I am the writer of the take "Think Every Woman Lies About Harassment in the Western World? Think Twice" and I would like to give you a follow-up incident in this take. You can click on the title provided above to reach my previous take mentioning my very recent experience with sexual harassment.
In that take, I told you earlier that I quit my job after the manager's attitude towards me claiming that I am supposed to please any customer wishes, and I should not make it a big deal. After several calls and talks, I got back to my job as I need the job and as I got an apology from the manager for his attitude. I am sure he only apologized because he is too lazy to go through the hiring process and training a new person since another girl who worked at my shift got fired after constantly calling in sick and showing up on social media doing things other than being sick.
On the first day I got back to the same job, unfortunately and unluckily, the same man who caused all the trouble came for having another bulk order for the same thing. Since we had his design for the order on the system already, we didn't spend much time. I had a coworker next to me, who recently started working and I was training him; and I had my manager who stopped by the store for the installation of new computers. He is a big guy, basically muscular, and about 6'4; like much bigger than the customer.
Conversation between me, manager and customer
(Cu:Customer, S: Me, M: Manager)
Cu: I talked to this lady last week. I want to do a bulk order but she gave me a very high price.
M: What was the design and price?
Cu: Same design but I will bring my own clothing, I will not buy from here.
M: (..calculating) It will be $10 a piece.
Cu: (Looking at me) See? I told you it will $10 a piece, not $30. That was what Person XX who worked here last year charged me.
S: Sir, you said you will buy your sweatshirts from here. You did not tell me you will bring your own. That makes it $30 a piece. (me looking at manager)
M: Yes, she is right in that case.
Cu: I was gonna divorce my wife and marry you but after you trying to overcharge me, I don't think I want to do anything with you. But you know my number, you can always call me for satisfaction. (touching my arm and waist while I am hanging new clothes near him)
Me speechless, manager is smiling, coworker is turning his head away acting like he didn't see (but clearly shocked).
There were basically two guys in the store, who witnessed what happened, who heard what had been said, and who had seen how he basically touched me and made me uncomfortable but none of them are MAN ENOUGH to say stop and kick the customer out.
What to do if you witness sexual harassment at work?
These are steps I identified what to do in case I witness any type of sexual harassment, whether verbal, physical, or emotional. Feel free to come up with and share your "To-Do"s as well.
1. Intervene personally to stop the perpetrator.
This may not be easy, and maybe you are intimidated by the size and strength of the perpetrator. But remember, when you intervene to stop the harassment or bullying, you are basically outnumbering the perpetrator by 2 v 1. You and the victim vs. the perpetrator. And plus, you are at a work environment where there is security.
2. Simply say "That's gross" to your colleague (or perpetrator if not colleague)
If you don't know how to offer help, or what to say without offending anyone or if you're not confident enough, simply say "What you do/say or how you treat him/her is simply gross and unacceptable." You don't need confidence or charm to say simple words like this.
3. If you're not sure whether something is harassment, simply observe victim's behavior.
I know nobody is a mind-reader and you may be scared to evaluate the situation in a wrong way, or you may not know whether something is sexual harassment. In that case, simply observe the victim's behavior. If the victim is uncomfortable or look upset, you may need to intervene and call out on the other person whether colleague or customer.
4. Simply approach the victim and offer help
In the first time, you may be scared to say something and you may not prevent the harassment from happening. However, you may always approach the victim, ask him/her whether s/he is fine, and you can offer help and emotional support.
5. Educate yourself on what is harassment and what is not
Clearly, there will be people who would like to abuse the situation and accuse you or others of sexual harassment. Or you may witness something that you're not sure if harassment happened. You did approach the victim as I suggest in #4, and you got an answer. Yet, maybe the victim said everything is fine because s/he is ashamed of what happened, and may be in shock, and blamed him/herself for what happened. In this potential case, always make sure to educate yourselves on the situations whether the situation is harassment. There are many resources on the internet to read, watch, listen, and also there is Human Resources to grab a flyer or document about that.
6. DON'T BE A BYSTANDER.
Don't keep quiet, if you see something, simply say something. Don't close your eyes. Remember, if you keep quiet today, others will keep quiet tomorrow WHEN YOU ARE THE VICTIM!
To sum up:
Of course, these points may not apply to situations or incidents that occur outside the work environment. You may need to intervene at night clubs, house parties, in the parks, recreational facilities, and many places. Under different conditions, you may have different threats, and may feel strongly to close your eyes and pretend nothing is happening. There are solutions how to intervene in those cases, and I will be writing another take regarding how to stop sexual harassment in those places.
Thanks for reading my take.