I love your column Whisper and I hope by sharing my story, perhaps some young girl out there will learn from my mistakes and maybe save herself from evil.
This happened 3 years ago when I was a fresh graduate. I had followed a group of classmates and relocated myself to the big city upon graduation. On the hindsight, I wasn’t ready to move away. I’m very close to my family. I have wonderful parents, an irritating but adorable younger brother and our cute family cat. I love living at home.
Being a graduate, I felt I need to change my lifestyle, be brave and take a step out of my comfort zone. So I moved 3 hours away from the little town I called my home. I was sharing an apartment with the group of my classmates, we all chipped in for the rent. I was lucky. I got hired by a media advertising company almost right away. It was the second job I applied and was called for an interview the next day.
During the interview, as far as I can remember, the HR was nervous about my questions on the future of the company or my benefits. I didn’t even get to talk to my manager but he did take a quick glance at me.
There and then, I was hired straightaway after the short interview. I was inexperienced and not to notice the weirdness of the whole setup. My job is to be the editorial team assistant and my scope basically does whatever anyone on the team tells me to do. Buying lunches, getting coffee, filing tasks even mopping the floor at one point when the cleaning lady did not turn up on her shift.
It isn’t a big company. Pretty small, only consist of less than 20 coworkers. I wasn’t particularly on friendly terms with any of them. Everyone seems to be swarmed with work. We really work very hard.
Many of us stayed long hours into the nights and weekends to complete our work. But the pay is really good. Out of all my classmates that moved with me, mine was the highest paid. In fact, it was nearly a managerial pay grade. And the fact that I was kept so busy, I couldn’t find time to spend it at all, I’m collecting a tidy sum while paying off my student loan.
3 months into my job where I was supposed to be approved during my probation period, I was ordered to stay back one Friday night by my editor. He wanted me to take some short notes and do some research online. I did it diligently and by the time I was completed, I was mentally exhausted.
It was already past midnight. I remembered going to his room and hand over my work. He beckoned me to sit down and in front of me, on his desk is my probation appraisal.
My editor is a 55 years old man. He takes a long hard look at me and proposes shamelessly to exchange for my probation, I was to sleep with him. It’s outrageous and insulting. I wanted to leave. But I wanted to hold on to this job as well.
I didn’t remember if I agree to it but neither did I disagree. We didn’t do anything that night if you’re wondering. He drove me home with an awkward mumbled goodbye and that’s it.
But for the next few weeks, he will wine and dine me like a normal relationship. I don’t have anyone special that time and it felt really nice except I don’t really have any romantic feelings for him. It was one of those dates, I slept with him.
The saddest part of this story is that I lost my virginity to this monster. I didn’t really enjoy it but after that, the pretence is all off. No more dates. He will call me to stay overtime in the office and that would be the cue for sex that night. If I refused his advances, he will fire me in front of everyone. He’ll blackmail me, coerced me and threatened to ruin my reputation.
Once I was really down with flu and all I really want is to be in bed with chicken soup, I told him no and I went home. He stalked at my apartment (the apartment that I was still sharing with my classmates) late into the night, shouting my name over and over again, until I came out to talk to him. He spat at me in my face and swore he will destroy me if I ever refused him again.
First the booty call was once a week, then it became twice a week and finally, he will even get me into his office just to have a quickie before lunch. Yes, behind the locked door are my teammates working outside!
I begin to resent him, resent going to work and my salary felt like dirty money. Enough was enough. I quit crying to sleep every night. I hate myself so much that I can’t look at myself in the mirror. You don’t know half of the pain and terror I was feeling then. It was my lowest point. I resigned.
He screamed at me when I threw my resignation letter at his face. He called a lot of nasty names at me in front of everyone until our HR stepped in and pulled me into her office. The HR lady let slip that I wasn’t the first victim. When I left the company, I found out from my ex-colleagues that there were several young ladies sexually abused by him when they worked under him.
For personal reasons, I didn’t go to the police. Yes, I felt I had to, maybe to protect anyone else from a jerk like him. I did seek counsel from a lawyer and in the end, I decided that it is too painful to pursue it. Mostly because I didn’t want my family to find out (it will break their hearts) and my younger brother was joining me in the city in a couple of months’ time. I don’t want him to get embroiled in this nasty situation. I don’t want to complicate things.
In the end, the editor was fired and arrested for a different, unrelated charge after I left the company a year later.
I wished I had the guts to walked out when he propositioned me. I wished I wasn’t that naive. That I hadn’t succumbed to his threats. That I had the courage to report him. There are many regrets in life and this one is something I don’t wish upon young gullible girls like I was.
My advice to young girls: Walk away if you are uncomfortable in any situation. You don’t have to crave into pressure. There are plenty of jobs out there and losing your dignity and body over it is not worth it. Learn to love yourself.
*As told to Kally from someone who wishes to be anonymous.
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