We know it’s hard to go back to work after sexual harassment or assault but it is possible. Here are our tips to help you move beyond the past and create your future.
1. Although it is hard, accept what happened. No amount of wishing will take it away. It happened, and you have survived! That is your focus: you have survived! Now, express your emotions of through journaling, perhaps, or jogging, or kick boxing; whatever lets you “burn.” Then, when you are ready, you will find a place of calm. Your fire of anger and hurt will burn out and you’ll be ready to rise again, like the phoenix from the ashes. A counsellor or “safe someone” can help you in this process.
2. Don’t blame yourself. No matter what you think you might have done, the only guilty person is the offender. S/he made a choice to sexually harass you. You now have to make your choice: how you are going to deal with what happened? I’ve heard it said that the best revenge is a life well lived.
3. Put the past behind you. Try to focus on detaching from the trauma you experienced. Life is like a train: you can sit backwards, looking at what you’ve passed by, or you can choose a forward-facing seat and focus on what’s coming up. Take this time to discover what makes you you. You might decide to change jobs or careers, start a new hobby, or join a group of people who have similar interests to you. This is your time to create your best life.
4. Share what you’ve learned with others. Perhaps you can write a blog about what you have experienced and offer suggestions to others who might be going through workplace sexual harassment. Maybe you can start a support group, build a website for harassment victims, or volunteer with organizations that address sexual harassment. We promise: the more you share, the stronger you will be.
With thanks to so many writers in this vein, across Canada and around the World!