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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. 


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35 comments

  1. cjsvolunteer

    Hi spooky season,
    First I want to thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry to hear about the difficult time you have been going through. It is understandable that you would be feeling overwhelmed after leaving a toxic environment. It took great courage to put your mental health first and leave a situation that was causing turmoil. I hope that when you are ready, you are able to find a work environment that once again makes you excited to go in to work.

  2. Breanna Volunteer

    Hey there spookyseason,

    Thanks for coming and sharing with us. It sounds like it has been a real tumultuous time lately. I hope the stress from family issues and the divorce has, at least started to, subside. Your trainer was behaving inappropriately and you should not have had to experience that stress. He knew you were in a vulnerable position and he should not have manipulated you. And I can totally understand why you’re feeling more overwhelmed now. I can imagine that you were juggling a lot of family and personal matters while your trainer was behaving this way, and as the dust settles, you start to process things more. I know it’s difficult and unsettling, and leads to self-doubt and “would’ve/should’ve/could’ve”s. I suggest screen-shotting some of the quotes on this post and when you’re having those moments of self-doubt, look at those to try and ground yourself. You can even take an image of what you said in that second-to-last paragraph because you are right – your perception of the events is completely valid and his lack of willingness to sort this out and rectify the situation tells you what you need to know. And for some additional reminders: This wasn’t your fault. Healing is a bumpy process and sometimes life events get in the way. But healing is always worth it. Finding sources of support is always worth it. We are here for you. We believe you. Keep your chin up and stay strong.

    Sending love and support,
    Bre

  3. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi spookyseason,
    It sounds like you’re going through a transitional period of your life in many ways, and my heart goes out to you. I hope you’re doing okay after your divorce. It’s awful that your trainer seemed to understand where you were coming from on the first day, then manipulated the situation while you were in a vulnerable state. It’s understandable that you’re feeling overwhelmed after what happened, and what he did was not your fault. You didn’t deserve for this to happen to you. I hope you can find a safe and healthy work environment where you can thrive.
    Thank you for sharing this update with us. I’m sending you my love and strength, and I believe you can get through this. I hope you’re having a great week.

  4. barbaralizet

    Hi spookyseason, I want to start off by saying that you are very brave for sharing your story with us. I am happy you left that toxic environment. What he did to you was very wrong and I am sorry he manipulated you like that. However, i am glad to hear you left that toxic environment and may seek a new job somewhere that will make you truly happy. I wish you the best.

  5. averagestudent Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    The decision to choose to leave the job must have been difficult but it is for the best. The way you decided to leave a toxic environment I want to congratulate you on that. It’s just gross to think about how that trainer manipulated you and turned himself into a victim when we all know he is far from one. All the feelings you are having are valid and with time as you know, it will get better. This is a situation that makes you realize that not everyone has good intentions, so we need to be aware. Please keep your head up and just know that you are not done for letting this happened and you are not the only one.

  6. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,
    Thank you for sharing with us. I am sorry your trainer acted that way with you. It was very inappropriate of him to be saying those things and sharing pictures but it is even worse to hear that he manipulated the situation to seem like it was all your fault. He tried to make himself the victim, which was not okay and wrongfully invalidates everything you felt. I wish that had not happened and that you wouldn’t have had to leave your job over this. That is a difficult choice to make, but I hope that you did what was best for you.
    You are right, your perception of events is completely valid. You should trust your judgement. I think it is also very easy to look back on certain situations and start to doubt ourselves but you should try to avoid those thoughts. Take some time for yourself in the next few days and hopefully that helps the feeling of being so overwhelmed. Take care!

  7. Dash35

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thank you for sharing this story with us and I am sorry to hear about what you have been going through the last few months. I want you to know that you did not do anything wrong and it seems like your trainer was being manipulative and that is not fair to you at all. You deserve to be able to go to work and be in a healthy and safe environment and I hope your next job will be able to have that. Thank you again for sharing this with us and let us know if there is anything we can do to help out! Sending lots of love and support.

    Best,
    Dash35

  8. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello spookyseason,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story with us. I am so sorry to hear about everything that has been happening this all sounds tough to deal with. I hope you know you did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve him doing that to you. I am also sorry that you had to leave a job you loved over this that isn’t fair. I hope you know that we support you and hope you find another job soon – one you enjoy and are more comfortable at. You are very strong and will make it through this!

  9. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’m so sorry your trainer did that to you. What he did was manipulative, nasty and… kind of evil, in my opinion. You absolutely did not deserve that and I’m sorry it led to you leaving your job. I think it’s best that you trust your intuition, like others have said. If you’re interested in returning to the company, is there anyone else there that could support you in this or provide an outside party’s side of the story?

    Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. We are here to help however we can.

    Marissa

  10. brookeA Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s terrible that your trainer manipulated the situation like that, and I’m sorry that you had to leave your job because of it. You did not deserve to have this happen to you, and I’m so glad that you know that your perception of events is valid. It’s completely understandable that you are feeling overwhelmed right now. I hope you are able to take some time for yourself. I wish you the best of luck in finding a job where you can feel safe and respected! Take care.

  11. musicislove

    Hi spookyseason,

    I’m sorry about the situation with your trainer and that he manipulated things to paint you in a bad light, that’s not okay. I’m also sorry that your marriage has struggled and that you decided to divorce, I hope whatever is in your future is so, so good. I agree with what has been said, you should definitely trust your gut and know that what happened was not your fault. I understand the overwhelming feelings, being traumatized again after dealing with previous trauma is so difficult to navigate and just remember that you need to do what’s best for yourself and it sounds like you did just that-you should be somewhere that you feel safe and comfortable to work. Thank you for trusting us with your feelings, sending love.

    Delaney

  12. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thanks for sharing. I am so sorry you’re going through that. It is totally understandable that this could lead to self-doubt and questioning your actions. You need to trust your intuition that you behaved appropriately and that this is not your fault. It seems like you made the right decision to leave. I respect that and hope you are proud of yourself for leaving a toxic environment. Hang in there.

    KatherineL

  13. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey spookyseason,

    I think it was the right decision for you to leave that environment. It sounds like your trainer was trying to manipulate you as reciprocity for taking his old position. It’s terrible that there are people who do things like this, especially when you’ve experienced other victimizing situations. What happened with that co-worker seems to have been totally out of your hands. Take some time for self-care and self-soothing while you’re looking for a new job. Sending lots of good, warm thoughts your way!

  14. Neesha Volunteer

    spookyseason,
    I am angry for you that your trainer set you up. He chose to string you along and you felt safe to reciprocate. Then he flipped it on you and made himself the victim. You are being falsely accused it makes a whole of sense that you are in a mental spiral. I hope your next job is a safer and more fufilling place. Thank you for trusting us. 

  15. karina Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’m sorry that your trainer took advantage of you during an especially vulnerable time. It was not fair that you had to leave for job while he didn’t. He should have talked to you if he was feeling uncomfortable, especially since you had a similar conversation with him when you were still married. I hope you can find a new job that is more fulfilling with a better work environment. We’ll be here for you if you need anything.

    Sending love and support,
    Karina

  16. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi spookyseason,
    I’m so sorry that this happened. He should have spoke to you first to let you know how he was feeling like the way you did to him. This isn’t your fault. You had caught him flirting with you and for him to turn it around on you isn’t okay. I’m sorry that you quit your job. Like noobloop said just take deep breaths and remember that this is now over. You will be able to find a new job and be happier than you were at this job. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. Continue to stay strong.
    -Alyssa

  17. Starling Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that. What he did was wrong, and it wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry that you had to leave your job under these kind of circumstances. I hope that you find an even better job with better co-workers and a better HR department. If you ever need anything, let us know.

  18. noobloop Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason, what he did was dirty and I’m sorry that happened to you. But looking at the bright side, you don’t have to work at a place like that anymore where they won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. You also do not have to work with him either. “Everything happens for a reason,” I’m sure you’ll find something much better and you’ll have better co-workers as well. Don’t get overwhelmed, just take deep breaths and remind yourself that it’s over. Take a few days to spoil yourself a bit and then get back to the grind 🙂 chin up!
    Much love and hugs,
    noobloop

  19. walvarenga1 Volunteer

    Hi Spookyseason,
    Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I’m sorry you’re going through so much, but I understand why you’re feeling befuddled by it all. Your feelings are valid. It’s unfortunate that you quit your job due to the circumstances you’ve found yourself in, and it’s not fair that it resulted in the decision to leave. That’s so infuriating that your trainer defaced you as the perpetrator when In retaliation, he took advantage of you during a vulnerable period. It seems as if he did this so that there’d be no evidence of his unprofessionalism. Even though you will no longer be employed there, have you considered returning to share your interaction with the trainer with HR? Although it will not return your job, it will hold him accountable if he continues to abuse other employees in the future. I also read that your marriage ended, and I want you to know that it will take time to heal from that, but know that you are worthy, and you will overcome all of this one day. We are here for you and we believe you. Take care of yourself.

    Best
    WES

  20. Lala

    Hi spooky season,
    Thank you so much for trusting us again and updating us. Im sorry you had to go through that, it is so unfair what that trainer did to you. You know when one door closes, another one opens. So it was probably best to leave your job. You sound like such an amazing person that im sure good things will come your way. Stay strong!

  21. Javi7295

    Hello spookyseason,

    Thanks for sharing and coming back to us to update on what has been going on. It must have been difficult for you having to leave the place where you enjoyed working. Your trainer was definitely in the wrong for how he handled the situation which understandably has left you with doubts about the way he was behaving around you. It is unfortunate that due to the situation, you felt the need to quit your job but if it was better for you and your health mentally then it may have been the right decision to stay away from the environment at that job. I wish you the best and a taking a mental break for you to feel better is always a good thing. Feel free to update us again anytime.
    -Javi

  22. mirage276 Volunteer

    Hello spookyseason,
    Thank you for coming back and sharing with us once more. I’m so sorry that your trainer handled the situation so poorly and made you out to be the villain when you are not the one at fault. Especially after they knew the hardships you had been going through with your divorce. I do believe the reciprocation was invited and it is very unfair that they took advantage of your kindness. What happened was not your fault in any capacity and perhaps quitting your job may prove beneficial for you as you wont have your trainer around. Sending lots of love and support.
    Stay Strong,
    M

  23. Erika23 Volunteer

    Hello spookyseason,

    It’s horrible to hear about everything that happened at work, but i hope you don’t feel powerless about the entire situation. I can understand feeling self doubt when you feel voiceless and leaving a job which put you in a toxic environment was a good idea. Also remember that being gaslighted is not your fault and I completely empathize with you. You just need to focus on yourself and your mental health. Please take care of yourself.

  24. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thank you for coming back with an update. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to work a job you love and that you’ve been able to get right back at it after being away for a little bit. I’m sorry to hear that the old supervisor didn’t handle losing his role well. That doesn’t take away from the fact that you definitely worked hard and earned your new role. I hope that your trainer continues to respect your space and boundaries. You deserve to be listened to and he should be showing you these explicit videos. I’m sorry that things took a turn for the worst. Hopefully not working with that trainer will allow for a healthier work environment for you. You will find a better healthier job space for you. You are clearly a really amazing worker to be promoted in your last role. Any company would be lucky to have you.

    Stay strong,
    T

  25. hdezcinday07 Volunteer

    Hello spookyseason,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is very frustrating that you were accused of doing something that at the end you were pushed to do because he kept insisting. He took advantage of you and that is not right because he knew you were going through a hard time in your divorce with youe husband. It’s probably sad for you since you had to leave your job and you loved it there but maybe its for the best. Having to be in that toxic and uncomfortable environment was not going to help your situation. It’s honestly better for you to start all over just so you can have some peace of mind. If there is anthing we can do for you dont hesitate to rech out to us. Click on the “Find help” tab on the top of the page. Meanwhile take care of yourself and dont let this get to you. You are enough and you are worth it.

  26. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming to share with us. I’m so sorry this has been your experience. I can understand your confusion, and I think your feelings are valid. Many times harassers sometimes file retaliatory complaints against those they harm, and I can definitely see that could be the case here. Are you able to get other support, maybe from other co-workers or family?

    Erin

  27. rvmoss Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,
    I appreciate you sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that he is making you look like the aggressor in this situation and accusing you when you are not. Its not right of him to take advantage of your kindness when you are in a vulnerable time. Is there any way to also show your side of the story? Although it is a job that you love, maybe it is best to leave that environment for your own peace especially since you already have things going on at home. In the find help tab you may find some resources to help you get through this time. Please keep us updated. Sending much love, LR <3

  28. cachonoah Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sure its very aggravating and frustrating that you were being seen as the “aggressor” in your situation. It is completely unfair of him to do that. He took advantage of you during a time of vulnerability and yet was still making it as if it was all your fault. Im so sorry you had to go through that. Maybe it was best to get out of the environment, especially since you are already dealing with some of your issues already. It’s never a good thing to feel overwhelmed at work, especially with that kind of energy being thrown at you. Maybe let HR know how it actually went down so they can at least investigate him as well?
    I know during a time of adjusting, especially during all these changes might not help with your self-doubt but sometimes self-evaluation is important in the healing process. Processing your trauma takes time, and healing comes along with that. Hopefully we get to hear an update from you in the near future! Keep moving forward. Much love from your friends here at AVFTI.

  29. vanessadmoreno Volunteer

    Hi Spookyseason,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. That sounds so frustrating that your trainer painted you as an aggressor, when he had seemingly very clearly initiated things first. I want you to know that none of that is your fault, and I am with you. That is awful that you ultimately felt like you had to leave your job, even though you never asked for any of that in the first place. If you need anything, feel free to come back again. Sending you all my love and support!

    -Vanessa

  30. Lex Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I am so sorry that you had to experience this. It is terrible that he flipped it around to make you look like you were the one who started it. Before you quit your job were you able to at least say your side of the story at least to HR? It is so unfair that you had to lose your job over this and he gets to keep his. I hope with time that you are able to heal your self-doubts and be placed in a work environment with people who make you feel safe and heard. Wishing you all the best.

    Stay strong. You will get through this. Please share with us again whenever you like.
    – Lex

  31. jcastle38 Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    I’m so sorry to hear that your marriage ended in a divorce. I’m also sorry to hear that you had to quit your job because he made you look like the aggressor. It could have been that he realized his behavior was wrong and decided to accuse you before you could accuse him. Nonetheless, he should not have made himself the victim and made you lose your job, that was not fair to you at all. I understand your feelings of self doubt, but I hope you are able to heal from this and replace those feelings of doubt with self love and appreciation for yourself. Because you are incredibly strong, you have gone through so much and continue to push through. Thank you for sharing your story with us, if you need to come back we are always here to listen. Sending you lots of love and positivity, you will get through this I am rooting for you. We all are!

  32. sarahj Volunteer

    Hi spookyseason,

    I am so sorry to hear what has happened between you and your trainer. I hate to see that tables were turned to make others view you in a light that was unkind. I know you have quit your job at this point, but I hope you were able to make your case known prior to leaving.

    I am sorry to hear you are in a place of self doubt. Sometimes a self evaluation can be helpful. Your life is undergoing a lot of changes right now, I could imagine how it might be hard to lose your footing.

    Sending you positive vibes and hope you are able to work through this. Please take a second to view the Find Help tab for other resources available to you.

    Take care of yourself,
    Sarahj

  33. alexa.zaragoza Volunteer

    Hello Spookyseason,

    Thank you for coming back on here and telling your story. It was very wrong for what your trainer did and you did nothing to deserve that. I think you should talk to Human Resources and let them know what actually happened because if you really enjoyed that job, then your trainer should have been the one that left, not you. But I understand your decision making, when it comes to certain situations like these, it gets complicated and the best option is to just get out of there. You are strong and you will get through this. If you ever need additional help there is always the “Find Help” tab.

  34. Alyssa Volunteer

    Hi Spookyseason,

    Thank you for coming back to share. It’s not ok with what your trainer did, especially out of retaliation. It isn’t your fault this happened, and I’m even more sorry that it’s come to you quitting your job. The trainer spinning the situation on you isn’t ok, and I wish there was more to move forward with to your HR to show them otherwise. These situations can be overwhelming, especially when it’s all happening at one time, but it will start to look up. Push forward and do what is right for you.

    If you need further references, go to our Find Help tab at the top of the page.

    Sending you positive vibes and Support.
    Alyssa

  35. lqui101 Volunteer

    Hey spookyseason,

    It is not your fault for these events has happened towards you. None of your actions was a excuse for them to turn it around and blame you. He knew he was in the wrong for advancing you and tried to spin it around you. His unwillingness to communicate with you after is just confirmation that he does not want to acknowledge his faults. Is there any way to talk to HR and let them know about the situation? It should give them both sides of the story rather than have this perception towards you. If you ever need resources to help, we do have a ‘find help’ tab on our site and of course you can always come here to talk. We will always listen and just know that this was not your fault.
    Stay safe.