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TW: Sexual Assault, Workplace Sexual Harassment

Years ago I was repeatedly sexually harassed by my boss, the CEO of a national franchise business. I made excuses or tolerated the first boob grabs and requests for sex but the more I denied him, the more aggressive he got. He always did it in front of others like he felt more powerful to abuse me with an audience. My breaking point was when he did it at a large event and it was even more intrusive and violent. He stuck his hand violently between my legs so hard I jumped and screamed and colleagues noticed and approached me. Their first response “I saw what happened, please don’t quit!” Two more times that same night he hurt me - grabbing my hair from behind and bending me over for all to see. I broke. I went home from that event and spoke to a therapist and a lawyer. Both said my only option was to leave as it was his privately owned company. It still took me months to leave as I loved that job and I needed the salary. When I finally did he lashed out and threatened to sue me. I also found out he had called other companies and threatened them. He told them if they hired me he would cut them off as business suppliers. It took me until now to share my story. I still haven’t named him as I’m still scared he will lash out but people know who it is because he has done it to do many others. Thankfully, I’m now in a safe job and I’m trying to help others by sharing my story in our industry. People are starting to come forward and companies in this industry are making statements of zero tolerance. I see progress. There’s hope. I’m grateful I finally was brave enough to support others and myself by speaking up.

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