Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives love, dating and self-esteem advice on networks from MTV to the BBC and all over the web through her hit web series AbiolaTV. Now she wants to help you keep things spicy and fresh between the sheets. Are you in need of an intimacy intervention? Just ask Abiola!
I have a really awkward and uncomfortable sexual dilemma. My boss of the last three years hits on me NONSTOP. Because we are both women, I always felt like I had to just go along with it.
I work in publishing and I am an exec assistant. I didn’t get into the job field until age 42 due to having children young and getting married at an early age.
So I was very grateful when this job gave me a chance to start fresh when my marriage broke up. My boss was the only one who would hire me. I don’t have access to any other alimony or income source. I really need this job but it’s very uncomfortable. I cry every night.
My married female boss touches my butt and brushes up against me “by accident” all the time. I am not into women like that. Call me strickly dickly but the whole thing makes me feel terrible.
When nobody else is around she calls me “baby.” She finds reasons to call and text me in the off hours. This is a highly respected woman in a big corporation. If it ever came down to anything, of course she would matter way more to the company than me.
Every day is like a new adventure in a negative way. Last week for my birthday she gave me La Perla panties. Everybody at work laughed like it was a gag gift because she said publically, “Now Sharleen can get some!”
Now she keeps texting me privately every day asking if I am wearing them. She even asked me if she bought me some Christian Louboutin shoes for Christmas if I would wear them for her.
What should I do? I feel so alone. I don’t want to be the one with a label of trying to bring another woman of color down. Also, how would I get another job without her recommendation? I didn’t do anything to lead her on.
Need the Money
Dear Sacred Bombshell,
Thank you for your brave letter.
The American Association of University Women defines sexual harassment as: “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”
A recent study finds 1 in 3 women having been sexually harassed in the workplace.
You are not alone.
Your mental, physical and emotional safety is your priority here. You are not honor-bound by culture or gender to protect any person who is a threat to your very wellbeing.
Sure, it was great for your boss to give you an opportunity to get back in the workplace but that doesn’t give her a right to violate your boundaries.
Sexual harassment is not about sex or having done anything to lead someone on. Sexual harassment is about power. Your boss has created a sexually hostile work environment. This is abusive.
You now have five mandatory sacred assignments to protect your wellbeing:
- Document everything. Save every inappropriate text, gift, email, etc. Write down dates, times, and situations. Also write down any witnesses - like the folks in on the birthday “joke.”
- Hire an outside attorney. In many cases, the job of Human Resources is to protect the rights of the corporation. We don’t know the inner workings of the relationship dynamics between your boss and the higher ups. I did a simple Google search and there are many law firms that will take on a sexual harassment care for free. Find one in your area and create a strategy with a tight timeline.
- Make it very clear to your boss in writing that you feel uncomfortable with some of the things that have transpired. Be very clear and spell out that you enjoy your job, you’re great at it and you would like the inappropriate behavior to stop immediately. Return the underwear and email her the note.
- Start to look for another job. Don’t count yourself out. If this firm needed your services, may others do as well. Put the word out among your family, friends, and any fellow alumnae that you are in the market for a new job. If you need to move in with a friend or family member until you get this sorted out, that’s fine.
- While this is all going on, love up on yourself. Self-care is key. A draining situation like this can take its toll on you. Create a daily healing practice with meditation or yoga. Feel free to download my “Sacred Bombshell Self-Love Meditations” album using the free access link that I sent you. We don’t know how long the resolution of this situation will take, so taking care of your mind, body and spirit is key.
I am so sorry that you are experiencing this.
You are courageous beyond measure. Find an attorney today and free yourself.
Meanwhile, I hold a vision of you, whole, healed and happy in a fun, new environment, worthy of your skills and talents.
Lifestyle guru Abiola Abrams (@abiolaTV) is the creator of “The Sacred Bombshell Self-Love Journaling Cards” and the “African Goddess Affirmation Cards.” Find alignment with your mind, body and spirit in her free Spiritpreneur Unblock My Energy Course at Womanifesting.com.
*Woman featured is a model, not either or the women discussed in this article.*