who was in the office was kind enough to answer my questions.

    I had never met him before until then – wholly plausible since it’s a large estate and one can certainly go for months without bumping into certain neighbours even in one’s own block.

    I also asked if I could have his number so my sister who is co-owner of the flat and was out of the country at the time could speak with him when she got back. He then asked for my mobile number which I was happy to give.

    A few days later, he rang me on my landline, which he said he had obtained from the office.

    I was slightly taken aback as I don’t have a habit of giving out my landline number, certainly to strangers, only my mobile where I have caller ID and do not pick up numbers I do not recognise. Then several times afterwards, he rang me, again on my landline number even after I pointedly mentioned to call me on my mobile on the mobile, to press me for lunch. I tried to turn him down, telling him it was unnecessary, he needn’t be so “hak hay” in Cantonese or “kare kee” to Hokkien speakers. I finally accepted as at the time, I thought, it would have been ungracious to someone who just seemed to be trying to be a “good neighbour” as he put it himself.

    I happen to have very close family friends whom I refer to as my unofficial Godparents and live in the same block as he. I mentioned him to my Godmother during the course of one of our conversations we have at least two or three times a week, whether on the phone or when I pop over to their place. She said she and Godpa were acquainted with him and his family, told me his basic background: He was their age in his 60s, married late, ex-uniformed force officer of high rank, wife from a North Asian country, children in their 20s, and was “very nice”.

    My Godmother is very cynical, having had a full-time career in education and prides herself on being more worldly than women of her generation who’ve never worked and a good judge of character, but after what happened, the moral of the story is: You never know what wolves lurk beneath sheep’s clothing.

    During the lunch, which I assumed his wife would be there but wasn’t, he talked about matters unrelated to privatisation. While in the car on the way to a nearby restaurant in our local area, I specifically asked him where his wife and children were. He muttered something vague that “they were still fast asleep with a bad habit of staying up late on the computer playing games”. I thought to myself at that moment “what an odd thing to say about his wife or for a grown woman to do”. I did not press at that point but I was going to let that go as that became the second red flag (my internal warning or intuition) for me after he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer to lunch. I will be pleasant and polite but I’m already on guard.

    It became clear during lunch he was side-stepping questions about his wife. The second time I asked about his wife he said vaguely that she was a music and language tutor and once or twice a year she would visit her home country during our local school holidays. It was December and he implied she was away but as it turned out as I coaxed more information out of him, she wasn’t – Red Flag 3.

    Red Flag 4 – Then he divulged something very personal and inappropriate to be saying to someone he had just met (me): He said he regretted rushing into marriage because of a “language issue” and they weren’t able to have “meaningful conversations”. I responded vaguely in non-committal, non-specific agreement, said something generic about “first marriages in your youth are like that”, shared some bare facts about mine to be polite and changed the subject.

    Red Flag 5: He went on to ask if I would like to go out to a movie with him at the new cinema in our area.

    Red Flag 6: Then he even asked me if I would like to go to Bintan or Bali in the next few days – with him on his own, it was clearly implied – before I went to pick up my daughter after her holidays with my parents.

    I was too shell-shocked and flabbergasted by such an outrageous offer to respond. He actually took my silence for a “yes”.

    That hairs-standing-on-end feeling never left me until the next day when I rang him to tell him how uncomfortable I was.

    He apologised profusely but actually asked what I would be comfortable with. Again, he had somehow managed to catch me off guard because you don’t expect someone to be so persistent or blatant. My mistake was that being the polite human I am, I automatically answered, “Meals are fine in the context of being neighbours”.

    I thought that would be the last I would hear from him.

    Two nights later at dinner time, he rang again! He wanted to ask me out to dinner, said he “missed [my] presence”. When I said I was already having dinner – yes, my own annoying habit of being indirect again, which I need to learn to adapt more quickly according to circumstances – he tried to convince me to have breakfast with him the next day.

    After that, I decided he had gone past my need for basic politeness and civility. Any verbal engagement towards someone like that was still somehow being misread and actually taken for encouragement. I texted him to please remove BOTH my numbers from his phone.

    He didn’t call again. It’s been just one week since that last disturbing phone call. This morning when I went in to hand in my complaint about the office sharing of numbers between residents and what happened with this person. Unfortunately, he was there.

    He made an elaborate show of one part of the story but left out what he did of course. I asked him if he wanted me to cause a public scene there. Not wanting to be intimidated and feeling unprepared for a public confrontation since it could quickly go wrong, I left but returned half an hour later after I had made sure he was gone.

    The female office supervisors seemed sympathetic but as my Godmother put it, it could get nasty and facts could get twisted beyond recognition and held against me, for the simple fact I am socially more vulnerable than someone like him, being a single woman with a child living on our own, certainly in Singapore where I’ve personally experienced some very backward and stereotypical ideas that belong to last century.

    I’m not sure what will happen next but I will not be bullied by anyone into keeping silent. I’m well aware that you can’t control social attitudes or what people want to think or presume but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

    Beware of wolves lurking in sheep’s clothing – it could even be your respectable, retired, elderly, friendly, seemingly benign neighbour.

  9. Addendum to "wolves in sheep's clothing"

    January 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I’m the person who wrote “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. Some of the other stories here are rather disturbing for the women’s own attitudes about themselves as women. Just because a woman is half-way attractive is never ANY kind of a reason for men to think she is a sex object and therefore “asking for it” from men, whether the man is a contemporary, boss, or old enough to be your father or even grandfather.

    No woman “asks” for unreciprocated attention or be molested. A woman doesn’t have to be physically touched to be MOLESTED. You can also be assaulted with veiled words, lewd remarks and even looks. Please get that right and please correct any person – male or female – you come across in life for making that sickening assumption.

    It’s almost as backward as the views in some Arab countries where a woman has to be imprisoned in her own daily life by being covered from head to toe in a burkha because she alone is responsible for all MEN who have to be assumed to be animals who can’t keep their appendages in their pants.

  10. It can't happen in Singapore

    February 8, 2012 at 1:13 am

    After having finally landed a job that I have desperately searched for in many months. I was eager to learn the new roles & settle into the company. However I was uncomfortable with the behaviors of some men whom other female colleagues have warned me about. These men were above 40s, married & have daughters of their own. They are old dogs that know their tricks well, such that it’s always in the disguise of “an opportunity to learn” “for the sake of team bonding” etc.

    Gradually I grown to like the job hence put in my best efforts. However the sexual harassment that I couldn’t overcome was being touched. I hated it. Initially I wonder if it was an accident but it happened again. The pressure applied by that PAIR of hands wasn’t right, & in one incident, he was staring right into my eyes checking for my reactions. My last straw came went he took advantage of my work position to peek into my blouse at my breasts… he was getting bolder & I sought the help of my female colleagues who approached him but he remained impudent, not even denying or defending his actions.

    Naively thinking that it was an American company which emphasized on a strong ethical code of conduct. I approached the HR dept who promised to look into it but the final conclusion was lightly put off as simply a case of difference of tolerance in intimacy. I was warned not to tell anyone about it & was told that similar instruction had been passed down to every single person who were involved in the investigation. Resentment welled up & I made a scene in the office yelling out all his misconducts & was severely reprimanded with a warning letter & also told to go to the police if I want to.

    At the police station, I was told that there is no sexual harassment law in Singapore so the police are unable to do anything about it. The only way was to bring the case to court under outrage of modesty. The lawyers told me to give up, forget about it & carry on with my life. I called AWARE & was told that nothing much can be done due to the laws in Singapore. On second thoughts, I realized that I may risk not ever getting a job in Singapore, if I take it to court. Reason being I was touched not on the sensitive female’s sexual parts such as the breasts.

    What broke me was the reactions I got from other people. Everyone at work started to either avoid me or gave me dirty looks. Everyone was friendly with the molester. They took his side. He has been working hard after the incident to get into everyone favors. My superior started telling me that its unavoidable because I am pretty & I got to learn to accept attentions from men, one colleague told me that there are not much pretty girls in the office so its unavoidable that I get the attention & I should have learn to handle men using the “soft approach”. Others were just plain mean & started to isolate me. I tried to be strong but it got so bad that I had to resign.

    What kills me was how much in denial many Singaporeans are. I got remarks such that the modern society is just more touchy nowadays, one advised me to take a big shawl & wrapped myself up with it at work. Some attacked me by questioning about my dress code, or making statements that if I want respect then I should change industry or just stay at home & don’t work. Some said that I shouldn’t be so uptight & should have played along with the men. Some even challenged me questioning why they do not have such problems in their working life.

    I doubt there are going to a lot of people reading this story & even more will deny that such things will happen in Singapore. But I know that someone out there who is experiencing the same thing will be searching furiously online for more information about sexual harassment hence chancing upon this site… if you are… please remain mentally strong & never succumb to the pressure that “because they are men so can’t help behaving this way & you as a woman should be understanding about it”

    Furthermore, please re-look at the situation such that are you in any way “working harder” / “threatening”/ “outshining” the man’s position at work. Because men do use sexual harassment as a weapon to undermine a woman in order to feel “powerful”. So it’s not your looks or your dressing or your conduct… it’s the insecurities of a despicable loser. & that was it for my case, as the man was holding the same position/ rank as me in the same department.

  11. headhunter

    March 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Civility is not something that you can learn off of lectures or books, however. It’s all about compromising, of learning to accept the differences between you and your boss or your colleagues (even your clients).

  12. Civil Claims Against the Employer?

    April 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I brought upon myself an unlawful dismissal by my employer due to the fact of my forthright stupidity truth?

    “An employer who claim it’s duty to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees?” What an ironic statement and a hypocrite, where he can easily destroy mine?

    I am ensure whether I am a sexual harassment victim but I experience a range of emotions, including confusion, insulting, humiliation, fear and anger. Basically, this caused an insult to me, an insult as a woman’s dignity and rights.

    I wonder is there a law stand? Where Law actually acts for the Rich and cover their sins and deeds. Whichever lawyer actually so great to act for free just because of justice? Who can I recovered my fairness and reinstated my dignity? I wonder that victims like me have any recourse just due to the fact that we timid typical Singaporean who have no money, energy to fight and go against the perpetrator who has the reputation, power, authority and most important of all money? A cunning sick old Australian man. Who’s the real wolf in sheep’s clothing? A foreigner who came to bully a local woman which government encouraged?

    He’s the CEO of the company. I can’t do anything. I offended him. There’s has been all along lot of emails from him to me since year 2010. I have kept them. It seems that he been carry a torch for me. All along, I have been unclear about my discomfort until recently it became obvious. He asked me out for dinners. Red Packets with money were given to me frequently. To me it’s a norm as I heard that he has been giving that to his PA. A couple time of times and one day, he verbally told me he’s serious to take me as his Chinese wife. After I rejected him and I kept on ignoring his email. Still he suggested to his PA/CPO who also oversee human resource overall, asking me over to be corporate executive assistant, to assist him and her. On impulse, I told this PA who also act as an accomplice that he is not that purely like about my capability but more than that.

    This woman who was a vicious and bad-hearted person which I never expect that she will report to him where in the first place that I am stupidity to believe that all are women who will feel in my shoe which she did not. I was silly.

    The CEO got angry and not so sure of his state of mind, in the act to cover his ass, he then actually wrote me a nasty email, saying that he’s only teasing me all along, insult me in a way saying I was immature and materialistic and he just wondered how low I would stoop to .Closing the email, saying that I should seriously see a psychiatric counseling. After then, things do not close off that easily.

    His PA wanted to transfer me to Corporate Communication (Corp Comm) , another department which I don’t wish to as this department is indirectly reporting under her as well. I would rather stay with my current boss. My boss got to see those emails before. A few as one day this year, I brought to his attention, he believed me as I have been working for him for closed to 5 years. But, ultimately individual rice bowl does matters. I don’t expect him to voice out. He’s helpless. Besides, who dared to voice against the CEO? Two colleagues of mine actually saw those emails too as I brought to their attention. Logically, nobody is willing to testify for me. They will afraid to get involved especially he’s the CEO. I also have my own reason for not transferring to Corp Comm as there was one girl previously who offended them as well got transfer to Corp Comm too. After a few months, she was being cessation of service. When I refused to transfer. This PA/CPO got agitated said she will close this option. They forced me to resign which I don’t want to as I have been with the company for 9 years of service just because he’s the CEO of the company? I have to lose my job at the age of mid 30?

    I was being terminated. I never forget the day where I was forced to leave. With 2 Human Resource managers where they have no gut authorities. Where’s the HR/grievance procedures? All rubbishes. All they just hear and act for the PA/CPO of the CEO.

    When I see the letter, I got upset and told that I don’t deserve that less since I been with the company for 9 years of service. I did nothing wrong. I remembered vividly that particular day. This PA/CPO insulted me saying ” So ? You expected windfall! ” in the face of me where this 2 HR managers were there.

    I can’t actually believe that this women can boldly insult me where even see my documented evidence (emails) against the CEO, can boldly start to question my work performance, justified my behavior and humiliated me.

    I can’t actually accept the fact when I leave that day, the perpetrator can boldly confronted and threatened me that I am the one who blew myself up for bringing this up to his PA. He can swear that he will bring his wife to the police if I dared to blew up the matter and testify against him. He’s crazy for all I knew that he has the money to twist and turn his words against me by suing me all the way if ever.

    I am lost. Should I choose to Let Go, Let God?

  13. P

    August 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I have been experiencing sexual harassment at an office over 10 months and was recently terminated without any specific clear explanation and wondering it might be related with this case… The harassments were horrible and I lost my confidence. I was doing sectary job and told many time that I was not qualified as a sectary because I can’t make coffee properly or I couldn’t read through one of the executives mood to entertain his feelings. Another time I was told that I have got really nice figure after he has checked my body out, also I was grabbed by my arm. (It happened inside his room, there were no one but us.
    I have told about it to one of senior colleagues but he didn’t take any action for it and all of a sudden they terminated me at work. When they terminated me I tried to speak with him regards to this matter, however, he didn’t give me any chance. I was told about the termination around 11AM and had to pack my things and leave the office by 1PM. I couldn’t even say good bye to colleagues and really worries that they might think I have done something wrong.
    I don’t want to just cry about it, because when I first got a job in Singapore I had experienced sexual harassment before and did not do anything about it… I truly regret this and every time I get sexual harassment I blame myself. I feel that because of me those bad things are happening….I want to prove to them and myself that these things are not acceptable and I want to have my confidence back. I am a nice person and how they treated me was wrong…
    I have been cheeking about what to do but I still do not know how to fight against them.
    Does anyone know any idea about this issue? Also I would like to talk to people who had experienced sexual harassment, I would like to know how they solve this problem, legally and emotionally.

  14. Single Woman in 40's

    October 27, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I began working for a paralegal office in September of 2012. I was working in the sales department at the time. A week into the job, I was in the elevator with several other employees. A fellow sales associate, a well-dressed 59 year old married man, was standing in front of me. This man was the top sales associate and often greeted female employees as “Hey baby.” For no apparent reason this guy leaned back until his upper torso was pressed against my breasts. I recalled being shocked and muttered “what am I a back rest?” He laughted and so did everyone in elevator. I was very embarrassed.

    A short time later, I was transferred over to this man’s team. As the guy had been promoted to manager at that time. He always greeted me a “baby.” One day my car was towed from my street, and I had to call this guy to say I’d be late. He said “that’s fine but you owe me.” That comment made me uncomfortable just as the “back rest or I should say boob rest” incident. Later that evening I sent a text to him regarding the “you owe me” comment. We got on the subject of my artwork and he asked me to send a sample. I was dumb enough to fall for this line. I sent an “Al Pacino” drawing I was quite proud of. The guy said “that’s real nice sweetie, how’s about doing one of me?” I texted back jokingly “that is you LOL.” Because he was from New York and kind of sounded and looked like the actor. My boss then texed “That’s good but I want to see one of you!” I replied “Not gonna happen.” He said “k.” I then went on to say how offended I was and that he was married. He apologized but it did not sound sincere.

    That same week we had a team meeting and my boss sat next to me. He kept glancing sideways at me in front. Then for now reason, he suddenly pushed his chair away from me making me very uncomfortable.

    Later that same night, I was crossing the parking lot at work and he speeded by me in his Mercedes and waved to me out of the sunroof.

    To make matters worse, after I files a sexual harassment case and the whole office was gossiping and I felt like everyone was talking about me.

    I transferred to a new department, but many of the people there knew this man well and they gossiped about it constantly. Rumors and lies were spread. I finally quit because the work environment was intolerable!

  15. sudden touching...

    November 9, 2012 at 2:16 am

    The guy in his late 20s commented on my hairstyle when I first came to the office on Monday morning.

    “Y, you look pretty today!”, he said. I thanked him for his comment.
    I always love wearing polo t-shirt and denmin skirt daily. I just changed my hairstyle because there would be an important wedding day in November.

    Few hours later, he came to my desk and we talked about accounts work. He stood just besides me. I remembered seeing colleagues focus on their computer screens and few just went out.

    Suddenly, he reached his left hand out and squeezed my right breast twice. I was stunned and didn’t know how I should react next.

    He commented that it was big and nice. Then he walked away. I didn’t know what to do, but sat there and tried to focus on the screen. My mind was blank for while.

    I decided to tell him through online chat.

    “F, did you know what you did to me just now?”, I asked.

    He said yes. I was curious to ask why he did it and what I had done to lead him on. He explained that we always had dirty chat before. I think it was about that, but I never, never expected that he would touch me that way without consent!

    On the same day, after lunch, I usually collect letters from the office mailbox. But that day was something horrible that I might not forget for my rest of my life.

    F followed me behind. I was not aware. While I sorted the letters, I suddenly felt that he squeezed my right breast again from my back!

    I was shocked. I looked at him with my frown eyebrows. He grinned
    at me. Luckily, other lady walked in to collect her letters. He stopped it.

    I walked up the stairs to 2nd level. I thought I could trust F not to play anymore. I kept a short distance away from him. When we were about to reach 2nd level, he groped my ass with his 2 hands. I could feel it! So disgusting… I turned back to him. Before I could say anything, he hugged me from behind!

    Again, he squeezed my right breast! I tried to stop him. His gential area pressed against my buttocks!

    His face was too close to me. It created accidental pure kissing. I tried to get free, but he wanted me to touch his gential area and I did despite of my unwanted feeling.

    I finally got myself free from him and warned him that I would report to the management board if it got out of hand.

    We stopped there and went back to the office.

    When I sat at my desk, I was embroiled with mixed emotional feelings such as guilt, ashamed, anger. I could not focus on the work.

    Towards the end of the working day, he came to me again and smiled at me. But I was unprofessional in that manner that I used my finger to poke at his gential area. He didn’t react anything. I decided to stop there. I just wanted to get back at him to taste how I felt in that whole episode. But he didn’t get angry or anything.

    On the following day, F sent me the threat message – “…I know you like sex…please stop lying!…”

    I was totally stunned and speechless at his rude remark. I was silent for whole day. I felt so ashamed at the whole episode. I asked myself, “Why did he successfully touch me without consent?! And, I could not do anything back at him!”

    So I was frustrated and wrestled with it. After few days, I finally confided in my colleague who is in higher post. She thought that it was a serious matter and informed our boss directly.

    Our boss took the immediate action to terminate him from his job and gave me long leave to overcome this above incident.

    His reason for that termination action was to protect other female colleagues in the office. Before me, F’s actions of playing with female ex-colleagues were obvious to our boss and colleagues.

    Till now, I don’t know whether it is sexual harassment or sudden molest because I am aware of no witness or evidence to pit against him.

    Please share with me if you can help. Thank you.

  16. Mark

    January 25, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Sorry ladies,i know sometime man act in stupid manner but i advise you to warn them in thier first attempts.i am also a man.warn them seriously ,so that they will respect your body parts.wish you the best.

  17. baise anal

    May 12, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the good
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  18. Elisa

    August 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    My advice is to avoid sexual harrassment suits. They seem to more often cause trouble to the claimant than is worthwhile. Better to leave the company as soon as possible.

    These men are truly pathetic. Often i think it is at least as much to do with power than perverse sexual gratification.

    With me it was all power related. I was targeted because i had the folly to have a chip on my shoulder towards sexually aggressive men. This led to my being socially blind to work environments prone to be hostile towards women, such as a lab with several males and no femles (for decades apparently).

    My supervisor – a man with a weak ego- made a cheap joke that i was a prostitute ( being the onky female there). This was like being hit – it had a similar impact of outright viokence. Since, easy as it was to make such a joke, it was all the more of an attack BECAUSE i was the only female and this man, our supervisor was hereby giving the green light for me to now be fair game. ….to add to the picture of this person as a sleazy cunning type, he also was the Sexual Harrassment Officer at this company. A big pharmaceutical manufacturing company iin Australia, that is. When i complained, and hindight would have seen me go to his superior – but when i complained to him, trying to be unconfrontational but firm, he made the comment: “I’ve only ever had one of these before, but that was for an actual physical thing…”. – implying that essentially i was to expect no assistance for any verbal form of sexual harrassment. I should ignore any such comments, pretend that they were not threatening or intimidating, and in ignoring these threats, wait till it escalated to molestation or even rape.

    Not long after, one of my colleagues started seeking me out when i was on my own and making innapropriate comments of a sexual nature that were deliberately intended to intimidate me, whilst also having no witnesses. He got off on the power trip and far from quitting, only was spurred on when he got a reaction. A predatory creep, and a weakling with no guts. This happened every day for at least a month.

    Then i got fired because i was so stressed out i avoided going back to work during lunch.

    Both of these complete piles of shit kept their jobs, whilst i copped their nasty hatred and got left dealing with anxiety.
    Th

    The workplace had

  19. amy

    September 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    I also have experienced harassment at work. The guy made it out like he fancied me,it all seemed innocent, i mean I’m innocent i am a bit of a shy girl. But always get told how pretty i am. Esp at my office department is large and full of mostly men and older women. Until 13 months onwards in this job things were fine in my job…until this guy started to express interest in me, he is older than myself and I thought it is genuine. We had always said hello and we continued to even after he started expressing interest. Because i have been polite and friendly to everyone were i work he and others saw me as a push over. He was doing all sorts to get my attention however like always parking his car next to mines, showing me that is his sporty car, being places were i tend to go, staff room, standing around in places i walk past, trying to get me to engage in conversations with him and his colleagues. I admit i did show a bit of interest but it was very little and innocent. Half the time i was ignoring him, i learnt that he had been bragging to others about me..as i came see the body language of other men…which i disliked.obvsly the things he said could have not been good and must have been disrespectful. He even came to my office and hovered around me for 2 weeks…a colleague made a comment.and said his a player…and that when i realised his been talking rubbish about me. After that i decided to keep away and ignore him.or just say hello but if he tries to talk i would not bother. Anyway im guessing he had bragged so much and the he could not get me that he was embarassed i was not responding to him. Even after this he tried to get reactions a few times…he even started hiding and watching me…i looked around to see as i knew he was watching. And that was it…the rumours spread about me in the whole department…i had men leering, whistling, it was making me sick…so i ignored it for a bit and than decided he needs to be reported. And i did and it did stop everything…but everyone started to ignore me and be funny around me…so ignored them back. People only knew what he had said…so i decided to tell an external big mouth who thought i trust her of what he had actually been doing and the dog chase he did to try and get me and how the rejection got to him because he had been bragging.since then the guys been hiding from me its so obvs as i saw him after the complaint but since i have put out that he did the dog chase….and acted below his age he has avoided bumping into me. However i am still not at peace..people i work with, as some of them did try aswel but i told them off with a warning. The other i exposed via the big mouth colleague…and called him a reject because he was making advances at me and as i was not responding he started bitching behind my back and steering things but so sweet to my face. People at work have started to forget about it but its still going to be at the back of my head…and still does bother me. I am now looking for another job so i can leave this hell of a place and be at peace. Before i had the option of moving up in my career now i do not have that were i work as he ruined it. It so surprising how when 1 man talks rubbish and the rest know your not that type of girl how they all join in…its sick..i had days of depression and crying.. Luckly i did not suffer physical sexual harassment like some of the poor women above.

  20. Jesse

    November 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Well first off, I’m 22. I’ve never really had too many problems with lecherous men. I have some of my co-workers snapchat names so I can send funny pics outside work. Most of them are girls my age but there’s one guy who I now know was a mistake to add. For anybody who doesn’t know what snapchat is, it’s an app that allows you to take a video or picture for 10 seconds or less. I usually snap pics of funny faces to my friends. Anyways, I got a really dirty snap of…well I’m sure I don’t need to say it. I thought he had quit because I hadn’t seen him at work for a while. I’m 22 and he’s around 40. It’s really wrong. I just saw him at work today and he waved at me. I’m truthfully kind of terrified. I deleted his number and banned him from snapchat, but now I have no idea what to do without notifying him that I talked to somebody. Also you can see who opened your snapchat, so I know he’s seen that I saw the pic. I would appreciate ANY help or feedback. I’m really nice and cordial, I hate confrontations so in this situation I’m at a loss.

  21. bridget

    November 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Nov.14, 2014 i had got done of my duty and ask my boss could i go. He said lets do a walk through to see if i done my job well when we came to my lunchmeat cooler he walk in with me following and he didnt look what i done he turned around and touched and rub my privent and wonted to go into my pants i said no to him. I told and i got ask did i have witness to this of course not we were alone. So as it was investgated. He waa suppost to be at another store. Well it didnt work that way they said they got a starement from the meatdepartment saying he didnt do it. Im thinki.g to my self how can that be when it was just me and my boss and just two co- workers in the meat department. As i say this im the only girl working that day. I dont go to work to make friends i go to work. I feel i wasted my time and how i felt because of the way i got treated from every one who i work with i was told that i have three choices 1)quit2)work unconfortly3)move to anther store you tell me how i suppost to react and feel. Im mad, angrey, sad, depressed, asking my self why, and not understanding any of this.

  22. babbydoll

    December 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    My teacher who is over 40 is extremely flirty with me, it stared of with the casual tease saying that I am dopy but just recently he has become really touchy. He playfully punches me, holds the side of my face, he walks really close to meand steps on my toes so I can’t move away and just looks at me, he has started slapping and touching my bum and just the oyher day I was walking out of the class room and he grabbed me around my stomach and pulled me into him with my bum resting on his crouch he hugged me I think. I have never had serious relationship before andam told I’m un atractive a lot so as wrong as it is I like it but jnow it is wrong, he is the principles husbane. I have just gone on holiday and am going into my last year of schooling next year, I will still be spending a lot of time with him next year as I am a school leader and he is headof the student council. I have no clue what to do as I are for himand don’t him to lose his job or his wife if it was any one would believe me but am afraid that it might go further as I am turning eighteen and finnish school.