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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

#SheSays: My Girl Crush In The Office Turned Out To Be A Sexual Predator

  • IWB Post
  •  April 1, 2017

 

She was a woman in a happy, heterosexual relationship, and this is her story.

IWB’s section, “Censored,” features real women narrating real stories. Stories, which are usually censored by the society, are given a platform.

There is absolutely no room for judgment or condemnation. Women can open up about their personal issues, reach epiphanies, inspire women all around the world, and seek an expert advice. Read on, and get your dosage of empowerment.

#SheSays

The woman to man ratio in our workspace was 2:9, as you know, it was hard to find women in the technology field. Every man in the office was attracted to Tanya, and every woman was jealous of her.

She pulled off the pixie haircut so well! Yes, and she would pair long kurtis with it, sometimes throw in a pair of sneakers. She was someone I’d call “cool.” She was intelligent, chilled out, and I? I was fangirling and intimidated.

I wanted to be like her, but the best I could do was laugh at her jokes, try to be as bold as she was. Every day, I made an effort to copy her style. But then, she started noticing me, too. I was new, and Tanya, Shikha, and I were the only three women in the department.

Tanya never ate lunch with Shikha and me, but that day, she did.

“My mom’s not in the city today, do you mind if I eat with you girls?” she said, looking at me.

After she had joined us, the ice broke. We started interacting more often. I finally felt like I had a friend in the office, and work no more seemed boring. One night, Tanya invited me for a sleepover. She said we could have a “Maggi Night.” For some reason, it felt strange when I visited her.

When I was putting my empty bowl of Maggi away, she stretched her hand out, and said, “I’ll put it away for you.”

“No, no, let me do it,” I said. As she did it, I felt her arm brush softly against my ass, as if it meant something.

There was an intense energy that I couldn’t shake off. Even when I closed my eyes, something bothered me. Was Tanya watching me sleep? The mere thought of it, accompanied by pin-drop silence left me sleepless.

And obviously, things changed the very next day. What was it? I couldn’t figure it out. The sense of her aura felt too strong on me, and I couldn’t handle it.

Maybe, I was attracted to her, but, I was still in love with my partner? Was it mere infatuation, or plain admiration? Or, something sexual?

Tanya would often come to my desk, and playfully pinch my butt, or try to “de-stress” my shoulders. When I opened up to my partner about it, he said, “Naa, you’re over-thinking, I’ll tell you, it’s best to ignore it. Maybe, she just is the touchy-feely type of girl.”

He had a point, but I realized that ignoring wasn’t helping. The more I avoided it, the stronger the signs became. Tanya would slap my butt, and many-a-time, people would watch. Yes, it was embarrassing and humiliating.

And, there was only one thing left to do.

 “Why am I not surprised?” Shikha said. I was flushing. Why WAS she not surprised?

“You’ll never see me interacting with Tanya, right? Such girls creep me out.”

Could Tanya really be attracted to me? Is that why it was happening? The answer is a big NO.

Because I was silent, things got even worse. One day, since the AC was set to a minimum, the chilly surroundings exposed my nipples. Enter Tanya. She said, “Is someone turning you on?” winked and groped my breasts.

A lot of people were watching. Some looked away, others softly giggled, and many even had their eyes fixed on my breasts. It was then that reality struck me.

I was being sexually harassed.

It hadn’t come to my notice since I always thought, “Why would a girl do this to another?” I went inside the washroom and cried my eyes out. And, I couldn’t do anything about it. Why would anyone believe me?

Do you know what I did? Nothing. After a few months of constant assault, and spending hours in the washroom, I gave up. I’m sorry, I couldn’t handle it, any longer. I quit the job.

The thought haunts me until today, and I haven’t even talked to my boyfriend about it. How should I make peace with it?

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