A positive role model
Two weeks ago I’d gone to HR to alert them to two recent instances of blatantly harassing behaviour directed at me from a former colleague with a long track record of such improper behaviour. Both of these recent instances were at large, mainly social university celebrations. (I screamed at the top of my lungs at one instance, calling him out, and two other men immediately approached to say they had seen and were sorry at what they had witnessed.) I felt the need to alert HR about the harassment, but I was unsure whether I was getting singled out by this colleague or if he is back in town and playing up with many. Talking to HR was a little risky, since in the past that was often a fast way of inviting retaliation. This week the university had a third major celebration. The Head of HR made a bee line for me and sat next to me, politely pretending to need to talk to me about a philosophical book he’s been reading. Goodness the relief and comfort! It made me enormously proud of my university. Also HR provided a good model of how to not to allow colleagues to be victimised. Simply by sitting with me he gave me a quiet safety and let me be part of the community.