At the end of August, I started a new job. Everything was going really well. I loved my coworkers and I was so excited to be working for the company with great pay and great benefits. I worked for the company briefly before but had to step away to take care of some family issues. Upon my return I was so super excited to be getting back to the environment I loved doing the work that I loved.
I began to mesh well with the team and formed a close bond with my trainer. We had a lot in common and could relate to one another fairly well, plus our personalities meshed well. After about three weeks I was pulled into the office and presented with an opportunity to take over the training role from my predecessor, which I happily accepted. Literally later that same day my trainer was pulled into the office and stripped of his title. He was livid and lashing out at anyone and everyone completely unaware that I had stepped up to take the position. After listening to him spew his caustic words for the duration of the shift, I finally had enough and called him out on it. He pretended that he didn’t know what I was talking about, and eventually we worked through our differences.
Fast forward to about four weeks ago, my trainer starts flirting with me. Nothing overtly sexual, but general banter, smiles, and kind gestures outside of how he behaved toward others. I noticed and reminded him that I was married. He seemed to respect that boundary. Then, my marriage (which had been struggling long before I started this job anyway) began to crumble. My husband told me that he has not been happy for five years and didn’t know if there was anything that could make him happy. We decided to divorce.
I went to work and shared my lament with my coworkers, specifically my trainer. He did everything right. He listened to me, he supported me, and he validated my feelings. He encouraged me to work on repairing my relationship with my husband. That was day one. The next day when we sat down to work he came in and began to share overtly sexual pictures and video clips with me in addition to intensifying his flirtatious innuendos.
I welcomed the advances now that I found myself recently single but chose not to reciprocate at first. After about three days of this behavior from my trainer, I decided to reciprocate. What I said was very mild compared to what he had been saying. It was a quick retort to an obnoxious comment. Suddenly, I was behaving inappropriately, and he was uncomfortable. He flipped it around and made me appear as the aggressor. He reported me to our boss and compiled “evidence” to take to HR.
I understand exactly what he did. I understand that my perception of events is valid regardless of what my trainer says. His lack of willingness to communicate and resolve the issue further stands to reason that he knows he was being inappropriate. Unfortunately, because he has chat conversations between us that appear to paint me in a negative light I decided it was best to leave my job.
As a survivor of rape and extended sexual abuse, I feel somewhat more overwhelmed by the realization that I’ve been victimized in this way than while enduring the events themselves. I am also dealing with a lot of self doubt. I felt my reciprocation was invited, but now I am not sure. It’s really thrown me for a mental spiral the past few days. So much so that I quit my job last night.