Hi, my name is Jacquelyn. I'm 35 and live in Columbus, OH where I work as an independent consultant. My work, a mixture of business development, sports management, market research and strategy consulting, has taken me all over the country. I've lived in Orlando, Greenville, SC, Phoenix, and Chicago before settling back in Columbus.
Up until recently I really let my career define me and let it serve as the foundation of my self-worth. I've also experienced varying forms of sexual harassment and assault at nearly every single job I've ever had. When you combine those two things, career-driven self-worth and sexual harassment at work - well, I'm sure you can imagine how unhealthy that is.
Three years ago I had a build up of incidences at my last job which lead me to a bit of a breaking point. More like the beginning of the breaking point. I quit my job and decided to work for myself. I adopted the "no asshole" rule, meaning I was choosing not to work FOR or WITH assholes. I choose my co-workers and my clients, and I am my own boss.
I thought I was taking control of my situation, and it was a good start, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to eradicate or erase all of the experiences and feelings that had built up over 16 years. I forged ahead but I couldn't figure out why the weight seemed to be getting heavier, and honestly, in real time I didn't even really know what the weight was because I had never fully acknowledged or confronted it.
Over the last year I sought various forms of counseling and coaching and finally got to the point where I could speak my truth. At first, I needed to do this for myself. I needed to say it and I needed to hear it. I could no longer disown this part of who I am/was. As much as I wanted for it to not be part of me.
That hasn't felt like enough either. Sexual harassment in the work place is a dirty little secret and while searching for outlets or resources, I just wasn't finding them. So I've taken another step towards vulnerability and am choosing to use this space to share my experiences with others, in the hopes that:
1. Young women early in their career get a preview of what could happen and how serious it is. Perhaps they are better prepared than I was from having read this.
2. Women that are like me and may be struggling with their own demons and negative experiences, see that they aren't alone. We can be a community of supporters for each other.
3. Maybe, just maybe, men or any one in a position of power sees how important that power is and the great responsibility they have to protect and respect their subordinates and colleagues.
I created this space to help myself heal, but also to help educate others on what sexual harassment really is, how it perpetuates itself, how it can be disguised, how we sometimes choose to ignore it, and the consequences of giving/receiving it. I hope that if you've found yourself here, its because you need to read about my experiences and that they help you in some way. And if you feel like sharing, maybe you can continue to help me too : )
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