Sexual harassment of men in offices is real

Name of the Author withheld on request

Men are in a diabolical situation of sorts when it comes to the sexual dynamics of the working places. Men can easily be perceived as safe or unsafe based on their predilections towards sex. They are safe if they keep a distance from women in general and don’t make moves on every female around.

I considered myself in the safe category of men too being of the reserved nature that I am. I would not say that everyone loved me, but I can say with assurance that everyone was at least friendly towards me and there was not one person that snubbed me in my face. I am a guy if you are confused about the situation this far down.

At the time, which is two years ago, I was the assistant manager in operations and the shared the secluded cabin of my Operations manager who was a lady. Now, before you make any judgments, let me clear the air and tell you that I am a wuss of sorts in approaching women. My boss was quite the outgoing person and real nice to all, something that worked entirely in her favour when my life went to ruins in that office.

If it’s a woman and nice to all woman, chances are there would be many takers to her sob story specially when she also is a creative woman. After sitting with her in her office for almost seven months and having gradually opened up to her about my likes and dislikes is when the problem began.

She was married with one child and not really happy with her marriage. I was getting uncomfortable with her disclosures but did not know how to get her to stop confiding in me. The Boss and subordinate relationship does not give many authorities to the subordinates in most offices.

On the wretched day in September, she did what I feared could happen. She made a physical advance and to that stimulus I was shocked and taken aback. I did manage to stop things from going out of hand but set off a monster in her in a way I could not imagine.

She did not make a hue and cry about it. She did something worse!

She apologized a bit loudly the next morning. Things came to normal the same week but I could sense something was amiss. At first the women in office started distancing away from me and the conversations with them dipped over lunch. This behaviour started replicating in the men eventually and finally it took about three weeks for everyone in the 25 people strong team to stop talking to me. I had been thrown in the deepest recesses of hell.

I had not even begun to sense the gravity of what had happened to me. I had been made the villain here. When it finally came to me, the word was that I had ‘assaulted’ my Operations Manager. The story going around was that I had forced her for ‘favours’ and that she apologized (loudly) for getting mad at me in the heat of the moment.

I was now the rapist-like guy. Maybe a rapist for all in my office. People started being rude to me. I was not a part of the brainstorming sessions anymore, which was odd because I had been the star of the month for three months in a row that year before they promoted me to Assistant-Manager. I did not know what to do or whom to speak about what had actually happened.

I was the victim and not her but no one would believe me even if I told them.

Finally, it came to a day when I was slapped by a female co-worker because both of us were not looking and bumped into each other. She had already created a scene when two males joined in. The guards stopped this heated argument from turning in to a fight. I was called by the operations head of the company later in the evening and directed to submit my resignation.

I shouted and screamed in the office that it was not me who had assaulted. She was the one who forced herself on me and that I had stopped her and the situation from getting out of hand. No one heard my side of the story even when I screamed my lungs out.

The New Nutshell: I had thwarted the physically intimate attempts made by my female boss and my future went into darkness. Soon after the word had spread that I tried to molest her and shortly after, I was fired!

I was made to leave!

Can any of you think what I had to tell my parents about the lay off? Or what they thought of my sudden layoff when I had just recently been promoted after being star of the month for three months? They were not convinced.

I did not try hard to convince them either. It took me a year to get another job and that was mostly because I dreaded applying to another place for one year.

All the bad that happens to women is true and must not happen. But more often than not, if a man is tagged a sex maniac, there’s indeed very little that a man can then do to remove that label. Even if he’s not! Do not believe all the sexual assault stories because a woman is telling them. Sometimes, it’s the men who are the victims too.