update: my coworkers keep asking about my assault

Last month we had a letter from someone whose coworkers kept asking about her assault and were being really pushy about getting answers. Here’s her update. (Content warning for discussion of assault below.)

Thank you so much for the advice! It was really helpful to get a more objective view of the situation, and to feel so much support from the commenters! Initially it seemed like some of your suggested responses were helping my coworkers understand how intrusive they were being. Unfortunately, things got significantly worse before they got better.

One of the other admins in my office, Jane, would. not. leave me alone about it. She said she just wanted to help, so I tried your suggestion and said that what I really needed was to stop being asked about it constantly, and asked her to help field off the rest of the office. I said that I knew everyone meant well (although at this point I was really doubting whether that was true), but being interrogated about it fifty times a day was making it impossible to focus on my work, and that if she could discreetly tell our coworkers to cut it out I would be very grateful. She agreed, but instead of doing anything helpful she convinced another of our coworkers, Jack, that cornering me in the kitchen and refusing to let me leave unless I told him what happened would solve all of my issues. From what I pieced together after the fact, she thought that I wasn’t telling anyone what happened because I was afraid of whoever did this to me and that having a strong man on my side to protect me would fix it. (?!?!?!)

Later that afternoon I went to the kitchen to make a mug of tea, and Jack came up behind me to ask about the bruises again. I didn’t know he was there, so I jumped when he started talking, then tried scooting past him so I wouldn’t be blocked into a small room by a very large and strong man. He put his hand up on the wall to prevent me from leaving, and said he wasn’t going to move until I told him what happened. I feel somewhat bad about this, but I completely lost it on him. Everything had been building up for days at this point, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. The constant pestering was hard enough, but being physically trapped by a man so soon after being assaulted pushed me over the edge. I started yelling. “What the fuck do you think happened, Jack? Are the literal bite marks not enough to get the point across? I have been doing everything I can to keep coming in here every day so that everyone else won’t have to take on another 15 hours of work this week when all I want to do is curl up into a ball and die, and the only thanks I get is to constantly be cornered and interrogated about my face! I think it’s pretty clear what happened! I don’t understand why you think this is any of your goddamn business! I am traumatized! I am trying to do everyone here a favor in the middle of the worst thing that has ever happened to me and every single one of you has only made things ten times worse! You are not helping and I cannot do this anymore!” I was hysterically sobbing, Jack was stumbling over himself trying to apologize and get out of my way, and since literally everyone in the office was within earshot of me yelling, every other coworker was either staring at us horrified or guiltily trying to avoid eye contact with me. I didn’t have it in me to try and do anything else, so I walked to my desk, grabbed my keys, and left everything else behind.

Luckily I was able to get an emergency session with my therapist scheduled that evening, where we decided that a few days in an inpatient facility would be hugely beneficial in my recovery. I’m still frustrated with my office, because I don’t think that would have been necessary had they just listened to me, but it is what it is. I notified my immediate supervisor that I would be using PTO for the rest of the tax season, and that I was planning on returning at the end of April but I’d be in touch with more specific details when I was able.

My office pays for every employee and a plus one to go on a week long, all expenses paid vacation to Costa Rica right after tax season ends as a thank you for all of our hard work. I almost didn’t go because I was so afraid of seeing my coworkers again after my outburst, but I decided I’d worked too damn hard to turn down a very expensive stay in an all inclusive resort. The airport gate was the first time I’d seen anyone since my breakdown, and it was incredibly awkward. For the most part, people seemed too ashamed to talk to me at all. One of my supervisors did come over to personally apologize for not stepping in earlier, and said that the entire company really just wanted me to enjoy the vacation. She said she couldn’t think of a single member of our team who deserved it more than me, and that she didn’t want to get into things until we were actually back at work, but wanted to tell me that I would not be facing any repercussions so that I didn’t have to worry about it while I was supposed to be on vacation. She also let me know that the company would be upgrading me from economy to business on the flight there and back, giving me a gift certificate for the resort spa, issuing me a bonus in my next paycheck as a token of their appreciation for all my hard work, as well as granting me an extra week of PTO to replace the time off I’d had to use at the end of tax season. The resort ended up being big enough that I didn’t see a single one of my coworkers the entire week we were there, which I will forever be grateful for.

Seeing as my life is not an episode of Criminal Minds, I’m still pretty upset with the way my coworkers treated me in their quest for juicy information. However, the bonus I received will more than cover my mental health care expenses since I’m lucky enough to have very good health insurance, sitting in the sun on a beautiful beach did wonders for my state of mind, and not a single intrusive question has been asked since I’ve returned to the office. I’ve received handwritten apologies from both Jack and Jane that seem very genuine, my clients were all handled perfectly while I was out, and for the most part things have gone back to normal. My biggest takeaway is that I’m allowed to advocate for myself and my needs, and that even if it’s inconvenient, your company will always find a way to make it work. I will absolutely be taking the time off in the future if I need it, as I probably could have avoided a lot of the stress I’ve experienced over the past month if I had just done that from the start. Honestly I just hope I can move on, and that my coworkers have learned that a good bit of gossip is not more important than someone’s actual feelings!

{ 576 comments… read them below }

  1. Jessica*

    I know everyone means well, but can we not do the “I can’t believe she didn’t do XYZ” or “she should have done XYZ” or “I would have done XYZ” thing?

    Speaking as someone with who’s been assaulted, you don’t *know* how you’d react in that situation. People have different threat responses (flee/fight/freeze/fawn) and they’re not usually voluntary. Even people who have self-defense training sometimes freeze, and–especially if you have a freeze or fawn reaction–it can feel like criticism when people are like “why didn’t you knee him?” or “*I* would have punched him.” (People who freeze get shamed for “letting” it happen, and people who fawn–that is, try to de-escalate or defuse the situation–get shamed for “going along” with it.)

    Well, sometimes the answer is: I literally could not move. I couldn’t get the “kick him” signal or the “run” signal from my brain to my muscles. I thought of doing it, I tried to do it, and… nothing happened. Or sometimes it’s that you literally couldn’t even think of doing it. That in the moment, it doesn’t even occur to you that it’s an option because your physiological response is overwhelming and shutting down any rational functioning.

    If were OP and I were reading this (which I very much hope she is *not*) after having been traumatized by her attacker and then re-traumatized by her employer and coworkers, responses that can be read as “you should have done what I imagine I would have done when you were physically trapped by a man trying to force you to relieve your assault for him” can also be a form of re-traumatization.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Agreed, thank you. I’m removing the comments I’ve seen doing that because OP doesn’t need people second-guessing her response (and I know those comments are intended to be supportive but I don’t think they always land that way) and am moving this up to the top of the page so people hopefully see it before commenting.

    2. Retired But Still Herding Cats*

      Speaking as a long-ago assault survivor, I can confidently say that Jessica is 100% on target.

      Friends who armchair-quarterbacked my response after the fact mostly struck me as frightened by what had happened to me and reassuring themselves that it could never happen to them because they would have the presence of mind, in the moment, to react differently. (Of course, it never occurred to them that I did live to tell the tale… and no one after the fact could possibly know if they’d have been as “fortunate” in that regard, had they in fact been able to react as quickly and decisively as they imagined themselves doing.)

      Hopefully the LW in this case is indeed able to understand that the *vast* majority response is to applaud how perfectly she handled a situation that she never should have been subjected to.

      1. NotBatman*

        “Friends who armchair-quarterbacked my response after the fact mostly struck me as frightened by what had happened to me and reassuring themselves that it could never happen to them because they would have the presence of mind, in the moment, to react differently.”

        Truth. It’s a natural human impulse, but also a selfish one that should be quashed out of compassion for survivors.

    3. Ellie*

      Freeze and fawn reactions can save your life just as often as fight or flight ones do.

      1. Bambi Knows*

        I agree. My go-to is fawn and I do believe it has saved me more than once, although others may say “but why didn’t you …?”

        1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

          Thirding this – absolutely agree. I was recently in a situation that most likely *stayed* low-stakes because my default reaction was to fawn. And I even had (oblivious) friends just a few feet away, who, upon learning what I had dealt with/deflected kept telling me how I could have been more confrontational/signaled for backup.

          And it’s like – I handled it! It felt a little icky, but fawning kept it from escalating to something that would have either A) likely triggered a panic attack in me and/or B) gotten our kiddos involved and upset and possibly traumatized. Yes, I fawned. But everyone was safe and no one suffered harm as a result, including me.

    4. pandop*

      Our Staff Counselling service (at a University) also runs general personal development courses that people can book onto in through the normal training route, in addition to 1-1 counselling, and it was in one of those that I remember being told that current thinking is that ‘freeze’ is the earliest and most deeply ingrained of the threat responses.

    5. JSPA*

      there’s also generally a higher internal bar against
      a) kicking a coworker
      b) kicking anyone in your office setting who belongs there
      c) kicking someone whom you know believes they are trying to help
      d) kicking someone much more powerful than you

      I’m guessing some people may be feeling not that she SHOULD have kicked him, but that she showed incredible restraint in not doing so, and are praising her for it.

      But even that supposes that she was following a chosen path…and I can vouch that it feels super awkward when someone ascribes choice to a situation where you feel you acted on pure instinct, reflex and emotion.

      Super glad things worked out semi-tolerably in the end, and I hope that the LW can come to see her reactions as well-within the bounds of normal human behavior, given the totality of the situation. (I would be proud to have chosen her reaction, fwiw, while recognizing that it wasn’t a chosen reaction, apparently wouldn’t have been her chosen reaction, and that my thumbs-up means very little.)

      But LW, please no beating yourself up for not taking time off.

      Assault messes with you in insidious ways on multiple levels, making it really hard to predict your own needs (let alone the reactions and actions of coworkers) in advance. “Muddle through” is what the aftermath will most often feel like, regardless of steps taken or not taken.

      (Very proud of you for getting to the airport and onto the plane, though.)

    6. Fishsticks*

      This is the absolute perfect reply, thank you for it – and thanks to Allison for putting it at the top of the page.

    7. Spicy Tuna*

      Not assault, but I was very nearly hit by a car and found myself frozen into place. I could see the car taking a curve too quickly and I 100% knew the car wasn’t going to navigate it successfully and would come onto the sidewalk where I was standing with my bike waiting to cross. And…. I was frozen to the spot until the absolute last second. Total time elapsed was probably about 15 seconds but it felt like 15 minutes. I jumped out of the way literally at the last second (the car’s front bumper hit my bike tire). Why didn’t I move as soon as I saw the car? No idea, but I literally could not.

    1. LTR FTW*

      It’s seriously mind-boggling, the nerve of some people. I am so glad OP’s company did the right thing, I can imagine a lot of companies doubling down and penalizing OP instead of bending over backwards to make it right afterward. (Maybe OP’s company was afraid of a lawsuit!)

      I’m sorry all of this happened to you, OP.

      1. Veryanon*

        It was probably a combination of “fear of a lawsuit” and “sincerely wanting to do the right thing.” But I’m sorry for the OP that it had to get to that point. Physically trapping someone who’s experienced an assault? JFC.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          That was my thought too but at least someone in upper management realized how terribly OP was being treated by their coworkers and did something about it. OP, you are my hero for how you actually lost control at exactly the right moment and said exactly the right things to Jack. Since Jack and Jane were not listening to reason, I can’t think of any better way to get them to finally hear that what they were doing was absolutely the wrong way to act. I’m so so so so sorry you went through all this but I’m amazed at how you dealt with it all. Here’s a fist-bump of support, given through the internet.

            1. Antiqueight*

              +1000 to this too. Exact right response for the situation – do NOT feel bad about going off on Jack. I am delighted you didn’t actually have to see them for the vacation too and got to have a good time.

          1. GammaGirl1908*

            Co-sign. I’m so so so so sorry that this happened to LW and that the aftermath had to get to this point, but thank GODDESS the company got its act together.

            And big fat O.o to Jack and Jane.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              Yeah, you should have seen the size of my eyeballs when I was reading this update. O.O indeed.

          2. Goldenrod*

            “Since Jack and Jane were not listening to reason, I can’t think of any better way to get them to finally hear that”

            THIS! x1000!

            I am a big believer in the policy that MOST of the time, it’s better to stay cool, calm, and collected when provoked at work. Most of the time….

            HOWEVER, I am also a big believer in the exception to this – every once in a while, not only is it okay to lose your cool, but you SHOULD lose your cool, because sometimes it’s the only/best way to get your point across.

            OP, you tried the other ways and no one listened. You did EXACTLY the right thing at the right moment with the right people. That was 100% the most effective as well as morally right response.

            And I’m glad your company made some amends!! As well they should. well done!!!

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              “HOWEVER, I am also a big believer in the exception to this – every once in a while, not only is it okay to lose your cool, but you SHOULD lose your cool, because sometimes it’s the only/best way to get your point across.”

              Totally agree, Goldenrod.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                And it works because it is vanishingly rare for you to lose your cool.

                1. allathian*

                  Yes, this. It stops working if you lose your cool for every little thing. But when a person who has a reputation of being helpful, calm, and mainly cheerful loses their cool, people pay attention.

            2. Ally McBeal*

              100%. OP did everything right, including what she seems to think of as a screaming meltdown. Like, maybe that’s what it was? But it was warranted and necessary, apparently, given how awful her coworkers were/are. I would’ve cheered out loud if I weren’t sitting in my cubicle at the moment. This is the kind of incident that will make Jack and Jane think twice … thrice, even… before pestering anyone for grossly inappropriate details.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                Considering the wide array of possible responses to someone physically larger than you intentionally cornering you, demanding compliance, and not allowing you to retreat… let’s just say Jack is very lucky OP only screamed at them.

                Kudos to management finally taking the right actions. If your coworkers are made uncomfortable about the way they’ve been treating you… GOOD.

          3. Csethiro Ceredin*

            I feel like Jane really wanted to know the story and deluded herself that it was for OP’s sake. It’s prurient and entitled and gross, and I hope she got some real consequences. And Jack… I can’t conceive of this level of misjudgment. It’s truly bonkers.

            1. KB*

              There is a certain percentage of society that genuinely believes they have the right to know everything first and the ‘responsibility’ to share it with everyone else, this being used as their excuse for being disgustingly intrusive (think of the people sitting behind Carrie Fisher on the plane when she had her stroke who tweeted her family about it before the plane even landed and who, when called out on it, said ‘we thought they should be told’).

              When my mother had terminal cancer, I wanted to write a book called ‘Are you okay?’ because there three types of people who ask that question: those who genuinely care, those who feel like they ought to ask because it’s the right thing to do, and those who have to get all the news so they can share it with other people. Jack and Jane are definitely in the third group.

              1. Dog momma*


                all these people just really wanted is gossip fodder. They don’t really care. And Jack deserved exactly what he got..and more. That’s assault, plain and simple. Hopefully Jack and Jane were warned this is a fire able offense if it ever happens again. Too bad the supervisor didn’t shut this down asap bc I’d consider speaking to a lawyer. And getting medical LOA. But at the time the OP was extremely traumatized.

                1. TootsNYC*

                  I thnk the biggest “you should have” conversations we should have here are the ones where we talk about how to recognize this as a supervisor and as a colleague, and how we need to be more forceful in shutting that shit down.

                  And as a bystander in nontraumatic gossip situations, we can be a voice for the dignity of and respect owed to people in general, and a voice against prying and gossip.

          4. Amy peralta*

            But they didn’t.

            They cleaned up a crisis after she pushed to her breaking point, but at least one supervisor was aware and did nothing until LW’s revictimization required hospitalization.

            That’s a bad, bad company.

            1. Sly*

              Agreed. I’m also seeing a lack of concrete consequences for jack and Jane. Very troubling. OP deserved a lot more respect.

              1. BubbleTea*

                The fact that OP hasn’t told us what she was told (if anything) about consequences for J&J doesn’t mean there weren’t or won’t be any. If I’m reading correctly, OP may not actually have been back in the office yet. Plus it’s common not to share details of disciplinary processes.

          5. Ellie*

            Yes, do not feel bad about going off on Jack. You were pushed past breaking point, it happens, and he deserved it.

            I’ve lost it exactly twice in my life, once was hours after my wedding, after enduring a day’s full of particularly horrible comments by 2 individuals (no-one else seemed to be aware of it, but it was a deliberate attempt to ruin something I’d tried really hard to get perfect), and once on the poor nurses after being badgered for four days straight about not being able to breastfeed. I don’t blame myself, it makes a big impression when someone who is usually calm and collected completely loses it, uses language they usually wouldn’t. It’s such a shame when it has to get to that point, but it can also be a wake-up call that you need help.

            1. CadLady*

              Both my “losing it” moments (although nothing nearly this dramatic) were in hospital settings supporting my husband. One nurse skipped a much needed pain killer dose because he was sleeping and set him back an entire day with agony on getting him to the point of managed pain. I went off on the Dr for that one.

              The other was a later surgery where none of the painkillers were working, nurses were advocating for a different path, and the baby-dr was resisting. I looked him straight in the eyes and said my husband is in agony, why won’t you help him? Baby-dr walked out. Not to much later they tried the alternate path and it worked.

              1. BubbleTea*

                I had to call the hospital and pretty much berate the senior nurse for the total failure by the entire team to provide any kind of nutrition for my ex, whose digestive system was non-functional, and the alternative feeding methods removed due to infection and then just… not replaced, for a FULL WEEK. Asking them “would you allow any other patient to starve to death on your ward?” did the trick and they’d inserted a new feeding line by the end of the day. Shouldn’t be necessary. Sometimes highly effective.

          6. lnelson1218*

            Glad to hear that OP is on the road to recovery.
            It is unfortunate that people in this case Jane and Jack don’t listen to the polite versions “I don’t want to talk about it” and need to be screamed at to listen.
            Whatever the employer’s motions were it is good that OP got some extra healing time.

          7. Princess Sparklepony*

            I really wish there was a like button. Yes to being the perfect thing to do at the moment.

            I’m just lucky that I’ve never had to find out what my fight or flight would be because it would definitely be Frozen to the spot unable to move. I’m bad in emergencies.

        2. Cake or Death*

          How about just physically trapping ANYONE at work and refusing to let them leave until they answer you? To me, that alone is a firing offense. No one should be able to get away with physically intimidating anyone at work. It’s just 10 million times worse in this context.

          1. duinath*

            yes, this. i’m glad op seems to be recovering! i just wish jane and jack were both fired and escorted out of the building for their complete lack of judgement. oof. how anyone could ever think that was a good idea is beyond me.

          2. Ally McBeal*

            That part made me think of the LW who bit her coworker when he wouldn’t let her leave the room. I know OP says she has bite marks from the assault… Jack should feel lucky he doesn’t have bite marks on himself.

            1. hbc*

              Sorry, but that coworker wouldn’t let the biter *enter* a room from a hallway. She got a lot more sympathy from people who misinterpreted that she was trapped, and there’s a huge difference between someone blocking an entrance to a confined space versus an exit.

          3. Five is right out*

            This! And asking a large male to be one the one to badger her? I just can’t with people.

            1. Chexwarrior*

              Because the best way for someone to feel like they’re protected by a big strong man, is to have a big strong man menace them until they give him what he wants. It makes perfect sense…

              1. STAT!*

                “But … but … I’m a GOOD person, aren’t I? I am! I’m a GOOD person! So everything I do is GOOD! And everything I want is GOOD!! I’m only doing this for her own GOOD!!!”. Yeah Jack WTF.

                1. Erin*

                  I’m just picturing the scene in crazy ex-girlfriend where Rebecca sings “I’m a good person” and threatens people in the restaurant until they agree with her that she’s a good person.

          4. Hannah Lee*

            Yes, whatever the reasons he deluded himself with, Jack was SOOOOO far out of line with that behavior, he should have been yeeted to the sun and beyond.

            Any time you are using a personal advantage, such as physical height, strength, authority, control over exits, control over a moving vehicle, to prevent someone from moving away from you if they choose to? You are, in fact, TA.

            I don’t care if you are a parent tickling a child who does not want to be tickled, a partner clutching the wrist of a partner you are preventing from leaving your bed or the room, a co-worker blocking an exit or bullying a subordinate to remain in a place, no need to wonder “AITA?” YATA. And you may also be committing a crime.

            Don’t do it. Just Do Not Do It.

          5. elle *sparkle emoji**

            Truly, especially when OP still had visible bruises and teeth marks. Like connect the dots people! It doesn’t take a mindreader to guess OP might react especially strongly to being physically cornered. (not that her reaction was unreasonable or unwarranted. I think screaming at Jack was very appropriate)

        3. nobadcats*

          My gawd. Yes. And a man doing the trapping too, how fvcking awful and traumatizing.

        4. JessaB*

          This, I cringed in sympathy for the OP when I read that. That guy was completely lacking common sense. Okay the guy was banana crackers. You don’t trap someone who was trapped and assaulted. I’m so glad the company as a whole did better, even if they didn’t step up when they should have, I think they learnt that they have to step in if gods forbid anything happens to anyone else.

          I’m also kind of amazed at the how the company handled it once they got off the stick. Excellent giving the OP enough space on the holiday to heal and rest.

          1. nora*

            or trap anyone at all, ever (unless you are performing a legit citizen’s arrest)! that is not how you treat another adult!

        5. CountryLass*

          I know, its fairly obvious that SOMETHING has happened to her, and that chances are it was by someone stronger/more physically imposing than OP, so I cannot fathom why Jane thought she needed to get someone STRONGER than OP to talk to in this fashion. I’m hoping that it was genuinely meant to be helpful and it just landed WAAAAY off base. Surely the ‘right’ way for the staff to handle it was for one person, ideally a supervisor or manager, to sit her down on the first day, ask if she is ok, does she want to talk about it, and what does she need? Then agree on what information/statement will be passed to the rest of the staff.

          1. Seashell*

            The only thing I can think of is that Jane thought Jack could intimidate/beat up whoever assaulted OP (whether co-worker or boyfriend). Not a great plan, but that could have been her mindset.

        6. Project Management Princess*

          Jane and Jack deserve a slap on the face, with a chair, for just thinking that was an appropriate way to approach OP.

          OP going ballistic on Jack was the very least that office full of emotional toddlers deserved.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        Seriously. I’m sorry that OP was subjected to that on top of surviving a traumatic assault, and I am completely aghast at Jane’s and Jack’s conduct. Trapping someone who was recently assaulted in a confined space until they share things they have clearly stated they do not wish to share? Their lack of compassion and judgment is astounding.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        The fact that people can look at somebody’s actual suffering and think of it as a storyline is…wow.

        I’m so sorry you had to deal with all this on top of the original assault, OP, and frankly am proud of you for blowing up at Jack, even though I wish you hadn’t had to! When people take things that far out of line sometimes only a real explosion can wake them up.

        1. TootsNYC*

          This “turning someone into a story line or character” is kind of an amazing thing.
          I used to work for a company run by someone famous (think Martha Stewart, Oprah, etc.). I often didn’t tell people who I worked for, because it was just uncomfortable to listen to the comments people made. I tried hard to see her as a person, and it was weird to hear people talk about her as if she was a character.

          Even inside the company, it sometimes happened, and I’ve seen it with executive-suite people.

          It’s the same prodcess that lets people treat marginalized groups badly.

          1. Oenotropae*

            You’re a regular commenter I feel like I’ve often learned from, but I’m still sitting here genuinely wide-eyed at the implication that the dehumanization Martha Stewart experiences as a celebrity is the same that marginalized people experience just trying to live our lives

            1. BubbleTea*

              I think you’re misinterpreting. The common factor is the mental process of the person forgetting that they’re being entertained by a human being. It’s not a comparison of circumstances of the people being treated as a sitcom.

            2. Rando with opinions*

              I mean, TootsNYC is right. It is the same process. You are also right. They are not the same thing at all.

            3. elle *sparkle emoji**

              I think TootsNYC is talking about how when some people are interested in salacious gossip(as Jack and Jane saw OP’s ordeal) they stop thinking of the humans involved as people. Martha Stewart and Oprah clearly not dealing with OP’s situation but the characters-not-people mental framing is similar.

    2. Artemesia*

      I cannot fathom anyone whether some busy body told them to or not thinking corner someone who had been assaulted and refusing to let them leave unless they ‘spilled’ could be either helpful or appropriate. My god!!!!!!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I mean, Jane is bad enough (and her behavior was heinous) but what the bloody frozen hell was Jack even thinking??? Who listens to this from a coworker and goes you’re right, the real way to help her is to make ourselves the star of a Lifetime Movie and enact a big dramatic scene where I, a larger, stronger person, physically block a traumatized person and demand she tell me about the worst moments of her entire life?

        1. different seudonym*

          This is on the nose. They got this *&^% from TV, and the convention that confrontation always leads to healing. TV does it that way in order to end in time for the commercial, though. It’s not, you know, REAL.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            100% agree. It’s soooooo maddening to see stuff like that work on TV but it is absolutely not how healing works IRL. I am not a therapist or any kind of health professional, mental or otherwise, but even *I* know that confrontation not only doesn’t work it can actively lead to harm. As we clearly can see here, unfortunately. Hey, there, Janes and Jacks of the world, listen up: leave the mental health treatment to the professionals, kthx? Kthxbai.

            1. summerofdiscontent*

              LCSW here who specializes in trauma. Fun fact: the aftermath of trauma (especially anything to do with sexual violence) can be even more destabilizing and traumatic based on how the people around the person support or don’t support them. This sounds like she was being actively re-traumatized by her co-workers, good intentions or not. Good intentions do not always equal good actions.

              OP, I’m sending you so much healing and felt safety. And I’m glad you ripped them a new one. That might make them think twice in the future about catapulting over people’s boundaries.

              1. Miri*

                Thank you for sharing your expertise here – I didn’t know that and appreciated learning about it.

          2. Rose*

            Nah, none of this was about helping OP, at all. It as about them wanting information and trying to force OP to give it to them, and , when she said no, changing tactics (“this is for your own good!”) to be able to continue to harass her. Even if some huge confrontation was what OP needed, no reasonable person would decide that as a coworker they are the main character of this story and it should come from them. No one with any intention of helping would try to physically force her to do anything.

            These people did not give a f^<€ about OP and her heeling. That’s not what their behavior was about.

            1. 1LFTW*

              Nah, none of this was about helping OP, at all. It as about them wanting information and trying to force OP to give it to them

              You’re right. All of this was about them and none of it was about OP’s needs. I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were using OP’s trauma to get their true crime fix.

            2. JSPA*

              While i’m overall in agreement, let’s remember that in an actual domestic abuse situation, it’s actually very common for someone to be separated from all of their family and friends, except for acquaintances in the workplace. We have had multiple letters here where someone who was experiencing abuse and up turning to their coworker or their boss…or even making up a report of financial wrongdoings so that someone from the police would come and investigate!

              The problem isn’t that they considered the possibility that, as coworkers, they might be the appropriate people to help.

              It’s that they poked and poked and poked and poked, heard each and every time that the poking was painful and unwelcome… and then worked to trap the person they said they wanted to help, so that they could poke harder.

            3. Slow Gin Lizz*

              Yes, I definitely got “main character syndrome” from those two. And I agree with 1LFTW’s assertion that they were trying to get their true crime fix. Once again I say let’s leave the difficult post-trauma work to the professionals, ok?

            4. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

              TBH I believe that the sort of people who would act like Jane and Jack here have such low levels of self-awareness and EQ that they probably can’t meaningfully distinguish between “I’m trying to help!” and “I’m inserting myself because I want drama!” in their own minds. The world just plays out storylines for them where the thing that makes them happy is the Right thing.

        2. Ellie*

          I can believe this level of entitlement of these two, but the whole office? Why did nobody intervene? Why didn’t the supervisor intervene, as soon as Jack started in? I’ve only been trapped once at work by a much larger man (he was a bully but he probably didn’t think about the dynamics) and as soon as it happened, another man from my team immediately intervened, and another couple came over and just kind of hovered around, in case they were needed. How can a whole office just let something like that happen? It is very, very weird, they should be ashamed.

          1. MK*

            It’s possible that no one was paying attention to them till the OP started yelling, especially if the kitchen was in a separate room. Also, sometimes people don’t know how to react when something outrageous is happening.

          2. TootsNYC*

            It’s also possible they feared intervening would create more harmful drama.

            And they may not have known for sure how to handle it.

            I think this is why our conversation here should focus on how WE can learn from this situation. How WE can act in the future, and in the everyday, to lessen the nosiness and voyeuristic tendencies in the cultures we live in.

            How we can say, when the LW is not around, “Jane, this just feels really nosy. If she wants to tell us, she will. I think we shouldn’t be prying like this.”

            How we can coach ourselves, as a supervisor, to say preemptively, “Jane, Jack, everyone, I do not want you to be speculating among yourselves, and I do not want you to be asking her any questions whatsoever. None of us knows what happened, and she will share if and when she wants. In the meantime, simply do your business a normal way, and be kind and patient.”

    3. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      Absolute agreement here!

      When I read about LW going off on Jack the way she did, a part of me was cheering inwardly while another part was cringing at the position she had been forced into. I was so mad at Jack that I could hardly stand it while at the same time feeling embarrased for him that he was stupid enough to follow Jane’s ridiculous advice and try to corner LW that way and mad as hell at Jane for being such a gigantic jerk! SO many emotions all at once, just from reading this! I can’t even imagine what it was like for LW, but wow, was that ever cathartic to read!

      LW, if you’re reading this, I’m so glad things finally worked out the way they did but also very sorry that some of your coworkers were terrible and/or stupid enough to act the way rather did. I’m also really happy that you got to enhoy that great trip, and that your supervisor was able to pull her head out of her ass long enough to do those nice things for you. (I can’t help wondering wtf your supervisors were doing when toys coworkers were being so horrible, but all’s well that ends (relatively) well, I guess. Best wishes to you as you move forward snd continue to heal inside and out!

  2. RabbitRabbit*

    Wow. So many of your coworkers failed you utterly. Jane is especially out of her mind to think that a man cornering a woman who’d obviously been assaulted was a good idea. I’m glad you are able to take some time for yourself.

    1. D'Arcy*

      I would say that Jack is *far more* out of his mind for actually doing it than Jane for suggesting it, since Jack is a grown man who should damn well know better.

      1. irritable vowel*

        Yeah, Jack should have been disciplined/fired for that. Not appropriate in any circumstance, but especially that one.

        1. MM*

          He very well may have been; OP wouldn’t necessarily know. He and Jane could have sent apology letters on their own initiative, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were part of a bigger disciplinary move from above while OP was out.

    2. Observer*

      No, as bad as Jane was, Jack is . . . special. How DARE he try to physically force someone to share information?! I don’t care WHO told him to do it! He’s not a child.

      1. Veryanon*

        Jane and Jack should both either be fired or at the very least receive a final written warning.

        1. OrigCassandra*

          Yes, I also hope something is in their files. OP may well not know, since personnel matters are confidential, but the handwritten apologies sound like one piece of a more comprehensive approach to documentation and discipline. Here’s hoping.

          OP, I’m horrified at what was done to you, and very glad you’re doing better. I hope with all my heart things continue to improve. Much love and strength to you.

      2. RabbitRabbit*

        I singled out Jane because so many women have experienced it themselves or had other women close to them who had done so. Yet Jane was apparently unable to summon the least amount of “This Happened To Someone I Love So Now I Can Empathize With It”* understanding of fear triggers.

        Jack’s apparently willing to be an abusive thug on command which is a whole other thing.

        I hope they truly do understand exactly what they did.

        * See also: Any time someone publicly has a change of heart over an issue because someone they know had it happen to them, even though they had seen stories of it happening to others and been unmoved.

        1. STAT!*

          Jane may well be the kind of person with whom others, even – or perhaps especially – relatives, do not share information about bad things that have happened to them. With good reason, apparently.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        This is a good thought exercise for people who are considering embarking on an extraordinarily bad course of action: when your superiors or the cops ask you what in the hell you were thinking, is your main line of defense going to be “a co-worker told me to?”

        1. Francie Foxglove*

          Or “A guy on the phone told me to,” as in the McDonald’s strip-search cases.

    3. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      Jack should have been fired on the spot for that, bare minimum. Holy crap.

      1. learnedthehardway*

        Both of them should have been fired.

        And frankly, the OP’s company leadership should have reached out to her while she was on leave to apologize and let her know what was being done about the situation. I don’t really think what they did in terms of the bonus, etc. was enough. There should have been a personal, proactive outreach (not just waiting to see if she showed up at the airport).

        1. TootsNYC*

          this is a good point! and a good takeaway.

          When you’re the person with authority, and private convo in advance would have been necessary.

          They had those convos among themselves–they prepared the upgrade, etc., etc. They should have given her that info in advance. If only by letter, but even better by phone.

      2. Empress Ki*

        Isn’t even illegal to physically block someone from moving away from you?
        There is a law in the UK against fake emprisonment. I think that may have been fake emprisonment, even for a short time. He should not only been fired, but also the police should be involved.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          It might be in the US but I have doubts as to how seriously it would be taken by the authorities (YMMV).

          I think the “I bit my coworker on the arm” letter involved the triggering incident being the guy blocking the letter writer in an office with an outstretched arm. I know I’ve read a number of other posts here with coworkers/managers physically blocking doorways to force conversations.

          1. Chirpy*

            Customers do it to me on a fairly regular basis. Like, guys, just ask your question, you don’t have to restrain me to talk.

          2. Healthcare Manager*

            The guy in ‘bit my coworker on the arm’ was stopping letter writer from *entering* a room, which is not the same as stopping someone from being able to escape in anyway (what Jack did).

            This is false imprisonment and the police should take it seriously.

        2. Twix*

          AFAIK it’s a crime everywhere in the US to forcibly detain someone, although the specifics vary by jurisdiction. In my state this would fall under Unlawful Restraint, and a man blocking the door to prevent a woman from leaving during a domestic dispute, even briefly, is a textbook example. However, the legal standard requires “intent to interfere substantially with that person’s liberty”, so it is definitely context-dependent.

    4. DryEraseAficionado*

      Srsly. The behavior of the coworkers reads like a master class in what NOT to do.

    5. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      Absolute agreement here!

      When I read about LW going off on Jack the way she did, a part of me was cheering inwardly while another part was cringing at the position she had been forced into. I was so mad at Jack that I could hardly stand it while at the same time feeling embarrased for him that he was stupid enough to follow Jane’s ridiculous advice and try to corner LW that way and mad as hell at Jane for being such a gigantic jerk! SO many emotions all at once, just from reading this! I can’t even imagine what it was like for LW, but wow, was that ever cathartic to read!

      LW, if you’re reading this, I’m so glad things finally worked out the way they did but also very sorry that some of your coworkers were terrible and/or stupid enough to act the way rather did. I’m also really happy that you got to enhoy that great trip, and that your supervisor was able to pull her head out of her ass long enough to do those nice things for you. (I can’t help wondering wtf your supervisors were doing when toys coworkers were being so horrible, but all’s well that ends (relatively) well, I guess. Best wishes to you as you move forward snd continue to heal inside and out!

    6. onetimethishappened*

      When I read what Jack did, my pulse literally started racing. What person thinks that is ok to do to anyone, let alone a woman who has just been assaulted. I am so sorry OP. I hope you get the rest and recovery you deserve.

      1. ferrina*

        Right?! Physically trapping someone is never okay, and when that person has been recently traumatized….just wtf, Jack?

        OP’s response was correct. I’m sure it didn’t feel like it, but her brain did the exact right thing to protect her. She wasn’t the one that was being a jerk- she was forced into a horrible situation (physically trapped and intimidated) after enduring repeated harrassment, and she reacted in a normal, healthy way. It is good to have that breaking point- that is what protects us from accepting that terrible behavior as normal.

        Everyone around her recognized that her response was normal and healthy. It sounds like Jane and Jack were spoken to by management, and may even genuinely realize how out of line they were. OP’s supervisor and company realized that they should have stepped in sooner, and they made up for it as best they could with the business class update and resort perks.

        Best of luck in your healing and recovery, OP! Sending you lots of love.

  3. Wintermute*

    “Seeing as my life is not an episode of Criminal Minds, I’m still pretty upset with the way my coworkers treated me in their quest for juicy information.”

    That is a great way to frame it, and I think it gets at the much larger issue. Our obsession as a society with true crime comes from a lot of places, but it often involves treating crime victims pretty awfully and it’s not okay.

    1. Moira Rose*

      Oh, I didn’t see this before I posted a very similar thing. I think we all need to be very cognizant of the dangers of treating True Crime as an endless source of entertainment.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        I personally knew a family whose tragedy made national news and though it’s been years, there are still random references to it when similar tragedies occur. Their pain isn’t your entertainment. There are always people with a personal connection to almost every tragdy.

      2. ferrina*


        Pretend crime? Sure, I love a good Agatha Christie or Columbo episode.
        Real crime? No, absolutely not. Those are real people who will carry around the emotional (and sometimes physical) scars forever, who will never get their old life back, whose sense of security and safety is forever shattered, whose worst moment will be more horrific than what most of us will ever need to deal with and that moment will play out over and over and over. True trauma is not entertaining.

    2. GreenShoes*

      I was thinking the same thing. I hate how crime and horrible things have become entertainment and I know I’ve mentioned it on here before that I really hate how disassociated people become when it comes to the “True Crime” genre and the fact that there are real victims out there.

      For the OP:
      I’m sorry that you were the victim of both the assault and your horrible coworkers. I am glad that you took a stand even if it was a very loud and shouty one. I am even more glad that you were able to access help to process what happened to you and sound like you’ve begun to heal a bit.

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        I’m glad that is WAS a loud and shouty stance. Jack and Jane weren’t going to believe LW meant business until she took it up to an 11. Normally I am not in favor of shouting at your coworkers, but it had to happen.

        1. Francie Foxglove*

          And everyone heard it at the same time, so no chance for Jane or Jack to spin it their way.

        2. allathian*

          Yes, this. I’m sorry that the horrible coworkers pushed the LW’s buttons to this point, but sometimes shouting is the only thing that will get the message across. The whole office heard it at the same time, so I’m hoping that this really is the end of the matter.

          I’m so glad that the LW has access to a therapist and even inpatient mental health care.

  4. Lacey*

    I’m so sorry that it got that bad. You are 100% correct that if they’d just respected your privacy none of that escalation would have been necessary.

    I am glad you had a good therapist and insurance to take care of you when you needed it.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Yup! If people had heard the polite no, there would have been no need for the LW to defend herself from the awfulness.

    2. atalanta0jess*

      Yeah, OP, you should feel 0% bad about your actions. Honestly, they were completely appropriate given the circumstances (which were completely inappropriate and horrifying..)

  5. ThatGirl*

    WOW I cannot imagine what was going through Jake’s mind. WOW.

    But LW, I am so glad you got the time off and help you needed, and that you were able to advocate for yourself. I wish you continued healing.

    1. Nina Bee*

      Exactly, what in the WORLD was he thinking with the arm on the wall/cornering an assault survivor like that??

      1. RVA Cat*

        I’m glad he apologized, but Jack can go eat a whole bag of….crow.

  6. KB*

    OP, your experience & your update takes my breath away – I am so sorry for all you have had to deal with. I’m sorry that you were pushed so far but you had EVERY RIGHT to react to that co-worker who clearly has no idea how to appropriately interact with another human being. I wish you all the peace & space as you move forward. Know that all of AAM is rooting for you.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Captain Awkward has talked a couple times about how occasionally losing your sh*t at people who keep disrespecting you and your boundaries can be very helpful for resetting expectations. They learn that they don’t get to just disregard what you’re saying and everything will go on as before. There will be consequences of doing this that they won’t like.

      1. TRH*

        Hi! Do you have links to those talks? I would love to read them. I do love Captain Awkward.

          1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            Thanks Zelda! I think it was the second one I was mostly thinking of.

    2. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      Honestly, He’s lucky she didn’t knee him in the crotch!!!

      I think the whole company needs to take some HR training on how NOT to confront a coworker.

      1. Becky*

        I mean, she had a cup of hot tea in her hand. I’m impressed with her restraint tbh

      2. Francie Foxglove*

        That’s where I thought it was going when she said “I kind of feel bad about what happened next…”

        1. Ellie*

          Me too… I figured she threw her tea on him, or slammed the cup onto his hand. When she just wrote about ‘losing it’, well… of course.

    3. EPLawyer*

      It took your breath away — I literally screamed OH NO when I saw Jane’s suggestion. Thankfully I work from home and am alone right now. Just I cannot fathom how ANYWAY though that TRAPPING someone who had just been assaulted was a good idea. I mean insisting on info is bad enough but TRAPPING SOMEONE until they give it up is INSANE at the best of times. At a vulnerable time is literal torture.

      Oh and I’m sorry — OP would not be looking at consequences????? For what???? Refusing to be tortured? Please tell me both Jane and Jack DID face consequences.

      I’m glad you got the help you needed. Clearly the REST of the company didn’t care it was tax season when pushing you for information seemed more important than doing their damn jobs.

      1. mf*

        Yes, I’m not an assault victim and I (a cis woman) can imagine being panicked and upset if a male coworker tried to trap me like that. That’s inexcusable behavior under any circumstances.

        1. The Rafters*

          Also not an assault victim, but I reacted pretty much the same way as OP when a contractor pushed my chair against my desk so I couldn’t move, b/c he wanted to try to force me to listen to his nonsense. It was about work, but even so … (He was later fired for unrelated reasons).

          OP, good for you! I still can’t figure out why these 2 tools thought it would be a good idea to keep pestering you and physically cornering you!

        2. Relentlessly Socratic*

          Seriously I am neither small nor weak, but I really Do Not Appreciate men deliberately flexing size or strength at me.

          1. Zephy*

            Same. I don’t even appreciate men sitting down and just being loud at me. Like, sir, being the loudest person in the room doesn’t make you the rightest, and you’re still just as wrong as you were the first 5 times you said your piece. Please leave.

        3. Wintermute*

          I think just about anyone would react that way, of any gender but especially a woman given the power dynamics at play. you don’t need a history of trauma to react badly to someone physically corralling you and making it impossible to get away! If you have such a history, of course, that makes it all the worse and he should know that.

      2. Katherine*

        I read that more as, “Don’t worry, nobody blames you for what happened. As far as your superiors are concerned, you did nothing wrong.” And I’m hoping the handwritten apologies were part of a comprehensive package of consequences. A lot of companies keep disciplinary actions confidential, so, hopefully, Jane and John both got a bloody strip torn off them.

    4. Holly*

      I was going to basically write this exact comment. It is awful that you got pushed so far and also a person experiencing the natural consequence of their terrible behaviour isn’t something you need to feel badly about, at all (though it’s understandable, as a reasonable person that you might feel that way). I am so sorry you had to go through this though, deeply unfair, and your coworkers should absolutely be facing further HR type consequences.

  7. Sunny days are better*

    Holy smokes, that’s just… wow!

    I will say though, I am impressed with how hard the company backpedaled to try and make it up to you after you (rightfully) lost it on Jack

    I would imagine that other companies would react that you were entirely in the wrong and then try to discipline you for it, so nice to see that someone higher up realized how badly they effed up and tried to fix it as best as they could.

    OP, I hope that you are doing better!

    1. Observer*

      I will say though, I am impressed with how hard the company backpedaled to try and make it up to you after you (rightfully) lost it on Jack

      Not so impressed. I mean it was ok, but what Jane did was pretty close to a firing offense, imo. What Jack did? Yeah, it would have been fine to fire him, and if not ABSOLUTELY last chance. I don’t care that he “meant well.”

      1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        I really hope they made that clear to him and that’s what his personnel file reflects. Shudder. I cannot imagine being blocked in by a man bigger than me – at any time, but much less so soon after this terrible event.

  8. T.N.H.*

    Jane’s gossipy nature is terrible but what Jack did was monstrous. I hope he got a serious talking to by the senior leaders. It’s such bad judgement that I would question his ability to remain in his job if I were his manager.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Seriously. It is not OK to block someone from leaving a room. That’s abuser s***. To be clear, I’m not saying Jack is an abuser. Just that this is the type of things abusers do. And it’s scary as hell.

      1. Martin Blackwood*

        In some jurisdictions, the threat of bodily harm is counted as assault, and blocking someone from leaving can be considered a threat of bodily harm (IANAL, neither was the person who told me this, it was a basic “How does the law work” class in high school) which is to say, OP, it was absoluely that bad! You reacted reasonably! I wish this hadn’t happened to you.

    2. Office Skeptic*

      Yes, I’d think there would be some sort of consequences for Jack – no matter what his motivation, physically trapping your co-worker somewhere is seriously messed up! How can they think that’s not a fireable offense?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Just as the basic rule is “don’t grab someone unless they’re on fire or about to be hit by a car,” it’s “do not block someone’s way unless it is to keep them from running into traffic or a similar immediate threat.”

        It’s horrendous that grown people have to be told this, but here we are.

    3. Lacey*

      Yeah, why didn’t he tell Jane he wasn’t going to do anything of the kind? That’s really, really poor judgement.

      1. Medium Sized Manager*

        My most generous read is that he got advice from a woman about how a woman would need to be cared for after assault and thought “she would know more than me about this specific situation,” but it’s pretty unbelievable all the same.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          That was my read too, that Jack is just an incredible dunderhead who couldn’t do his own critical thinking in a situation and took bad advice. But I cannot, in any contortion of the mind, see myself physically imposing myself over an assault victim “for her own good” – at WORK no less. So the only justification I have for him brings me full circle to “no human being can be that clueless” but…here we are.

          1. Observer*

            Yeah. And if that’s what was going on in his mind, then you have to wonder about his judgement.

            So. If he’s dealing with clients then I’d be worrying what other stupidities (and worse) he’s going to come up with.

        2. mf*

          My guess is that Jack has benevolent sexism issues and sees himself as a big strong man who can save small, helpless women.

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          I suppose this is plausible, in that I’ve heard of plenty of people talked into similar terrible decisions in the right set of circumstances, but seriously–this is why critical thinking skills are necessary and why it’s so terrifying to watch them be destroyed in our society.

        4. CurrentlyBill*

          Yeah. I think that takes him out of the category of “evil and malevolent” while still keeping him in the category of “idiot who needs to be fired and possibly prosecuted.”

        5. Ellie*

          My most generous read is that, as a very large man, he’s never thought about being assaulted at all.

          1. RVA Cat*

            Does it ever occur to these men that they could, say, go to prison? Or even end up in a bar fight with some bigger, badder dudes?

        6. Irish Teacher*

          Even that would bother me, because it works on the premise that women are a monolith and that he doesn’t need to ask the LW what she wants or take any notice of her body language or reactions to see whether she is comfortable or uncomfortable because another woman told him she’d be comfortable, which…kind of assumes women are interchangeable and that the LW is incapable of speaking for herself and needs another woman to translate her “strange woman reactions that are incomprehensible to a man.”

          Assuming Jane knows better than him might be someway reasonable but assuming she knows better than the LW is definitely a problem and given that he blocked the LW’s path, he did seem to know that she didn’t want to talk to him and this wasn’t just a case of her being embarrassed to ask him and needing another woman to act as intermediary.

          Not disagreeing with you or anything, just appalled at Jack whatever his reasons. There is no excuse for assuming “a woman doesn’t want to talk to me about her experience; clearly, I must stop her from leaving and force her to do so because I know what is best for her better than she does.”

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Right?! I was screaming at my monitor when I got to that part. TF is wrong with Jack!?!?! He came up from behind? physically blocked OP’s exit? said he WOULD NOT LET OP LEAVE?!?! Every place I’ve worked at, there’d be multiple calls to HR about someone who did this.

      1. Some words*

        I don’t think it’s too late to refer Jack’s actions specifically to HR. In fact I think it’s very important that Jack speak with someone who can help him understand how very very wrong his actions were and figure out what in his mind made it okay to him, and even heroic.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          It’s not clear this didn’t happen in LW’s absence. Given how management/HR treated her in her return, it appears that the whole episode was discussed at length at high level, which suggests other action was taken.

        2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          From the original letter, the company is too small to have an HR department. So it really was upper management who stepped in when the issue was, well, forced into their hands.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        I mean if I were HR and I had this reported to me, my first thought would be “please tell me he was drunk/high or actively hallucinating.” That’s, like, the BEST case scenario for something like this.

    5. Observer*

      It’s such bad judgement that I would question his ability to remain in his job if I were his manager.

      Agreed completely!

    6. OhNoYouDidn't*

      I’d have fired him. Blocking someone’s exit purposely and insisting they disclose something to you is inexcusable. Totally fireable in my opinion. Jane … I probably would have at least suspended her without pay if I had not fired her. OP’s leadership utterly failed here.

    7. Clorinda*

      There’s a reason Jane chose Jack for this errand, and not some other guy.

      1. T.N.H.*

        Oof I didn’t think of that. He may have a history of bad decision making or is perhaps an easy target for manipulation. Tbh, it doesn’t matter. He’s proven that he can’t make ethical decisions and I don’t know how you keep him on after this.

        1. mf*

          “He’s proven that he can’t make ethical decisions”

          Good point. Accounting is just about the last business where you want to keep an employee who is either easy to manipulate or unethical (or both).

          1. Bromaa*

            Especially tax accounting! I worked with my dad and sister doing taxes when sister and I were in our early teens; it was our first job and we were doing just data entry kind of stuff, cross-checking CC receipts, etc. It was a job that required a degree of circumspection and attention to detail, but not an inappropriate amount for a teenager. My sister got lazy with the receipts and just okayed them all one day, doing spot-checking instead of one-by-one checking; my dad happened to review them that day. He found a major tipping error, which is what we were checking for. My sister was dismissed IMMEDIATELY.

            (There was no grounding or other punishment except a stern discussion — and the loss of the entire job to her sibling, me. Since it paid quite well for a teenage job, that was lesson enough.)

    8. MEH Squared*

      I keep coming back to this. What the hell was Jack thinking?! I’ve read all the reasons/excuses offered below, and none of them mitigate the horror of what he did. He should be out of there for what he did, no matter his intentions.

  9. exoboist1*

    Oh my god. I am so sorry that you had to go through that! What the actual F is wrong with your coworkers!?! You were entirely justified in your reactions and I’m glad that the final trip was healing for you.

  10. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    While it took too long (far too long) for them to get the picture, I’m glad that they at least tried to turn things around and make it clear that you were in the right all along. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that.

  11. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    I have no words on how awful it would be to be cornered by a large man after being assaulted. Just being cornered and not allowed to leave is f***ed up by itself, but it’s exponentially worse when you’ve just been through that kind of trauma. I’m so, so sorry all this happened to you, LW.

    In my view, yelling at Jack was 100% appropriate here. You had tried to be gentle and polite about it and it didn’t work. They kept harming you. And it escalated. Everything you said was totally justified. And it’s OK if your colleagues are embarrassed or ashamed. They should be. And they should use this as a learning opportunity to be better.

    1. Sedna*

      Yeah, this sounds like a very reasonable reaction to an absolutely terrible situation! You did what you had to do to get out of a place that felt incredibly dangerous and traumatizing. I’m so sorry your coworkers caused so much additional damage at a time when you needed support. I’m delighted that your office finally figured their (stuff) out, and that you have a therapist advocating for you.
      I’d also just add that you do not have to stay at this workplace if you don’t want to. Yeah, they did a lot of good stuff eventually, but I can totally get not wanting to hang around with coworkers that threaten your mental health. Honestly, if I saw this happen to someone else at work I’d be really disturbed & be thinking real hard about if I felt safe enough to stay.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        And potentially could have gotten properly dangerous. I have no idea what else Jack and Jane might have pulled and am absolutely not willing to give either of them the benefit of the doubt.

    2. Tree*

      Hear, hear. Being ashamed is the natural consequence of doing something shameful. They absolutely should be ashamed.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Exactly this, Tree. LW, please don’t feel obligated to do anything to smooth this over or make them feel more comfortable. You seem like a very conscientious person. You did not cause their feelings and you are not responsible for them. They’re feeling this way because they acted abhorrently and are now having to face it. That is for them to deal with, hopefully involving some soul searching about what kind of people they want to be (i.e., the kind of person who doesn’t harm other people). None of this is on you and you have no obligation to make them feel better.

      2. elle *sparkle emoji**

        Yeah, we can’t be sure what official workplace consequences came of this, but OP made Jack face some very deserved social consequences.

    3. Observer*

      In my view, yelling at Jack was 100% appropriate here.

      Completely. I hop the Jack and management realize that they are all lucky that you didn’t throw your tea at him or knee him. Because that would have been a very expectable response.

      And it’s OK if your colleagues are embarrassed or ashamed. They should be. And they should use this as a learning opportunity to be better.


    4. Chutney Jitney*

      Yeah, I was afraid to read this update, because it was either going to be great (unlikely) or I was going to want to strangle a bunch of people (bingo!).

      OP, I am so very sorry your coworkers were so awful to you and couldn’t get past their own selfishness to see what they were doing to you. I’m glad you’re doing better.

    5. mf*

      Yeah, I think the LW had every right to yell at him. (Actually, I think the LW might’ve gone a little easy on him. I would’ve called him every swear word you can imagine and demanded he be fired.)

    6. Isben Takes Tea*

      So many of us are conditioned to think that “losing it” is the wrong thing to do, regardless of the circumstances, instead of very occasionally the best and right thing to do. OP, you didn’t lose it, you let it loose, and perfectly justifiably. I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of it!

      1. Cthulhu's Librarian*

        There is an importance in the difference between the states of losing it and letting loose, and I caution against conflating them, or telling someone who says they lost control that no no, they were really doing the other. They are in the place to know and judge which happened to them.

        Losing it isn’t just about temper or internal thoughts becoming external – it is about self-control. And the reason people often seek out a therapist afterwards (as OP did) is because it can be scary and traumatizing; we never know how far we’ll go when our control fails – many folks who reach that point describe themselves as literally unable to stop what they’re doing, whether it be screaming at someone, attacking/injuring themselves or another, sobbing uncontrollably, or any of a thousand other reactions. Whether it takes the form of seeing red, blacking out, watching your body operate from the third person view, or something else, it often is profoundly distressing. LW… I am glad you had the support structures in place to take care of yourself in the aftermath.

        Letting it loose is about deciding not to hold back – whether it be physically or verbally. You haven’t lost control, but aren’t holding to the standards you usually do. Used judiciously, it can be very valuable for correcting others, especially in the face of particularly egregious misconduct on their part. But it is used – It is a choice. It is not a thing which overwhelms you and hijacks your very existence.

        If the LW had done that… she’d have been justified by all means. But her language and actions afterwards says that she didn’t. She’s facing that experience and coming to terms with it (or perhaps already has). That we understand why she lost control and can empathize with it may be helpful for the support it offers her, if she’s worried about questions like “am I bad/dangerous/a monster/etc?” But we should resist the temptation to recast the occurrence in a way that fits our own moral narrative, because that undermines her control of her own experiences. She is not a fictional character, on whom we can project a motivation and meaning that we chose.

      2. Observer*

        I think that @Cthulhu’s Librarian made a good point.

        I’m going to believe the OP when she says she “lost it”. And I agree that it’s important to not lose sight of this. From Jack and Jane’s POV it might not look all that different, but the *OP’s* experience is different. And, I suspect more painful.

  12. E*

    I really hope that guy got in trouble. He physically blocked you from leaving, idc who told him to. That’s insanely messed up.

    1. Cochrane*

      I’m glad OP didn’t get in trouble. All too often, nobody sees the action but everybody definitely sees & hears the reaction. Definitely hope this dipshit is shown the door.

  13. Urka*

    I’m so sorry you went through all that, and thank you for the update.

    The one thing I will say, as someone who’s been through some trauma – there is a very good chance that part of what was going on with you going back to work and trying to muscle through was that it was *part of* your trauma response (although you probably know that at this point). It’s okay that you did that, even if it maybe doesn’t feel that way.

    Glad you’re taking care of you.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      She definitely knows that! “I’m still frustrated with my office, because I don’t think that would have been necessary had they just listened to me, but it is what it is.”

      But it’s still a good point to make, because being part of your trauma may make returning to work a shaky experience and you need to know that is also absolutely fine and not your fault. It’s all a process. Best of luck OP, we’re rooting for you.

    2. Totally Minnie*

      Oh, yes. I have PTSD, and I can see a past version of myself doing this in LW’s shoes. Your brain’s not quite ready to have the emotions you need to have yet, so it puts itself on autopilot where you can tell yourself you’re okay and you can still do your normal things, until you can’t anymore.

      Solidarity, LW, and I’m glad your medical team and your work sponsored vacation has helped with your recovery process. I wish you all the best.

      1. wittyrepartee*

        I insisted on taking a test I’d barely studied for after being hit by a car. I’m pretty sure my teacher threw out the results, because it did not go well.

        1. Bromaa*

          I also took a test the morning after the Crisis Point of my young adult abusive relationship — don’t remember a damn thing about it, and should have probably just stayed home. But like. It was the Next Thing I Was Doing.

      2. Verthandi*

        Same! I’ve had the emotional shuttdown too. It felt as if someone flipped the off switch. The brain reboot took a couple months and things came back online a little at a time. Work brought some normality to my life.

        More solidarity and my best wishes to the letter writer!

    3. Ms. Afleet Alex*

      As someone who just lost a parent, the normalcy of working felt good because it was what I did every day and it was familiar and comfortable, so I can see that being part of a response to a traumatic experience like this. OP, I hope you’re doing better and sending virtual hugs!

  14. Bluebird*

    While I’m shocked your coworkers treated you so poorly, I have to admit I’m equally shocked (but pleasantly so) that your company stepped up to correct what they could and did so in some very good ways. I’m also glad to hear you are doing better OP and healing!

    1. Zelda*

      That Jack and Jane both still have jobs means that the company did not quite correct everything they could.

      1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

        We don’t know everything. They could be on very short leashes right now.

        1. Cake or Death*

          Physically intimidating someone and physically holding them there against their will is never ok no matter how “helpful” the intentions were, and I am really surprised that Jack has a job still. It doesn’t matter if he was “trying to help”; he tried to use his size, strength, and gender to intimidate a coworker into giving into his demands. Seriously…how does Jack still have a job???

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      They definitely fell over themselves apologizing, and rightly so. Granted I could see a real harassment lawsuit if they didn’t, but I think they were rightfully mortified.

    3. Sylvan*

      Unfortunately, I think they’re just glad OP didn’t call the cops and now they’re acting nice in hopes that the story doesn’t get out and nobody in the community finds out that they allowed their team to harass an assault survivor, culminating in what to OP would likely feel on every level like another assault until Jack let her free.

  15. Zelda*

    Alison, this one may need a content warning. It was pretty difficult to read.

    LW, I am so sorry. I would have just screamed and screamed and somebody would’ve called 911. I am amazed that you had any actual words; I would not have. Please take care of you.

    1. Office Skeptic*

      Agreed. As a survivor of sexual assault, I can feel the tension in my body from Jack’s horrible actions.

    2. Gigi*

      Agreed, especially as a fellow survivor; this was an incredibly tough read. A content warning uptop would be very welcomed indeed.

      While I’m so glad LW had their situation taken care of, it’s also so emblematic of the many larger issues that arise when making an assault know.

    3. Tree*

      I agree. Trapping me in a room to force me to talk to him was what my abusive ex used to do. I’m still shaken after reading this.

      OP, you are amazing. Sending you all the healing vibes.

    4. Sedna*

      Yep. Oof.
      Also: I have PTSD from a sexual assault, so I may be sensitive to this, but. if you’re going to post about how you would have handled it differently (e.g. “kicked him in the nuts”), maybe…reconsider saying that? I know nobody means it this way, but it can read as “here’s the thing you should have done differently to keep this terrible thing from happening”. I’m generally not in the mood to run optimization response scenarios on my trauma.

      1. Camilla Hect*

        Hard agree here on both counts – I’d love a content warning, and I really dislike Monday-morning quarterbacking on how ‘best’ to respond to a traumatic situation.

        I’m so sorry your coworkers treated you this way, OP. I love your resolve to advocate hard for yourself in future.

      2. Zelda*

        If you mean me, I was intending to a) report what my visceral reaction was, and what I was having a little trouble not doing right here in my living room today, which is rather specifically FAILING to “handle” it, and b) express to the LW that her reaction was completely proportionate, reasonable, effective, and a number of admirable things. If I have come off in any other way, then I apologize to both you and the LW.

        1. Sedna*

          Oh no, not addressed at you at all – more a general note to commenters. And thank you for requesting the CW.

      3. Observer*

        Yeah, I don’t have any assault in my history (thank g-d!) but “I would have” statements are not exactly helpful.

        I’d like to think I would have done ~~Whatever thing~~, but who really knows? And also, while it’s probably true that some people would have done ~~whatever thing~~, the implication that the OP “should” have done whatever is off base. She did what she did, and the only people who should be criticized, even by implication, are the people who subjected her to this abuse.

        1. Zelda*

          FWIW, my “I would have” statement is not at all a “you should have,” but a “last time I was that frightened, I did.”

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            You are fine. Your comments are fine.
            You wrote essentially, “I think I would have freaked out.” You didn’t put any expectations or judgements on OP. In fact, you lauded her effort at standing up for herself.

        2. Sedna*

          Yeah, it’s a very common response and I don’t think people mean harm by it! But it’s hard when, for example, you tell your friends you were harassed on the street and someone’s first response is “well, I would have screamed at them”. I know they’re trying to be supportive but it comes off less as “I’m sorry this terrible thing happened” and more “here’s what you did wrong”.

      4. Anon For Now*

        Agreeeeeeeeeee with this.

        Maybe the fact that many assault survivors don’t knee their attackers in the balls means it is not, in fact, as easy to do in the moment as it seems from the safety of the comment section.

        1. London Calling*

          I was actually told in a self-defence class not to knee an attacker, as they can grab your leg and tip you off balance. And it’s not always easy to aim for the right spot.

  16. Former Young Lady*

    Jack and Jane should both be out on their asses for showing such egregiously poor judgment.

    You, on the other hand, did an incredibly brave and heroic thing by giving Jack what-for.

  17. hello*

    Honestly, I am SO proud of you for that blow up in his face. He absolutely deserved that, and all of them deserved to hear it. I’m glad to hear your mental health is recovering as well!

    1. MEH Squared*

      Same. OP, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I understand why it feels awkward, but that’s on your coworkers. What you did took courage and guts. You had both, and I’m glad your company reacted strongly in support of you.

    2. Francie Foxglove*

      Yep, came in to say that that speech was epic. It was everything that needed to be said. And you *said* it — you didn’t look back and think, “I wish I’d said…”

      And as everyone else has said, both Jack and Jane are horrible.

    3. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Came here to say this! SO proud of you for that blow up in his face!

  18. Hills to Die on*

    Goddamn Jane. Ugh. And Jack, But I am mostly angry at Jane on your behalf.
    I am so happy to hear that your company did what they could to make this up to you. I hope that was a very direct, boundary–inducing discussion with your coworkers. Which appears to be the case.

    1. D'Arcy*

      I disagree about being “mostly” angry at Jane. The fact that she put him up to it does not change the fact that Jack was the one who decided to corner and essentially assault OP.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I want to say that they both suck equally. But I want to say that maybe Jane is more heinous because OP specifically asked her to be an ally and she chose to do a horrid thing. She could have said, “no. I am right. You need to talk about your injuries, because [my selfish reasons].”
        Instead, she said OK, then designed this train wreck.
        Jack is responsible for getting on board, but he hadn’t talked to OP yet. He did a terrible for thing with no possible reason to justify it, but Jane betrayed OP.

      2. Ellie*

        We also don’t know what was actually said between them. It’s possible Jane didn’t tell him to corner her, just to talk to her (still terrible of course), and that he came up with that bit on his own. Or that she was just complaining about OP, and Jack thought, ‘I’ll sort this out’.

        Either way, he physically did it. He should have thought about what he was doing in the moment, even if he hadn’t thought it through before that. It’s abhorrent. I’m surprised he still has a job, and I assume it’s only because they’d have to fire half the team along with him.

    2. Observer*

      Why are you more angry at Jane. Not that what she did was excusable. But Jack is a supposedly competent ADULT. And he’s not in her reporting structure where she could threaten to fire him or something. He CHOSE to do this thing. He DID this thing. Why does the person who CHOSE to actually DO a really bad thing get less anger than the person who dreamed it up?

      I mean, it would be fine if they BOTH got fired. But if I had to choose? Jack.100%

      1. Sunshine*

        For me it’s because Jane had the additional context of OP saying how much the interrogations bothered her and asking Jane for help in making it stop. Jack should have known that cornering a coworker was wrong, absolutely, but it’s possible that he was mostly an oblivious third party who Jane spun a tale to about how OP needed help.

        1. Observer*

          I don’t buy it. Not that I’m excusing Jane. But I don’t care what “tale” someone spun. A supposedly competent adult does not *need* any “context” to know that you do NOT trap a person to force them to talk!

          That’s so beyond anything that is reasonable that there is just no way to minimize it. It’s not because Jane was terrible that the company threw all these “perks” at the OP. What Jane didn’t probably couldn’t net the OP a winning law suit. What Jack did almost certainly would.

          1. Former Young Lady*

            Yeah, both of them suck 100% and neither of them should still have a job. Neither one’s heinous behavior exonerates the other in any way.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Yeah, this is a kind of “do you want to die of Ebola or the Black Plague” choice. Both of them behaved inexcusably but in different ways.

          Jack at best let his adult self be talked into a course of action that one second of thought would have shown to be terrible in every possible way, then went ahead and did the thing despite OP’s clear and stated demands that he stop.

          Jane not only harassed OP continuously, she very deliberately chose to betray her and use the most flagrantly traumatizing way to do so.

  19. Sunshine*

    Wow!! I am so sorry it had to come to all that, but also am a little glad that you finally gave the entire office a piece of your mind. They deserved to be loudly put in their places. And thank goodness you got a nice vacation in the end, and most importantly that the higher-ups realized they really needed to try and make things right for you! Best of luck, OP!

  20. glitter writer*

    Jack 100% deserved everything you said and more, and I’m so very sorry your colleagues put you in that position. I’m glad your workplace has done what they can to rectify.

  21. Goose*

    I’m so glad at your company backpedaled at hard as they did with all of those extras, perks, but goddamn should they have stepped in earlier. OP wishing you all the best <3

  22. Bookworm*

    Holy cow. I’m so sorry, OP. You didn’t deserve that treatment from your co-workers and I’m glad it seems the office stepped up. That’s still terrible and doesn’t make up for everything and I hope it works out for you, whatever the future may look like. Good luck.

    1. KYParalegal*

      Agreed. OP, I can’t find any fault with how you responded when Jack cornered you and demanded details. I’m so sorry you were put in the position of having to say anything after the first “I’m fine now, I don’t want to discuss it at work.” I hope your awful situation results in some changes to your workplace, even if I wish none of this had happened in the first place. Wishing you all the best

  23. Turquoisecow*

    I’m sorry for how terrible your coworkers acted, OP. Cornering someone who has been in traumatic situation is not okay at all. Full stop. But I’m glad your company stepped up and you were able to get what you needed to feel better.

    I hope that, Heaven forbid anyone else is in a similar situation, your coworkers have learned what NOT to do.

    1. 2cents*

      Cornering someone is unacceptable. It’s particularly egregious to do so with who has been in traumatic situation.

      1. Turquoisecow*

        Yeah I don’t think the coworker knew how OP would react or that he meant any harm by it at all. But if you’ve been in a traumatic physical situation like that, last thing you need is to feel like you’re unsafe and that’s exactly what happened here.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          I’m not getting the “he didn’t mean any harm” comments, honestly. Drunk drivers don’t mean any harm, either, but there’s a point where the thing a person did was so terrible they should have known better, and Jack is beyond that point.

          1. Relentlessly Socratic*

            I can see trying to say that Jack’s not a malicious dude, but the end result of how the OP feels is the same regardless of malicious intent or doofusery.

          2. Irish Teacher*

            And while I agree he “didn’t mean any harm,” I do think he saw the LW as “not knowing what is best for her” and honestly, that can be as harmful as meaning to hurt somebody. It also is based on problematic assumptions, whether it’s mere arrogance (assuming he knows best for everybody), sexism (assuming that he, as a man, obviously knows better than a woman) or due to having ideas in his head about people who have experienced trauma.

            I guess “this person doesn’t know what’s best for them and needs me to force them to do what I think is best, even though I don’t even have the full context” is less malicious than “I’m going to deliberately hurt this person for fun” but…it is still problematic and disrespectful and almost puts the LW in the role of a child who needs the “adults” to teach her what is best for her.

            And I suspect a lot of harm has been done by people who have assumed they alone know best and if people won’t do as they say, they will have to force them.

        2. Empress Ki*

          Cornering anyone isn”t acceptable, and probably illegal. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t mean any harm.

        3. Kella*

          If Jack is not aware that cornering someone, physically preventing them from leaving, and then demanding that they answer uncomfortable questions, is inherently harmful, then that’s a big problem he needs to work on. The fact that he was interrogating OP *about* a recent traumatic assault from another man makes it ten times worse, but the baseline behavior is beyond boundary crossing and veers into the territory of actual violence.

          The purpose of violence is to undermine or remove the autonomy of another person. When someone physically prevents you from leaving and demands that you answer their questions first, the implied choice is between answering their question and risking physical harm to yourself if you try to leave. A choice between any given action or being forced to risk bodily harm, isn’t really a choice at all. Your ability to make choices that keep you safe is effectively undermined, as is your autonomy.

  24. Miss Ann Thropy*

    This is by no means the main issue, but your employer rewards employees for working insane hours with a vacation WITH your coworkers? That’s the proverbial pie-eating contest in which first prize is more pie.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I wouldn’t mind it (though please note that I don’t have coworkers who’ve grilled me about an assault).

      I’m not close to my coworkers, but I think they’re nice enough people. I could see how a week at resort would be taxing. It’s not like you need to spend all of your time with them.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I’d be pretty okay with it if the resort was big enough for me to easily avoid them the entire time and there was no expectation that I hang out with them other than, like, one dinner or something.

        1. Be Gneiss*

          plus you get a plus one, so you if you can hang out with your spouse or sister or BFF or whatever, and never have to see them except on the plane… sounds better than a company-swag-fleece in terms of thank you gifts.

      2. I should really pick a name*

        Correct: I DON’T see how a week at a resort would be taxing

    2. ENFP in Texas*

      I get the feeling that it’s not a “group vacation” where everyone is expected to stay together, it’s just that the company is paying everybody’s expenses and travel down there. If coworkers want to hang out on the vacation, they are welcome to, but it is not mandated. The vacation is for the employee and a plus 1, so it’s not like it’s a company function.

      Personally, I would be happy to take that sort of a company-paid vacation, even if it meant bumping into my coworkers once in a while.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I think because it is such a small company, that it might actually work. Small enough that they pay for flight and stay and maybe one group meal (although OP didn’t mention skipping one) So really it’s like summer vacation in your own town. You only see the friends you want to see.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      At the risk of “sandwiches”, I wonder if there’s an equivalent reward available to those who for whatever reason can’t go, and I wonder what the taxable value is…

      1. The Eye of Argon*

        I get it. I personally don’t like travelling or hot weather so I’d hope there’d be a different option available to us homebodies (or those who can’t or don’t want to go for whatever reason.)

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Here, come and sit next to me. On your own couch in your own home. Because I hate to travel, too.
          This would not be a perk.

    4. Letter Writer*

      They have a dinner together the first night as a team but attendance isn’t mandatory. The resort is huge- most people don’t interact for the rest of the week. I didn’t see anyone until we were heading back to the airport a week later, and I spent lots of time at the restaurants and different activities the resort offered so it wasn’t like I was intentionally avoiding them. If we had gone to a smaller property or the company expected us to interact with each other during the week I would definitely agree with you though!

    5. Coverage Associate*

      I’m not a tax specialist, but I wonder if it has to have a gloss of a business purpose so it’s not a taxable gift? If they’re all at the same resort, there can be optional business meetings, so it’s a business trip for tax purposes. But wouldn’t a check or voucher for the equivalent amount be taxable?

      1. *kalypso*

        Depends on a few criteria – bonuses may be treated differently to income, vouchers may be treated as income, amount may trigger different rules or rates…

    6. Ultra Anon*

      I wouldn’t mind if it was a large resort and there was no expectation of having to hang out with my co-workers. Sounds like they allow you to bring a guest, so that’s even better.

  25. I'm fabulous!*

    I hope you’re doing better, OP. I also hope that Jack and Jane leave you alone.

    1. Sara M*

      Same. And I think you know this, but: you did everything right. None of this is your fault. I’m sorry so many people have treated you badly lately.

      Wishing you the best as you heal.

  26. OlympiasEpiriot*

    That’s completely out of line on their part.

    I am glad that the firm did that for you, but, I hope that Jane and Jack are on thin ice. I would not want to work with people who would do that.

  27. I should really pick a name*

    I am really sorry you had to go through that.

    Please don’t feel bad about blowing up. It was completely justified, and hopefully the people in your office are going to be a bit introspective about the difference between helping, and satisfying their curiosity.

  28. JustKnope*

    Losing it on Jack and leaving immediately was the only reasonable response to being treated that way, imo. They needed a strong reality check out of their effed up white knight/savior complex. I’m sorry you had to endure this but I’m glad you told Jack exactly how terrible he was being.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      Each of the few times I have totally lost it on someone like that, it’s been a lot like LW’s experience where it sucked but also solved the dang problem. I think sometimes when you get pushed way too far really the only viable solution is some yelling. D:

      1. MEH Squared*

        Same. It’s pretty effective when you’re a person who doesn’t usually lose it in part because it emphasizes how outrageous the behavior is. In this case, Jack completely deserved it and more for what he did.

  29. Red5*

    Holy hell. I have no words.

    I’m so sorry they pushed you to this, and I’m glad your supervisor and organization is trying to make it right for you.

  30. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    I cannot convey my sympathies and sorries to you enough. Your losing it on Jack was completely and totally appropriate. I wouldn’t even call it losing it I’d call it just that – an appropriate response. It’s totally unfortunate that it took that for anyone to realize that their behavior was so far in the wrong, but sometimes it’s the only way they’ll understand. I hope that their apologies are truly genuine, and that they walk away with the knowledge that when “someone tells me to leave them alone, I will.” Jack and Jane hopefully were reprimanded in some way, why they were kept is probably a question for another board. Be well. I don’t think I would have the courage to return, so your strength is more than I’d ever have.

    1. Office Skeptic*

      Yes, exactly! It’s not “losing it” or “blowing up” it’s appropriate verbal defense in the face of physical entrapment. I can’t believe Jack physically trapped a co-worker and still has his job.

      1. Mrs. Hawiggins*

        In what world does anyone do that in the workplace. Horrendous. OP is a brave soul.

  31. DD*

    I’m so sorry all of this happened to you – the assault, the aftermath with your coworkers questions and the a$$hat Jack. I hope you get the time and help you need to get past this.

    I’m so angry at Jack and I don’t even know him. WTF was he thinking? A female coworker is showing evidence that she may have been physically assaulted likely by a male and his reaction is to physically entrap the victim. I think your response was much calmer than mine would have been. I’m not a violent person but my knee and his balls would have been in hard and repeated contact when he wouldn’t let me out.

    I have mixed feelings about your company’s response. They know they screwed up with not stopping things earlier and are trying to make things up with bonus, PTO, etc but I don’t know how Jane and a$$hat Jack are still employed there.

    1. Ro*

      The anger towards Jack is completely justified in the comments but I am surprised more people are not also picking up on how bad Jane’s behaviour really was.

      The most generous interpretation of Jack’s actions is that Jane didn’t tell him OP had asked to be left alone and persuaded him somehow that it would be genuinely helpful and he was stupid enough to believe it.

      But even that reading, which makes him stupid not malicious, makes him stupid in a way that shows a terrifying lack of understanding of boundaries and what is acceptable (physically trapping a female coworker, or in fact any coworker is not acceptable) and whatever Jane said doesn’t really excuse him in my opinion.

      But I feel like Jane is much worse, OP told her she knew she had to be left alone and Jane still felt she was entitled enough to information that she enlisted a man to physically corner her. And while Jack should have understood how bad that was if he thought for more than two seconds, Jane possible mislead him but I cannot think of anything she could say that would justify his actions, I am surprised any woman could reach adulthood and not understand how terrifying that should be (men often just don’t understand all the extra risk assessment woman have to make on a daily basis but a woman should). Which makes me wonder if Jane knew it would be scary and hoped to force OP into satisfying her curiosity out of desperation to be released.

      Jack could, under the most generous reading be clueless about boundaries (still a serious problem and a fireable offense but doesn’t necessarily mean malice). Jane under the most generous reading walked over clearly stated boundaries including enlisting someone to physically trap a coworker to satisfy her curiosity she may have decided she was helping but OP didn’t want her help. It is very main character syndrome. Something “dramatic” or “interesting” happened so naturally she had to insert herself. Jack could potentially be a well meaning moron who boundary stomped out of stupidity convinced he was being helpful but Jane cannot claim any ignorance at all. She boundary stomped because she wanted all the juicy details (a horrible way to describe what happened to op but it seems to be how she was thinking) and did not care that OP had explicitly stated she didn’t want to talk about it.

      They did both apologize and it is possible OPs yelling at them (which was completely justified Jack is lucky he didn’t actually get punched of something he’d have deserved it) made them realize how badly they fucked up. I hope this is the case because it would be they aren’t completely awful people. But I feel like it was so blindingly obvious that this was cruel, intrusive and a bad idea all round that they would still deserve firing.

      They may also have only apologized because a manager ripped them a new one (it sounds like the manager had an “oh shit” moment when they realized how bad op had been treated and moved to try and fix it). I hope since they don’t seem to have sacked Jack or Jane that they at least made it clear how wrong their actions were. And I hope if OP decides she does not wish to interact with them again (I at least in OPs position would want to ensure I was never alone with either of them again) her manager with accomodate that.

      1. different seudonym*

        I kind of agree philosophically, though in practical terms I would fire Jack first of all because he can’t be trusted not to physically threaten people.

        But Jane is bizarre.

        1. Ro*

          Oh yeah. I feel like Jane is morally worse for all the reasons I listed but if I could only fire one I’d have to pick Jack.

          I suspect Jane didn’t give him the full picture but he is a grown man and “she told me to do it” would not fly as an excuse. He at a bare minimum demonstrated lack of critical thinking skills and a willingness to be physically agressive. That is more of a liability and immediate threat than Jane.

          This is a bit “who was worse Hitler or Stalin?” But I do feel like Jane is getting off a bit lightly in the comments because everyone is focusing on Jack (not that he deserves to be defended but I feel like Jane’s awfulness is being missed).

          1. 1LFTW*

            I was glad to see that *both* Jack and Jane wrote hand-written apologies, because I strongly suspect that happened at the direction of management, and I desperately hope it indicates that there’s some sort of disciplinary process happening behind the scenes.

            Jack behaved badly, but what Jane did was truly, deeply awful. She reminds me of the kid on the playground who’d get another kid to shove someone off the swings or whatever, and then let them take all the blame while denying her role in it. The kid who did the shoving would get into trouble, because the teacher actually *saw* that happen, and because they should know better than to shove somebody, and anyway would they jump off the roof if Jane told them to do it?

            I think you’re right that she manipulated Jack in order to satisfy her own morbid curiosity. Shit-stirrers like that are morally worse than clueless tools they con into doing their bidding. They can do so. Much. Damage.

      2. Ultra Anon*

        I have a feeling that Jane is the office pot-stirer and is Svengali-esque in other ways. I think she most definitely should be canned more than Jack (although he should be canned as well). People that enjoy pulling peoples’ strings to serve their own ends are pretty much the worst.

        1. Jellyfish Catcher*

          I came here to say that, also. Jane’s the malignant one. Jack is merely an idiot.
          Jane was plainly told to back off and butt out.
          So she recruits Jack, as she, a caring woman and female colleague, sure could use Jack’s help with poor OP.

          I’m not excusing Jack. He had poor judgment, poor behavior and should know – in The Year Of Our Lord 2023 – about harassment, assault and gendered boundaries.
          I’d fire Jane for sure. Jack would be called in to explain, grovel and apologize all at once. But bottom line, he did harass her for details and did block her exit. It’s hard to get past that.

          1. Ellie*

            Here’s an alternate theory – Jane has been told by OP that what she needs is to be left alone, but Jane is pig-headed enough to barrel right through that and still assumes she knows best. She vents to Jack about how OP is being difficult, and Jack says he will try to get it out of her (on his own, no manipulation from Jane).

            I just don’t buy Jack as a hapless idiot, why wouldn’t Jack and Jane both corner OP together? If they both really thought this was a Hollywood moment where OP was going to give them a big hug and spill her secrets, why wouldn’t they both want to be there to witness it? Jack must have been trying to force it out of her, there’s no other reason to block her exit. I can see them both egging each other on, I can’t see him being an innocent victim of Jane’s. We don’t know if Jane would have bailed OP up on her own, we do know that Jack did.

  32. Yep, me again*


    This is breathtakingly awful and it didn’t even happen to me!


    I wish you all the best OP!

  33. Office Skeptic*

    I’m so glad somethings got better, OP! It seems to me though like your company is still down playing Jack’s behavior – they are treating it on par with Jane’s gossip. But he physically trapped one of his coworkers. That’s a really big deal and could be a crime.

  34. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    What did Jack expect? For you to just disclose everything, in detail? And what was he going to do with the information? Go beat the guy up?
    I could see if someone had come to OP and said “Obviously something tramatic has happened. Do you need us to do anything at work to make sure you are safe, such as security or another coworker walk you to your car?” but no. no one thought what the OP needed. They just wanted juicy gossip and not thinking that you were a real person with feelings! I’m so sorry this happened OP. I’m glad you got the help you needed and that your company did the right thing.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Right???? Like okay, you want to “protect” your coworker and make her feel safe… do you really need to know what happened for that? If he or Jane were sincerely concerned he should’ve been like “hey, Jane said you’re having a rough time and I wanted you to know I’m happy to walk you to your car or do whatever else I can to help you feel safer, just let me know.” Still kind of creepy and overstepping, but at least passably thoughtful.

    2. OyHiOh*

      My trauma response is to go passive and eager to please. In a similar situation, it is quite possible that I might not have been able to say anything at all while cornered by Jack, or seemingly “happily” spilled my guts to him. I would feel gross and violated afterwards, but feel like I couldn’t stop myself from doing so. In my brain, the ways to survive trauma are to say nothing at all, or to carefully read the situation and say exactly what an “attacker” wants to hear so I can get out safely.

      God only knows what Jack was thinking. I can imagine he thought he was being the no nonsense cop in a procedural TV show who gets the reluctant victim to spill her guts and concluded that forcing the conversation was a good thing to do always.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      I mean, I have a coworker with a phobia that we’ve had to work around a bit. And that’s what we did. Certainly absolutely nobody cornered them and demanded the details about why they had this phobia and if they had they’d have been shown the door posthaste.

  35. HannahS*

    Wow, thank you for the update! I am so, so sorry for what you’ve suffered, and so glad to hear that you’re doing better. Your coworkers’ behaviour (Jack especially) was inexcusably bad, and I’m glad you eventually took time away.

    Some people really have main-character-syndrome in other peoples’ lives. One hopes they learn to stop pretending they’re the detective/hero/saviour in someone else’s life.

  36. Liz the Snackbrarian*

    Holy overstepping boundaries Batman. I hope your company took disciplinary action regarding Jack. Best of luck as you continue to mentally and physically recover.

    1. Andy*

      maybe that should be a new yearly category.
      Worst Workplace Situation. Sometimes there’s a casual and collective cruelty that can be…unique to the workplace.

      1. nnn*

        But why? I don’t know why AAM would build a contest around people’s tragedies.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      Yes, indeed. And just this past year has had some damn close competition.

  37. YM*

    Sometimes the only solution is losing your absolute and utter shit on people. I’m sorry you went through this OP but I think you handled this exactly how you should have. Best wishes going forward

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I was almost in tears reading the breakdown – god you absolutely should not have been pushed to that point, OP. In a professional setting especially, but anywhere at all. It was awful, boorish behavior and I hope they all lost sleep when they realized what they put you through.

      1. Anon For Now*

        Yes! OP, your coworkers are probably feeling a lot of shame over how they treated you – this is good! Shame gets weaponized against people who don’t deserve it but if you treat a person so abhorrently, you SHOULD feel ashamed! If it feels really bad to do this thing, they hopefully learn never to do it again to avoid the feeling. This is good shame they are feeling, and I hope you resist taking any guilt for their awkwardness onto yourself. It’s a hard thing for us people pleasers, so I’m sending you strength if you need it.

  38. FlamesOnFace*

    OP is incredibly forgiving because I would quit before I set foot in a building with Jack ever again.

    1. Dawn*

      I don’t know how much I’d say that’s actually forgiveness so much as, taking the total circumstances into account, not quite meeting OP’s bar for leaving a job that they are otherwise happy with and well-compensated for.

      I might make either choice myself, I don’t know exactly how I’d react under similar circumstances, but I don’t think forgiveness would really enter into it.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        The groveling from management and written apologies would help me feel okay about staying, I think, but those relationships would never recover.

    2. Squirrel*

      Maybe OP needs to pay the rent. Please don’t assume she can just waltz out of there (as justified it would be!) even if she wants to.

  39. KatEnigma*

    Oh LW, I am so sorry. I am glad you are recovering well and that management was as appalled as the rest of us at what happened.

    My only question is have you filed a formal complaint with HR about Jack’s harassment? Even without the background of your recent assault making it probably the worst idea ever, doing blocking you in like that should be a firing offense.

    1. atalanta0jess*

      Everyone in the office heard….I’d very well hope this has been taken care of and not placed as a burden on the OP (who at this point didn’t appear to be asking for further advice…)

    2. HolyMolyGuacamole*

      OP’s original letter stated that the org doesn’t have an
      HR department and that the person closest to an being
      an HR officer was pushing the hardest for details.

      OP, I hope that you get better supervisors and coworkers.

  40. Nay*

    Uffda. The way you were treated was hard to read. I’m glad you’ve gotten the help you need and I wish you the best in your recovery!

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      :) happy to see a Uffda! Don’t see much of those outside of Minnesota!

      1. Eater of Hotdish*

        Ope, just gonna sneak in here and remind you that North Dakota exists, yaknow?

      2. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

        Usch då! Let’s not forget where it originally came from, shall we?

  41. wtaf machine*

    I work in rape crisis. So my work place is a bit more feelings driven than other places but this still absolutely is shocking to me. Additionally, I am in a union and this level of harassment would be a union level grievance for sure. I am so sorry you experienced every single aspect of this. I hope your therapist is amazing and I am so glad you have one!

  42. ThisIsNotADuplicateComment*

    This situation sucked all around, but I’m glad you got to scream at your jerk co-worker and got some nice cash from your company.

    1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      I agree. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to physically hold someone in a small space until they comply with his demands is not safe to have in the workplace.

  43. MLH*


    I’m so glad you told him off. I’m so glad you went on that vacation. I hope you are feeling better.

  44. Veryanon*

    Oh man. If this had happened at my company, both Jack and Jane would probably be fired, or at the very least received a final written warning. Jack was lucky he didn’t get a knee to the crotch, a face full of hot tea, or both.
    Unfortunately there are always those Nosy Nellies who just cannot mind their own business. But I’m glad OP got the help she needed and her company did their best to make it up to her.

  45. Cake or Death*

    Cornering anyone at work and telling them you refuse to let them leave until they answer your questions is abhorrent on it’s own, but in this context, where you know they were assaulted, it’s 10 million times worse. WTF was he thinking?!?!?! This is so beyond appropriate behavior in a workplace, that i can’t believe Jack wasn’t fired. Physically intimidating someone and physically holding them there against their will is never ok no matter how “helpful” the intentions were, and I am really surprised that Jack has a job still. It doesn’t matter if he was “trying to help”; he tried to use his size, strength, and gender to intimidate a coworker into giving into his demands. Seriously…how does Jack still have a job???

    1. Office Skeptic*

      Yes, exactly this! The company is not taking his actions seriously enough.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      Like, if I came back to the office happy and glowing from my honeymoon, and somebody pulled this exact same setup of cornering and blocking to demand details of my trip, I would be furious and insist that they be disciplined/fired. In OP’s situation there really isn’t any way I can see Jack or Jane coming back from this.

      If I were one of their coworkers I would be loath to trust or be alone with either one of them even if I had no clue what had been happening up until then. They both demonstrated an appalling lack of awareness of the bar for decent human behavior.

  46. Metadata Janktress*

    Jesus wept. I’m so sorry that they were so damn horrid. I hope they continue to keep their mouths shut. All care and kindness to you.

  47. Guest*

    Physically blocking another staff member from exiting a room should be a firing offense.

    1. Cake or Death*

      Absolutely! Said the same above; even without the context of this situation, what he did should have gotten him fired, no matter what.

    2. Dust Bunny*


      I think I would have punched Jack. Not even voluntarily, but out of stress.

  48. New Senior Mgr*

    You deserved that trip and more for pushing your feelings aside and trying to push through at work.

  49. Moira Rose*

    Does anyone else feel like the American obsession with True Crime is at least partially to blame here? (This isn’t meant to absolve any of the Nosy Nellies and Nosy Neds in OP’s workplace!!)

    1. Dust Bunny*

      No. This would not have happened at my job. Plus, Americans hardly have a corner on the market of overstepping and invasive questioning.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        It wouldn’t have happened at my job either, but I do wonder if Jane might have been seeing it as her own personal criminal minds episode, to paraphrase the LW

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Honestly, I get the curiosity but I’m astonished at the lack of self-control. I know people who are this invasive and clueless but they’re individuals here and there, not an entire workplace-worth.

          I have to wonder if No Boundaries is the general culture in this place and it just hasn’t been unmanageable because nobody has had something this bad happen to them (that they’ll admit at work, at least).

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            That’s a good theory. Bandwagon bias, to some extent – people get so caught up in the cultural fervor of the “mystery” and the couching of “it’s because we’re worried” and lose all of their executive thinking skills. It happens, especially in groups that already have poor boundaries, but it’s not one of the more attractive pieces of human sociology.

            I hope they all feel terrible now.

    2. Paige*

      No. If anything, people who watch/follow True Crime stuff should know better than to do this kind of thing, because it points out red flags like those kinds of actions again and again and again.

    3. OyHiOh*

      I would point at the wealth of police procedural shows more so than “true crime.” Any night of the week, there’s at least one new episode of something on, and reruns or three others on cable. The shows are very black and white. Clear victims, clear bad guys. Investigators fall into one of a few behavior archetypes. Jack behaved very similarly to the “direct no nonsense” male type who beats down a victim’s unwillingness by gruff persistence.

      I don’t think this is a unique American interest, but we’ve certainly elevated the form to obsession.

    4. UKDancer*

      I don’t think true crime is a particularly American thing. Notable trials in the UK have attracted mass crowds (as indeed did public executions when people would avidly queue to buy pieces of rope from the hangman). People used to read the newspapers avidly to find out what the latest developments were in cases like the Brides in the Bath murders. People are interested in true crime around the world. It’s just the way it’s delivered that changed from newspapers to podcasts.

    5. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      There is a reason drama can mean either a type of entertainment or an exciting sequence of real life events – As a species, we’re genuinely bad at recognizing the difference, and we have been ever since the first person felt that frisson when they decided to gossip about what they’d heard going on in the hut next door back in the days of prehistory, and their audience felt that same frisson while listening to the gossip.

      So, I don’t think there’s anything particularly about the True Crime genre that causes it, no. It’s just a subset of humanity who have too solipsistic a view to realize they’re talking about other people, and not things that exist for their entertainment.

    6. Ellis Bell*

      I think that Retired But Still Herding Cats nailed it upthread that people are hyper focused and frightened of the possibility of it happening to them: “Friends who armchair-quarterbacked my response after the fact mostly struck me as frightened by what had happened to me and reassuring themselves that it could never happen to them”. Jane’s ridiculous idea that a “strong man” taking an interest in you will protect you is one of the most common and idiotically soothing fallacies. If you take something frightening and then add some handy how-to tips and a narrative with a intervention-y emotional style release from the victim and then a big group hug – what you have is… well it’s not useful or realistic or reassuring to the actual victim, but yeah it passes from being a scary possibility to slightly edgy entertainment for some people.

  50. Calyx*

    Echoing what everyone else has said here, including the sympathy for any of it having happened. My own intense curiosity is that I wish I had a blow-by-blow of what happened in the office and in leadership discussions and one-on-ones and talks with the company lawyers after LW provided that master class for them. I’m picturing what I would do if I learned that that had happened on my watch and I had missed it. As someone said, abject shame is a most appropriate response on the human level. For leaders, whew.

  51. Dust Bunny*

    wanted to tell me that I would not be facing any repercussions so that I didn’t have to worry about it while I was supposed to be on vacation

    You’re goddamned f-ing right you’d better not be facing any repercussions.

    Your coworkers are an amazing bunch of clods for needing to be screamed at to get it into their thick heads that grilling you about this constantly wasn’t a good approach. Seriously, what is wrong with them?

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Everyone else has done an excellent job of raking Jack over the coals so I’m going to move on to being furious that somebody felt that they needed to specify to you that you wouldn’t face repercussions for yelling at the big dude who blocked you in.

      Frankly, I’m impressed that you only laid into him verbally. I could 110% see myself losing it and beating him to a pulp. And I am not generally an angry person.

      1. Vio*

        As much as it should have been too obvious to mention, a lot of people in the letter writers position would have had that worry (rationally or not, that really depends on how horribly the company is run). They certainly should have made it very clear that it was because she did nothing wrong and not because the company was being generous though.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yeah, especially if there was clear tension and you haven’t heard from the company already that they’re on your side (??? I hope that was conveyed when OP told them she was taking PTO???). It shouldn’t HAVE to be said, but better to overcommunicate the point.

    2. CV*

      I hope that the letter writer, if she has the mental and emotional bandwidth, will speak to a lawyer about all of this.

  52. Corrigan*

    I’m so so sorry that your co-workers were so awful and went about this in such a stunningly wrong way.

    I’m glad that you were able to enjoy a nice vacation and break though. I’m sure you don’t need this advice, but continue to take care of yourself as needed! You are allowed to and should do it whenever needed.

  53. Office Skeptic*

    I have to comment again because this is so upsetting: a man physically held his coworker against their will, trapping them, and tried to physically intimidate them? And we are talking about OP “being frustrated” with their company, and “losing it” and “handwritten notes” and learning about self-advocacy? Jack committed what could be considered a crime. This is far beyond “here is a voucher and time off for self-care” and solidly in the territory of “calling a lawyer and pressing criminal charges is an option.” I’m not saying you should do that OP – you know what is best for yourself – I just want us to take this seriously!

    I am also a survivor of assault. This was wildly triggering to read and my heart goes out to you, OP. I hope you are safe.

    1. pnut*

      Just noting that the government decides whether or not to pursue criminal charges – you’d need to call the police or possibly a DA. A private lawyer would be for a civil suit, and/or maybe to protect your interests in a criminal case (not a party to the case, but representing you). Of course, LW would have to decide whether going through an undoubtedly lengthy criminal case would be worth it, which would create extra tension when the potential defendant is a coworker.

      1. STAT!*

        pnut, you are correct. However, some jurisdictions allow private prosecutions for criminal matters. These are real prosecutions resulting in criminal convictions, with the requirement that the evidence prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt, not the lower threshold of balance of probabilities. The Attorney General or equivalent also generally has the power to take over the prosecution (either to halt or continue it).

        I only mention this because I have in my idle moments speculated on what would happen if more people started their own private prosecutions when there is a failure of official law enforcement.

    2. Student*

      You’re not wrong.

      However, society at large just doesn’t treat it that way when a man decides to physically intimidate a woman. Trying to press charges would probably harm the OP, not Jack and Jane, because most cops will relate more to Jack than to OP. Cops are not, generally, friends to battered women. As someone who’s been through similar experiences, I think trying to press charges would probably harm the OP and probably lionize Jack.

      I’ve had men (two separate incidents) hold a gun to my head. Should I be able to report that to the police? Yes. Did I? Absolutely not.

      Why? The first one WAS a drunk, off-duty cop. He didn’t like that I was noisy; I was 9 years old. The second was a male relative (all involved were adults). He wasn’t angry, there was no precipitating incident – he just thought it was cool and “funny” to hold a real gun to someone’s head. He had no idea whether it was loaded or not; it’d been sitting on a table in front of me and a second male relative. This second male relative witnessed it; it was his gun. The male relative witness told me preemptively that he would take the first male relative’s side against me if I called the cops, and would tell them nothing had happened.

      1. Francie Foxglove*

        “The male relative witness told me preemptively that he would take the first male relative’s side against me if I called the cops, and would tell them nothing had happened.”

        Because you’d have been a troublemaker if you told anyone, right? Did you tell your parents? Not judging you if you didn’t, of course.

      2. STAT!*

        Gack! That is terrifying. I can’t begin to imagine how that would erode anybody’s sense of safety in the world.

  54. Looper*

    I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to deal with. I’m glad your employer tried to make some ammends for what your coworkers did, but I hope they address this issue on a broader level. I have worked in some toxic offices with some real pieces of work, but this still took my breath away. There is something DEEPLY wrong with your coworkers that their behavior escalated to this. I hope your employer gets to the root of whatever that is.

  55. WantonSeedStitch*

    Vacations and spas are nice, but Jack needs to be fired yesterday, and Jane needs to be put on notice.

    1. The Eye of Argon*

      Jane should get fired also. All she cared about was getting all the nasty details regardless of OP’s wishes and used Jack to try to physically intimidate them out of her. They’re both equally culpable, and despicable.

      1. brjeau*

        If Jack’s job is on the line for physical intimidation, Jane is absolutely on track for firing due to harassment. At least based on what OP was able to piece together, Jack may not have done what he did without Jane’s desire to see herself as a hero in direct opposition to OP’s requests to back off. That’s in no way to absolve Jack of course, but Jane’s actions are every bit as inappropriate and retraumatizing and should be treated as such. I think it’s absolutely understandable and fair if OP doesn’t want to push this any further and focus on her recovery internally, but it seems like she would have grounds to pursue harassment reports against both of them if she wanted to.

  56. Vio*

    The fact that you managed to cope with so much for so long is a credit to you. I hope you don’t ever feel bad for shouting at Jack because, as much as it took out of you, it was exactly the right response to an aggressive invasion of your privacy and personal space. Be proud both that you survived those traumatic experiences and that you managed to properly look after yourself afterwards, that is a truly amazing accomplishment!

    1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

      Echoing Vio’s sentiment – LW absolutely deserves to feel proud of herself for all that she did.

      (And as an aside – thank you Vio for this comment and not at all mentioning what other more violent reaction you may have not had in the office with Jack. It’s feeling a bit like piling on and borderline shamey for LW having a “mild” reaction that, as a fellow assault/abuse survivor, is not nearly as helpful as many people mean it to be. LW’s reaction was the right one simply because it’s the one she had. Full stop.)

  57. Sara without an H*

    LW, I’m sending you Jedi hugs and best wishes for the future.

    As for Jane & Jack — well, if I were your supervisor, I’d be devoting serious thought to whether I wanted to keep them on staff.

  58. Alan*

    This comment will likely get lost in all the others, but Jane and Jack need to be disciplined over this. It seems that we are in hostile-work-environment territory here. Their behavior is mindbogglingly inappropriate.

  59. Addison DeWitt*

    “she didn’t want to get into things until we were actually back at work, but wanted to tell me that I would not be facing any repercussions”

    Wait, why would the LW be facing repercussions? For yelling at the insane dude trying to hold her hostage?

    1. Office Skeptic*

      Exactly! The company is taking the whole “holding a coworker against their will” thing way too lightly. They are gaslighting OP into thinking it’s not as bad as it is.

    2. ChemistryChick*

      It’d be absolutely ridiculous to do that, but there are places who would definitely try to justify disciplining OP for her reaction.

      I’ve been in plenty of situations where I’ve known I’m in the right but can’t help but to have anxiety that I’ll be the one “in trouble” anyway. I think the supervisor was just trying to make sure OP knew the company had her back in this case.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yeah, the world can be a messed up place. A large male coworker threatened to kill me. This scared another (male) coworker so much that he reported this to HR. I got called to HR to be given an oral warning for “antagonizing my coworkers.” The HR generalist said the guy wouldn’t have threatened me unless I said something really bad. When I asked what she was going to say to the guy, she told me he wasn’t in trouble because he didn’t do anything wrong. She added that guy didn’t actually try to kill me so he wasn’t serious. This was many years ago and I’m not sure things have changed all that much.

        1. not a hippo*

          I worked for a family owned business (biiiiig mistake, also no HR) and the brother would routinely threaten and assault me. One time he cornered me in a room and screamed at me over a mistake HE made. I literally couldn’t leave and was too afraid to do anything about it. Eventually someone realized we had both been missing for like 30 minutes and someone came to rescue me.

          The sister told me I shouldn’t have antagonized her brother and I just need to “deal with it.”

          It’s been years but I still wish that place would burn to the ground.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          So, if he had actually thrown you out a window or run over you in the parking lot–what? He might get a write up??

      2. Sleepy Snoopy*

        Yeah, this was my read on it. Not that she was potentially in trouble, but a placation and reassurance that if she was having anxious thoughts about being in trouble, she won’t be and they support her.

      3. AnonPi*

        Yeah, my place has the tendency to let the “complainers” go or ensure the workplace is hostile enough they leave.

        I complained about a training facility and their sexist treatment of the few women that were there, in the hopes we would find another facility to send employees. Instead I was told to shut up and the company would have no problem getting rid of me if I kept complaining.

        A coworker hung up on another coworker because he was yelling at her over the phone. She was disciplined by HR for hanging up on the coworker. The guy yelling at her? Nope.

        So yeah, sadly this kind of stuff happens. I’m glad that was not the case for the LW.

    3. merida*

      right!? My thought too. I wish the higher-ups at OP’s company could see each and every one of these comments and realize how entirely off-base they are.

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      That to me just underlined how badly broken this place is; while trying to apparently sincerely apologize, the leadership felt the need to go “oh, and by the way, you won’t face any repercussions, enjoy the vacation!” Well, thanks LOADS for putting that in my head, how relaxed I will be this week!

      I mean, I guess they might have really been worried she would think that and did want to assure her of the opposite, but man, use better phrasing.

  60. Interviewer*

    You put them on blast in a way they will never forget the heat.

    You deserved every minute of the trip and every penny your company spent to make it up to you. Best wishes as you continue to recover.

  61. Justme, The OG*

    You do not need to feel bad about losing it on your coworker in that situation. I can honestly say I would not have been so kind or gentle had it been me.

  62. Dawn*

    I hate for you how this played out, but I’m so glad to hear that you seem to have turned the corner on it, and that my comment at the time was able to bring just a little bit of light in an otherwise very dark time. I didn’t realize it would be quite so prophetic, but it sounds like you got your spa day after all.

  63. Healthcare Manager*

    Jack needs to be reported to the police. Yes, he also needs to get fired however this is a criminal offence and not just a work issue.

    So sorry this happened to you OP.

    1. Healthcare Manager*

      As a follow up, as you were assaulted at your workplace your work should be paying for any relevant treatment and you shouldn’t need to use your bonus to cover those costs. I imagine how that works will depend on your country’s laws.

      1. anonymous 5*

        YES. I had a bit of an internal record-scratch when I read that LW had used the bonus to pay for additional therapy!

        1. *kalypso*

          Her workplace was the sole significant cause of an exacerbation of her condition.

          100%, workers compensation covers that.

  64. The Eye of Argon*

    Arrrgh, Jane sounds like one of those nimrods who think that people with phobias just need to face their fears and see that there’s nothing to be scared of. Or tell someone in the throes of a panic attack to calm down, there’s nothing to be upset about. Or someone who’s depressed to cheer up, others have it worse.

    I’m still furious at OP’s company, who should have stepped in waaaaaay before she was literally backed into a corner. The bonuses and perks on the vacation were nice, but why the hell didn’t they fire Jack and especially the instigator Jane? All the apologies in the world don’t make up for what they did.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      She is exactly the type to bring in her huge, badly trained dog to “show” a dog-phobic person how silly it is to be scared of Fang, here.

  65. ChemistryChick*

    Holy cow, OP.

    I have no idea on what planet “Hey, let me physically bar this recent assault victim in a corner. That’ll show them I just want to help!” is an appropriate response.
    I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. Absolutely do not feel any shame or remorse for shouting at Jack like that. He stepped so far over the line I’m honestly surprised he wasn’t fired.

    I’m so glad your company realized they needed to make amends and that you got to fully enjoy your vacation. Wishing you nothing but the best in your continued recovery and future.

  66. Margaret Cavendish*

    Whew, that is a LOT. I’m glad your company stepped in – better late than never, I guess – and I’m glad Jane and her pals have finally been told to STFU.

    And *very* glad that you’re on the way to healing, physically and mentally. Please continue to put your needs first when you have to!

  67. Yvette*

    ” She agreed, but instead of doing anything helpful she convinced another of our coworkers, Jack, that cornering me in the kitchen and refusing to let me leave unless I told him what happened would solve all of my issues. From what I pieced together after the fact, she thought that I wasn’t telling anyone what happened because I was afraid of whoever did this to me and that having a strong man on my side to protect me would fix it. (?!?!?!)”

    I call total BS. Not on the part of the Letter Writer but on Jane’s part. That’s just what Jane said to cover the fact that she just wanted all the “juicy information” and figured Jack could get it for her that way.

    Letter Writer I am so sorry you went through any of this.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I believe that Jane believed (or convinced herself) she was helping! It can be very tempting to cast yourself in a heroic role, the One Who Cared Enough To Save LW From Abuse No Matter What – the problem being, of course, that real life isn’t a story and other people aren’t characters who exist to give you narrative satisfaction.

      1. Le Sigh*

        I think certainly it could be covering her ass, but I also can totally believe she had convinced herself she was helping. People often still have a very poor understanding of trauma, violent crime and assault and say some unbelievably stupid things. Add in a savoir complex and I can see how someone talked themselves into this awful plan.

      2. brjeau*

        Yep, Jane’s behavior reads to me as someone who is perfectly convinced she’s Doing The Right Thing and would be very offended by the suggestion that she’s in it for the gossip. She’s full of it, of course, and I sincerely hope that OP’s reaction to Jack finally brought her back to earth.

  68. Angry & Menopausal Middle Manager*

    The fact that her supervisor told her not to worry about any repurcussions from her exploding on Jack has me enraged. Of course there aren’t repurcussions for Jack right? Who in their right mind thinks cornering a poor woman like that is remotely acceptable at any time?
    Jack and Jane need to be fired and the supervisor should apologize for even suggesting that the OP behaved in a way that they need to worry about a talking to from management. UGH.

    1. Emily*

      I am actually glad LW’s supervisor specifically told her she would not be facing repercussions. While it seems like common sense/decency that clearly LW was 100% in the right and Jack was 100% in the wrong, there have been too many times when the person who is being pushed finally pushes back and is punished for it instead of the instigator. I’m not defending LW’s company because it is clear as day they should have nipped this in the bud right away but didn’t, but I am glad LW’s supervisor said this to her.

  69. Anonymous Aardvark*

    I am so sorry that Jane and Jack did that to you. It is inexcusable, and I hope they both feel repercussions at the office because of it.

    That being said, as an admin assistant, I want you to know that I would HAPPILY take on several hours of more work if you were coworker. It’s not my place to question to why you would be out, but if my boss came and said co-worker has an emergency and will be out, I’d be more than okay with stepping up to help cover. Because I have been a person who has an emergency and has had to be out for a period of time.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah, I’m glad OP has internalized the notion that you can ask for what you need. Just echoing that I would not be angry if I had more work because a coworker had an emergency. Worried, maybe, but I wouldn’t do…….any of this.

    2. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      yes! I had a family emergency and was out full time for several weeks during our crunch time and part time and heavily distracted for many more and nobody batted an eye. They met, split the work between them and were gracious when I came back in letting me take back the work a little at a time.

      Nobody is blinking when I use my vacation now either, they don’t consider FMLA vacation and know that I need vacation probably more than before.

  70. Waterfire*

    What in the ever living hell did Jack think he was doing?!? I’m so furious on your behalf. The utter idiocy of it.

    I’m so glad you got what you deserved out the company, LW, but I wish you hadn’t have had to have a full screaming fit at Jack to get it. Even though he fully deserved it, and more.

  71. WhoKnows*

    Honestly, this is one of the only times I completely endorse an outburst at work. Every single one of them had it coming. I’m so sorry you had to go through all this after such a horrible event. I’m glad you had a good vacation and are on the road to recovery.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Not only do I endorse it, I feel like any person would be hard pressed not to react the same way under the circumstances. It’s the correct reaction, and just such an automatic one.

    2. Office Skeptic*

      I wouldn’t even call this an outburst – it was a self-defense mechanism when someone was holding OP against her will. It’s exactly what self-defense instructors tell you to do (before using physical force).

  72. Talk is cheap... please have exact change*

    Oh, OP… I am so profoundly sorry for what you’ve been through. So glad you had a wonderful vacation, free of co-workers and that things were handled well on the vacay and back at work. All the best in the future for you.

  73. Ms. Vader*

    Alison, add this to the Worst Coworkers of the Year list at the end of the year!

  74. Emily*

    LW, I’m sorry your company handled things so poorly (what they did to try and make up for it is nice, but does not excuse not handling it better in the first place). I’m questioning why Jane and Jack are still employed there. I am glad you were able to enjoy your vacation and please don’t feel bad at all for screaming at Jack. He was wildly and totally out of line.

  75. BabaYaga*

    First of all: OP, I am so so so proud of you, despite not knowing you, for standing up for yourself. What happened to you (every step of the way) sounds f*ing horrendous and I wish you all the best.

    Secondly, there better be a damn good reason Jack and Jane weren’t fired for that inexcusable lack of judgement. Jack for doing something that wouldn’t be OK under any circumstance and Jane for directly contravening the expressed wishes of a coworker in a way that was both dangerous (what if OP’s trauma response had been to – justifiably- injure Jack in an effort to escape?) and stupid.

    Like, I don’t react well to being cornered at the best of times but if someone had cornered me after I’d been assaulted I would almost certainly have broken their nose or worse. Hell, it took me years of therapy and hard work to avoid decking people who startle me!

    I still can’t go to Halloween events if people are going to jump out unless I know for sure they can’t touch me, because the one time I tried, I slammed a vampire back into his coffin and roared at him. I did apologize and make sure he wasn’t hurt before getting my friends to hang onto my arms so I couldn’t hurt any of the actors before we got out.

  76. ecnaseener*

    Ugh, how awful that it got to this point. If the outburst is what it took for Jane, Jack, and all the other pushy coworkers to learn their lesson about white-knighting, so be it – hopefully they will never treat anyone like this again.

    Glad the treatment and vacation helped and that your employer finally got their act together.

  77. Elsa*

    This is one of those rare cases where losing your cool and yelling is the exact right thing to do. And it was the only thing that made the necessary impact. Definitely don’t feel bad about doing it – it was exactly what was unfortunately needed.

  78. Health Insurance Nerd*

    Wow, LW, I am so sorry you had to go through that on top of the trauma that led to those events- OF COURSE you lost it at Jack, I have no idea how anyone would have been able to hold it together in that situation! While it’s nice that you were told you wouldn’t face any repercussions for the outburst (but, why would anyway??!), it seems like there should have been substantial repercussions for what Jack did- trapping another employee and refusing to let them pass, regardless of his intentions, is so beyond the pale.

  79. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    One of the more horrific updates.

    OP, I am glad you are getting the help you need and don’t feel even a tiny bit bad for yelling. Totally deserved and unfortunately necessary.

  80. Anita Brake*

    I cannot think of a better response on your part…or a better mic drop! I am SO sorry this whole thing happened to you, and sorry that people at your workplace were absolute blockheads, but sometimes people refuse to believe anything they don’t want to hear. You did a great job! You deserve every nice thing they did for you. 100% perfectly well done!!

    1. Anita Brake*

      P. S. And I can’t BELIEVE that Jane thought she should ask Jack to trap you after what you went throught…O. M. F. G. What a dumb, thoughtless, insensitive, triggering idea (and probably many more adjectives!). My jaw is on the floor.

    2. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Seriously, mic drop!
      I feel like I lived vicariously through the OP for saying what she needed to say in a terrible moment. I have several moments when I wish I said the things out loud that needed to be said!

      Kudos OP!

  81. Sick of Workplace Bullshit (she/her)*

    I am seriously agog at your coworkers. The nerve! The entitlement! I am speechless.

    I am so sorry the initial assault happened to you, and also sorry that it was compounded by your psychotic (I can think of no other word that’s apt) coworkers. I’ve been assaulted more than once, and I can’t imagine having to deal with people like that. But I am SO GLAD you blew up at Jack. I think it was more than warranted, and you don’t have a thing to feel bad about there. At least your company finally stepped up and made what amends it could.

    Wishing you a good recovery.

  82. Former Greenhouse Goblin*

    Many hugs and love to you OP. I’m so sorry it had to resort to that. I hope you have more healing in the future.

  83. CouldntPickAUsername*

    “She also let me know that the company would be upgrading me from economy to business on the flight there and back, giving me a gift certificate for the resort spa, issuing me a bonus in my next paycheck as a token of their appreciation for all my hard work, as well as granting me an extra week of PTO to replace the time off I’d had to use at the end of tax season. ”

    translation: “please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. please don’t sue us. “

    1. not a hippo*

      Yep! And while I’m not usually a litigious mammal, I think the LW should sue the pants off them, especially if Jack & Jill remain employed there.

      You ain’t fixing that crap with a vacation.

    2. OyHiOh*

      This was my thought as well. The seat upgrade, while certainly more comfortable and a thoughtful gesture with the rest of the upgrade package, also reads as giving Jack and Jane absolutely zero opportunity to misbehave

  84. Workingfromhome*

    Jack and Jane need the riot act read to them and a written reprimand in their files.

  85. any mouse*

    Jane and Jack need to be fired or at the very least have some kind of major write up and some kind of probationary period. Although I don’t know how you can counsel someone to NOT BE AN ASS to a traumatized co worker.

    I’m so sorry no one else stood up for you and told them to leave you alone. Your manager needs a lesson in how to manage because what she should have done is hauled everyone in the first time it happened to stop asking you questions and if it continued there would be repercussions for them.

    I also hope that you will never ever have to work with or near either of them again. And yes I think they are worried about being sued.

  86. merida*

    Oh wow, that got wayyy worse than I ever could have imagined. My heart broke for you, OP, but I am cheering you on. May your future hold much peace, healing, and better colleagues.

    1. merida*

      Oh, and PSA to anyone who works in HR/administration: this is, in part, why sensitivity training/sexual harassment training/”how to be a decent person at work” training matters. While a lot of people roll their eyes at these kind of required trainings, there are still clearly people who do need it. People must be taught how to be decent.

      1. Cyndi*

        I wonder about that, unfortunately–because at least in my experience, workplace harassment training leans heavily on the victim and bystanders’ obligation to report to HR; a lot of the scenarios presented are like “if you witnessed this harassment situation, how would you respond and then how would you talk the victim into reporting it to HR?”

        Sensitivity to the victim themself is…not the biggest emphasis, and if anything I feel like it’s possible for these kinds of trainings to reinforce behavior like the way LW’s coworkers treated her.

        1. Antigone Funn*

          I actually just did this training for my employer. I grumbled about it, but your comment made me appreciate how good and thorough the training was. It said specifically that bystanders are not to harass a victim into reporting, included examples of judgemental and non-judgemental language, and emphasized supporting the victim on their own terms and not trying to push them into any particular action. Jane and Jack definitely would have learned a thing or two, assuming they aren’t total doorknobs.

          But, this is a large public university with a lot of resources, not a small company where “HR” is just the person who does payroll and the biggest concern is avoiding lawsuits. I’m sure that makes a huge difference.

        2. Antigone Funn*

          I grumbled about doing this training just recently, but your comment made me appreciate how good it actually was. It emphasized how bystanders could support a victim without being judgemental or pushy, including lots of examples of do’s and don’ts, and made it clear that victims have no duty to report if they don’t want to (but also offered a whole menu of options if they did).

          But, this is a large public university, not a small company where “HR” is just the person who does payroll. If what the LW described happened here, it would probably be in the news. I’m sure that makes a huge difference.

      2. Fly on the wall*

        Big sigh to this. Our “how to be a decent person at work” training gets repeated every two years. It does wonders for about 6 weeks for one supervisor. It sure is a long-ass time till the next raining rolls around.

  87. AnnieB*

    it’s been said already how outrageous it is to even imply the OP might have faced repercussions, and I want to reiterate it. There are plenty of ways to convey “we’re outraged and horrified and sorry about how you were treated in our workplace” without “don’t worry, we won’t penalise you for your totally normal reaction to false imprisonment after a traumatic experience”. you could start with a massive apology, that generally implies you don’t need to worry you’ll be blamed

    1. Observer*

      Actually, given how stupid many workplaces are, that’s unfortunately not a given. Look at how often “zero tolerance” policies get applied to the victim equally to the agressor. Add a dash of “Why didn’t she TALK to us?!” and the fact that both Jane and Jack were still in their jobs, and yes, it needed to be said.

  88. Chilipepper Attitude*

    I’ve reread the letter several times, and I know not every detail is there. But why did the supervisor tell the letter writer AT THE AIRPORT GATE that there would be no repercussions (for a fully justified talking to that OP gave Jack and the office) and that they were giving her all the upgrades for the trip? Why was this not communicated earlier so the OP had the info she needed to decide if she even wanted to go on the trip? I know there are reasons that a workplace cannot communicate with you when you are on leave, but still, Jack’s actions were so bad, I think reaching out to the OP to ask her to talk to them about it would be warranted.

    As others said, this reeks of, “please don’t sue us” and does not communicate to me that the workplace values anyone, never mind the OP.

  89. ErgoBun*

    What the HELL is wrong with Jane and Jack?!?!?!?!?! I hope they both got some intensive re-training at the very least — some kind of formal reprimand would be better.

  90. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

    Jane and Jack need to both be fired. Letters of apology not enough. Management sucks too. Glad you got the vacation out of the situation but I’d seriously be thinking of finding another less cuckoo workplace.

      1. Blue*

        Especially since IIRC, the workplace was full of coworkers pushily asking intrusive questions – it’s just that Jane and Jack who took it to a whole ‘nother level of terrible.

    1. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      The more I read this, the more I agree, it is time to start looking for a new job.

  91. Jessica*

    The thought of a male coworker physically preventing a woman who’s recently been assaulted from leaving the room until she relives her assault in front of him to his satisfaction and gratification made me literally see white for a moment.

    Jack should not still have a job. That is literally physically coercive sexual harassment.

    1. GrooveBat*

      The fact that he did this to an assault survivor magnifies the severity a billion-fold, but, just to be clear, it should *never* be acceptable to physically trap a co-worker (or anyone, really).

      I agree Jack should have been fired. It was a physical assault and should be grounds for dismissal regardless of the OP’s circumstances.

    2. Old Admin*

      I was cornered at a private party by a drunk man trying to flirt with me. He also stretched out his arm and put his hand against the the wall right next to me to box me in.
      He’d done that to another woman who was weakly laughing while he babbled until I told him to leave her alone.
      When it was my turn, I said: “Take that hand away before I break it for you!”
      He was shocked and left the party.
      I was blamed for my behavior.

  92. I don't want to be cornered either*

    I never post, but I couldn’t let this episode pass uncommented upon. I struggle with depression, and last Friday I was nagged and coerced by a coworker till I disclosed that. I wanted to not be pushed to be what I am not (an extrovert), and I am resentful and pissed off that a coworker has hounded me for five years because I am not the same as her, and my job is different from hers.
    This episode is not nearly as bad as what the OP went through, but shares boundry violating by overbearing coworkers. What are people thinking?
    I will probably retire earlier than I want to, to get away from this. I know noone is irreplacable, but my departure will leave a large gap in knowledge and experience. After this just don’t care like I used to.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      This is unacceptable and should never have been allowed to occur at your workplace. I am so sorry.

  93. aebhel*

    I’m absolutely appalled at Jane and (especially!!) Jack, my god. I understand feeling not great about losing your sh*t at him, but it was 100% justified and seems to have been the only thing that would get across how inappropriately they were all behaving. I’m glad that your company is finally doing the right thing after dropping the ball on this so catastrophically.

    I hope you find peace and healing and are surrounded by people who know how to behave decently.

  94. Not A Manager*

    Your description of being literally trapped by Jack, and your response to it, is just heart-rending. I’m so, so sorry that happened to you. Your co-workers deserve every bit of shame and guilt that they feel. I’m glad your company tried to make amends to you.

  95. Kat A.*

    It shouldn’t have gotten to the point that it did for the supervisors to do anything. Why are so many supervisors like that?

    I’m relieved the company FINALLY did something right, but Jack should have been fired.

  96. Twill*

    One the thing that jumped out at me was WHY would the OP’s supervisor even think she needed to say the OP “won’t be facing any repercussions ” Why would they? OP didn’t do anything wrong, the co-workers did! I assume supervisor was just trying to assure the OP, but honestly I feel like she should have said the issue (Jane and Jack) would be dealt with.

    Regardless – OP, I am so sorry you went through all of this.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      A) Lots of managers are really bad and there would be repercussions, so this one wanting to reassure that there would not is a reasonable acknowledgement of the world we live in. B) Under lots of circumstances, someone in that field abruptly taking PTO during tax season would face repercussions. So even if the manager in question weren’t trying to quell concerns that there might be repercussions for yelling at Jack, there might have been concerns about repercussions about the walk out.
      Again, not saying in any universe given the circumstances would it be reasonable for OP to actually face repercussions for any of this, but the reason WHY the supervisor would think she needed to say it is so that if OP might have been worrying about it, OP could stop worrying about it.

    2. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Women face repercussions ALL THE TIME when they stand up for themselves.
      On a small level, claiming an idea you presented in a meeting after a colleague tried to present it as their own might earn you the reputation of not being a “team player” (Happened to me in my 30s and cost me a promotion)
      Refusing to take on admin duties for the department when you are not in an admin role, or refusing to be the one to always take notes in meetings, or declining to be the office party planner all are things that get backlash. (See numerous posts here)
      Women even get backlash for not smiling enough (they get told they have “resting bitch face” – a thing that there is no male equivalent for) and sometimes for smiling too much (aka “flirting”) There’s literally no way a woman can meet the conflicting expectations.
      They get told they need to learn to be more gracious and pleasantly take a compliment when they report a coworker who won’t stop talking about their “nice rack” (happened to me in my 20s. I got a lecture and note in my file, coworker got no repercussions)
      Women get tone policed ALL the time. We’re expected to hedge things with “I might be wrong but….” or “What do you think about this idea?” Confidence is viewed as a positive in men, and women are “aggressive” when they do the same.
      It’s OFTEN not safe for women to stand up for themselves or draw boundaries.
      So yeah, if she spoke loudly and harshly to a colleague in front of the whole office, no matter how justified, it’s reasonable that she might be worried about repercussions for not being a compliant, quiet, sweet woman at all times in the office.
      Supervisor was 100% right to say that. And in saying that, she was making it clear that the fallout was ALL on Jane, Jack and the jerks. Which OP probably appreciated hearing.

    3. Francie Foxglove*

      As I said earlier, it’s a good thing that the entire office heard LW going off on Jack. Can you imagine if there were no witnesses, and it got spun into “Poor Jack was only trying to help, and LW had a temper tantrum! Can you believe how unstable she is?”

    4. Allonge*

      Some things are better if they are spelled out ‘for the record’ – how many times do we push here for clear communication?

    5. metadata minion*

      Even in a perfect workplace (which this is…clearly not) with a manager you know will have your back, it’s *very* common to feel guilty in this sort of situation. Under normal circumstances, yelling at a coworker like that would be obviously not ok, and it can be hard to shake the feeling that there was some magical polite way to solve the problem that you “should” have used. I really hope the LW’s supervisor was saying this in a “just to make it 100% clear” sort of way, not a “well, we’re letting this slide this once” kind of way.

  97. IHaveKittens*

    I have tears in my eyes just reading this. OP, I am SO sorry that this happened to you. I think you are amazing. I don’t know if I would ever have been able to go back to that job. I am with those who think that Jane and Jack should have been fired – cornering an assault survivor and demanding all the details??? WTAF?? That is insane!

    I hope you continue to heal and that nothing like this ever happens to you again.

  98. CommentKoi*

    What Jack did was horrifying. That made me breathlessly angry on OP’s behalf; I probably would have lost it on him too. I hope he faced some major consequences for that. He honestly ought to be fired, even if he is apologetic. Cornering and physically restraining a coworker is straight up harassment.

  99. Zarniwoop*

    I hope LW’s employer isn’t expecting her to work with Jane and especially Jack after this. She may well choose to do so, but she’d have every right not to after having her trust violated and being physically intimidated.

    Written apologies alone are not enough to come back from that.

  100. Michelle Smith*

    I am giving you the biggest virtual hug in the world for everything you went through. And while I am extremely disappointed that it came to that, I’m glad that those in the office were not protected from hearing exactly how horrible their treatment of you was. I hope they learned a very important lesson.

  101. Delta Delta*

    Well wishers at work: If there’s anything we can do, let us know
    OP: Actually, please just leave me alone about this. It’s a lot and I’m trying to work.
    Well wishers at work: Oh, we can’t possibly do that.

    This is awful. And the fact they aren’t really getting in any trouble is deeply troubling. And who, at what point, thought “hey, let’s box her in to the kitchen” would be a good plan? Argh. This is terrible.

    1. Old Admin*

      Proper well wishers at work: Let us know if we can help, hug, accompany you to your car etc. Just ask.
      OP: Actually, please just leave me alone about this.
      Proper well wishers at work: OK. *respectful distance* *talk about work*

  102. Ex-prof*

    Wow. I’m sorry your co-workers were so horrible to you at such a difficult time.

    You’ll never look at them the same way again. But don’t ever blame yourself for that. It was their doing.

  103. Zarniwoop*

    I may be overly cynical, but does anyone else think the employer is being so generous in hopes of forestalling an extremely expensive lawsuit they think they’d probably lose?

    1. Sylvan*

      I thought they were avoiding others in the community finding out what happened, but, well, same line of logic.

  104. Ex-prof*

    Another thing: Losing your temper was the best thing you could have done in the circumstances. I hate that women have to lose it before some people will take their needs seriously. I really hate it. But sometimes it’s true.

  105. Squirrel*

    And people wonder why women (or anyone) don’t report assaults? This is how the OP’s “friends” treated her! OP: my deepest, deepest sympathies for all you have been through. I send you all the healing power within me.

  106. Our Lady of Shining Eels*

    LW, my heart goes out to you. I am also a survivor of assault, and my heart ripped into a thousand pieces reading about the absolute trash fire you endured courtesy of Jack & Jane.

    I seriously hope you never have to interact with those two dunderheads again.

  107. Lauren*

    I have so many feelings that I literally just screamed when reading this. I’m glad they all finally appeared to listen, but your words should have been enough. You shouldn’t have needed to yell back that he / they were retraumatizing you.

    AAM – What would be an HR playbook for this kind of thing? How do you mitigate all the intrusive questions. Is it an email out ?

    Someone on our team was recently assaulted. You may see evidence of this on their person. Do not ask them about it. Every question is retraumatizing this employee. You are not good friends this week. You are not the exception to asking questions. Stay silent. Do not offer sympathy. Do not be the 50th person in the last hour to talk to the employee. You are not special. Don’t bring it up. He/she does not want to talk about their private experience at work at all. If they bring it up, listen – but let them lead the conversation and then drop it. Do not gossip either.

    1. Lauren*

      maybe add – they are safe now. we are respecting how they want to move forward. You should to.

    2. *kalypso*

      Aw hell no. That’s just advertising someone’s personal business.

      At most, a ‘don’t talk about people’s personal lives at work’ quietly to people in their team, with an ‘I’m aware, they’re ok and that’s the end of it’ if anyone raises concerns. Which their process should be ‘if x’s work is affected let your/their manager know, if not, keep yourself to yourself’ anyway.

    3. Zarniwoop*

      “If someone tells you they don’t want to talk about something personal, don’t try to talk them about it.”

    4. Bex (in computers)*

      Dear heavens no, not an email out to people. There is no reason to disclose that to anyone.

      If people don’t want to listen to someone saying “I’d rather not discuss that”, that’s a separate issue than the trauma of being assaulted. Basic respect for colleagues can be taught and addressed without ever having to put out the news (even “anonymized”) that someone was assaulted.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      You don’t need a mass email out because people should know not to do that. In the LW’s situation where they had appalling EQ and boundaries, the manager should have been taking people aside one on one in person after LW raised the problem. Anyone who would do this needs to be told to their face that they are on thin ice.

    6. Sylvan*

      No, please don’t disclose somebody else’s assault to others or talk about their mental health. This email would make OP more of a target.

  108. Aggretsuko*

    At the very least, Jack and company had to do extra work because they drove OP out of the office. I guess that’s….something.

    I can’t believe someone acted like this. Jack deserved the screaming at, for sure.

  109. GlitterIsEverything*

    OP, “I’m so sorry this happened to you” doesn’t even touch a hundredth of the empathy I’m sending.

    Jack and Jane are incredibly lucky to still have jobs, and the supervisor who was aware of it should have stepped in immediately. Their behavior put you in a place where inpatient therapy was needed. It truly terrifies me to think what kind of damage they could have caused had you been in a long term relationship, or if you had children and they pushed like this. What’s worse, is they probably would have pushed HARDER in that situation, ostensibly to get you out or protect the kid(s).

    I would hope that you also see a DV policy appear in your HR policies soon, if it’s not there yet.

  110. Brad Deltan*

    Am I wrong in thinking that what Jane & Jack should’ve been enough to have them be immediately fired? Jack, especially, assaulted a female coworker. He might not see it like that, but that’s what he did. I really don’t care about any other circumstances, but I would not at all be comfortable working at any company that continued to employ them.

    The LW’s supervisor’s continued employment seems like it should be doubtful-at-best, too. They’re a TERRIBLE manager.

  111. Nysee*

    I’m speechless. LW made it clear she had no desire to speak about her assault. Yet those coworkers badgered her incessantly, and tried to outdo each other in being the first to get the “scoop.” I have words for Jack, but I’d be kicked off the internet if I posted them.

    LW, I’m so sorry. Don’t spend one second thinking you did anything wrong; I’m surprised it took you that long. I hope all of those coworkers drown in guilt for the rest of their lives. shame on the manager for not shutting it down.

  112. Dhaskoi*

    OP, your coworkers are lunatics. I don’t care how sorry they are, if job searching is at all an option, get out of there. The very fact that Jane and jack still have jobs after this insanity is a sign that your workplace is neither functional or safe.

  113. Zarniwoop*

    So they generously gave her a free week off to cover the inpatient treatment she probably wouldn’t have needed if work had been the eight hour respite from having to think about what happened that it should have been, rather than a place to be harassed about it (after asking management to make it stop) and ultimately assaulted and retraumatized.

    They gave her a bonus she’s spending on more therapy she might not have needed if (see above.)

    They gave her a seat upgrade and a spa upgrade (at corporate rate.)

    They gave her written apologies from the worst perpetrators.

    That’s it, right?

    I bet a good lawyer could extract a lot more from these bastards. Especially seeing how Jane *and Jake* are both still working there.

    1. Other Duties as Assigned*

      Re: the apology letters that the OP says “seem sincere.” I think there’s a non-zero chance that these letters were requested by if not outright written by a lawyer looking to head off a potential lawsuit. Jane and Jack are demonstrably awful and people like that are just incapable of conjuring up anything close to being truly apologetic.

      Jane and Jack both need to be fired. Period.

  114. Lilac*

    I’m really hoping that everyone at OP’s office learnt a valuable lesson that the human right in front of them comes before whatever curiosity they wanted to come first. And I hope OP is going okay.

  115. Old sea hag now but still scary.*

    Glad you are feeling better, and that the @$$holes you work with got some of what they deserve. Wishing you well!

  116. anywhere but here*

    1) It may be worth getting a lawyer if there is anything more you want to see from the company (especially in terms of consequences for the offending employees).
    2) I’m not sure about the people second-guessing your response (as referenced in the comment at the top), but I am here to say you are 1,000% correct for it! In an ordinary polite situation, you can be ordinary and polite. This wasn’t that! Contrary to popular belief, there are times when it is not only justified but GOOD to have a big reaction to something. The coworkers’ behavior was seriously messed up, and you responded accordingly. The idea that Alison has mentioned before of “putting the awkwardness back on the person who is causing it” seems to apply here, although awkward isn’t the right word for what’s going on. Please don’t feel bad or embarrassed for being a human being who reacted in a completely understandable way to an awful situation.

  117. Anne Wentworth*

    Oh my god Jack should be fired. What on earth possessed him to physically threaten a coworker that way, much less one with the kind of visible marks that the LW described?

  118. Can't believe people are like this.*

    Damn, I am so sorry that happened to you letter writer. You have nothing to feel even a little bit guilty or bad about, you did what you had to do and honestly, if you decide to do something like suing them, that would be valid as well. What they did was so wrong I can’t wrap my head around it. Take care of yourself and f anyone who gets in your way.

  119. I'd rather be snuggling my cat*

    So much love to you, LW. You stood up for yourself admirably in the face of some serious and protracted bullshit, and I hope now you get to treat yourself with all the compassion and gentleness your colleagues so egregiously failed to provide. You are clearly an incredibly strong person who is so much more than this horrible series of events that happened to you.

    I’m wishing you healing on the inside and the outside, and am rooting hard for you no matter what comes next for you. It can be easy to forget that the things that made you you before a trauma are still there, but they are, and always will be. I hope those things lead you to the peace you so deeply deserve.

  120. Francie Foxglove*

    Maybe some of the commenters are saying “Good for you doing the right thing, because I would have done the wrong thing. I would have hit/slapped/kneed him and been fired for assault. Or I would have said ‘I’m gonna kill you,’ or ‘F you all,’ and been fired for threats or aggressive language.” Like, they’re complimenting her for handling it admirably, and they fear they would have done *worse*, in her shoes.

    1. AnxietyRobot*

      Honestly, as a survivor, I’ve had people do that and it isn’t any better. Positive judgement of someone’s trauma response is still judgement. In general, if someone describes a traumatic experience, hypothesizing what you would’ve done in that situation is best kept to yourself.

  121. Cheesesticks*

    Your supervisor and management utterly failed you. Jack and Jane should both be terminated. Your supervisor tripping over herself at the gate with all of the upgrades and bonuses really smell to me like damage control. I am willing to bet your company is hoping you don’t bring a lawsuit against them for the harassment you suffered from all of your coworkers.

    I am so sad to hear that it escalated to the point that you got trapped in the breakroom. WTF was Jack thinking? What were any of your coworkers thinking? What a crappy bunch of vultures.

    Sending healing thoughts to you OP.

  122. Mothman*

    I was in a “long sleeves relationship,” and I wish I had had half your guts when it came to how my bosses handled the tiny bit of info they got.

    I’m glad you got the help you need and can continue to do so!

  123. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    As a manager, I would have to think long and hard about whether a man who thought it was okay to physically trap a woman in a small space until she did what he wanted could remain in my employment.

  124. IAAL - just not in the US*

    This is absolutely criminal conduct by J&J (both). It is hard to comprehend how the company would not have any responsibility for the its employees causing injury to another employee in the workplace. The OP is stunningly gracious in her acceptance of the apologies, but they owe you so much more. OP – this is egregiously awful behavior by EVERYONE except you. I wish you good health and a better workplace with decent employers and co-workers.

  125. Eric Christenson*

    LW, you deserve a hug and more time to get your head back on straight. I think your manager realized that you would have been well justified in a lawsuit there (or being the best worker walking out on the spot) and decided it was better to be veerry nice to you.

    E Jean Carroll’s testimony against Donald Trump this week has been incredibly poised and a class for the rest of us in just how varied responses to assaults can be.

  126. Clara*

    Really proud of you for sticking up for yourself, OP. Horrified that it had to come about this way. Wishing you all the best.

  127. Jenny*

    Oh man.. I came onto this page to ask a question about a colleague and have just read this post and now nothing seems important anymore…
    I’m sorry you have had to go through all of this

    1. Capt. Dunkirk*

      I know it’s almost never appropriate to shout and curse at a coworker – and loud enough for everyone else to hear – but this situation absolutely qualifies.

  128. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I needed a break after reading this, because after I returned to work after being assaulted in 2010 I was forcefully hugged from behind by a very senior male member of staff. He stated, later, that he was just trying to show that not all men were evil. He was lying, he was a major creep.

    In that moment the whole horror came back and increased because I now knew I wasn’t safe at work either. I was a thing, an object for other people to gossip about and try to ‘fix’.

    I’m very sorry. I hope you find a safe place with decent people.

    1. Happy Pineapple*

      I’m so sorry. That is absolutely disgusting. I hope you were able to find the help you needed to heal. This also gave me flashbacks to times that I was cornered after I was assaulted. I snapped like OP did and honestly he was lucky it was only verbal.

  129. Sylvan*

    OP, your coworkers are still scum, and I think that you should find a new job if at all possible.

  130. Julia*

    I think Jack and Jane should at the least be written up (or whatever form of discipline is used in that office) and it is made a “final warning”. Maybe even excluded from the Coasta Rica trip because what they dis was just completely awful.

    I cannot believe anyone thought trying to corner OP and not letting her leave until she told them what happened was in any way okay or appropriate.

    1. Essess*

      Agreed. Terrorizing a coworker and causing the loss of staff during the busy season so they actually made the work harder for the entire team during the busy season so they shouldn’t receive the reward trip.

  131. CommanderBanana*

    “She also let me know that the company would be upgrading me from economy to business on the flight there and back, giving me a gift certificate for the resort spa, issuing me a bonus in my next paycheck as a token of their appreciation for all my hard work, as well as granting me an extra week of PTO to replace the time off I’d had to use at the end of tax season.”

    While this is great, this also sets of my “oh shit, we realized you have grounds for a lawsuit and we are trying to stop that from happening” alarm.

    1. Mimmy*

      Yup, they’re almost OVER-compensating the OP. I’m sure Jane and Jack were sternly spoken to–hence the handwritten apologies–yet, I am surprised that there appears to have been no further consequences for them, at least from what’s written here, especially for Jack.

      OP, I am glad you are doing better. Wishing you all the best.

      1. Observer*

        Not at all.

        Of course they are worried about a law suit. It’s VERY hard to win an “infliction of emotional distress” case, but I suspect that this would actually have a high chance of winning.

        On the other hand, these things are a really good way to deal with the situation. It allows the OP to not only go on the trip, but actually enjoy it, and even enjoy it more than she would normally have done. Keep in mind that the OP nearly didn’t go on the trip because she didn’t want to see her coworkers, and that’s far from surprising. Taking away that issue is probably the most sensible move management has made in the whole mess.

  132. Trek*

    OP STANDING OVATION for how you handled everything. Seriously. You tried to be clear about what you needed and didn’t need and that wasn’t respected. You lost it on Jack in a very professional way -I would have had four letter words and insulted four generations of his family and made it clear to my boss that I will never speak to Jane or Jack again and they had better never come near me.
    You made it very clear you are not there for their needs. That was the point all along. You were not there to meet their needs and everything they were doing were disregarding your needs. You reached out to your therapist and got the help you needed. Again Standing Ovation! You then said I deserve this trip and went knowing you may have to face your coworkers which was not easy.
    Bottom line you know how to take care of yourself and I think you are amazing!!

  133. Capt. Dunkirk*

    I know it’s almost never appropriate to shout and curse at a coworker – and loud enough for everyone else to hear – but this situation absolutely qualifies.

  134. What She Said*

    This made my eyes water up. My heart hurts for all that you had to go through, and the co-worker earned every word of that tongue-lashing you gave him. Your company did the right thing regarding the trip and the PTO and everything, so kudos to them. Stay strong, OP.

  135. Aarti*

    The more I read this the more tears came to my eyes. OP, I am so sorry about Jack and Jane and glad you had a good time at the resort.

  136. knitcrazybooknut*

    OP, I’m so sorry this happened to you — every part of it. I hope that you’re doing well, and know that you have many people thinking of you and wishing you all the good things ever.

  137. Jasmi*

    OP, I’m so sorry this happened to you and that you had to deal with all that at work afterwards. I was thinking about you a lot today after reading this update – hope you’re doing better now. Sending best wishes your way.

  138. Moose*

    OP, if you’re reading the comments, just want to say I’m so sorry you had to go through all this and you can’t be blamed for your reaction to Jack at all. So very understandable after what you’ve been through and how your coworkers acted. (What is up with people??)

    I’m so glad you’re doing better and that your company tried to do right by you after your coworkers’ misbehavior.

  139. whatchamacallit*

    Jane and Jack should have been fired. Or suspended without pay in some way at the very least.

    1. SMH*

      I would have taken the trip from them at least but firing would have been justified. Harassing an assault victim. Unbelievable.

  140. HotSauce*

    I am so sorry you had to go through that OP, but I am glad that your company is at least trying to make up for their gigantic blunder.

  141. The Shenanigans*

    Yeah, that’s an office that’s afraid of a lawsuit. And she’d have one on SEVERAL grounds here. I’m not saying she should sue, maybe just taking advantage of their OH SHIT DAMAGE CONTROL reaction would be best for her mental health. But, yeah, I’d bet a decent chunk of change that’s why they are being so solicitous toward her now.

    I hope the OP has real, actual support that can help her heal from both the assault and the rape culture retraumatization by the office. Whether that means taking time off, changing jobs (since now the office is a trigger point thanks to the ghouls there), or having a therapist on speed dial, I really, truly hope she finds a way to put her life back together.

    I also want to say that this is the dark side of the true-crime obsession. I’m not judging – I am fascinated by it all too. Pretty much every woman in America is for obvious reasons. But we really need to take a step back and not treat everyone’s pain as entertainment. It’s bad enough when it’s ripped from the headlines SVU or something. It’s so much worse when it’s someone’s actual life. I do hope that’s why the busybodies are feeling so guilty – they see what they did and are deeply (and rightly) ashamed. I hope that causes them – and us – to step back a bit.

  142. Random Biter*

    OP, you are a rockstar. And I want to throat punch Jack on your behalf.

  143. TG*

    I am so sorry it got so bad but glad for you that it ended up getting better. I hope however you work through what you went through you know that many people out here are hoping for your health and happiness you’re an amazing example of strength and grit!

  144. Sarah*

    Honestly, it’s really refreshing to hear that people who mess up with issues like this can come to their senses. It sucks this happened to you, but I’m glad your company, supervisor, and coworkers finally saw the light and stepped up to try and remediate things on their end.

    Wishing you smoother sailing in your recovery going forward.

  145. Mia*

    OP, my heart goes out to you. For what it’s worth, I’m proud of you for advocating for yourself regardless of how it came about, and for doing what you needed. Reaching out to your therapist for an emergency session was very healthy. I’m so sorry for what you went through. I wish you the best in healing from both traumas.

  146. Happy Pineapple*

    LW, as a fellow survivor I am so deeply sorry that this happened to you, all of it. I’m beyond horrified by your coworkers’ responses. I can’t even put into words how appalling this is. I’m also incredibly proud of you both for how admirably you reacted and also for standing up for yourself. Absolutely NONE of this is your fault. You are fully within your rights to pursue legal action if you want to against anyone involved, but it is also okay if you want to put this all behind you.

    Please take all the time you need to heal and take care of yourself. It will be a long process, but I do promise that it gets better.

  147. Tech writer*

    Holy moly. My dad has been an accountant who works from home my entire life, so I know how stressful it can be and how it can make a normally jolly person (my dad) seem like he wants to bite your head off. I don’t know if you were the only accountant at the company or if everyone at the company is an accountant. But if everyone was an accountant and it was April, I would think that they’d be too busy to look at the bruises for very long and would immediately go back to focusing on tax returns and using any possible remaining time to deal with their own stuff like kids and their own medical issues or buying a new car since the old one just broke down or whatever else they’re dealing with. I’m so sorry you dealt with that. Just, wow.

  148. Sanity Lost*

    HOLY FRIJOLES!!! Your co-workers are in need of sensitivity training STAT! I’m glad you took the time and are healing. Gentle hugs to you.

  149. Susannah*

    OP, just want say you are AWESOME. Really. I’m amazed you are able to work after this, appalled at how your colleagues responded (“good intentions” doesn’t mean crap to me here… and others observations about people being fearful and wanting to convince themselves they would not be victims themselves is spot-on). But mostly I am deeply impressed with how you handled “Jake.” Seriously; that’s heroine movie script dialogue-worthy.
    So glad you took the trip. So glad you were able to give your co-workers a well-deserved reality check. You’re amazing.

  150. Nancy Drew*

    Good for you OP!!!! Your response was 100% normal and reasonable in an absolutely insane situation. Sounds like the worst kind of groupthink to me. I’m proud of you, and I think it’s great that your leadership team at least tried to make it up to you (even though I know it can’t compensate tor what you went through). I’m glad you got your vacation. Your team is lucky to have you.

  151. Ari*

    This was very difficult to read—thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it couldn’t have been easy to write all of this out. I’m afraid if I say what I’m actually thinking about your coworkers, I might get banned so I’ll keep those words to myself. To you, I extend my deepest sympathy. I’m so glad you’re talking to a therapist and hope that your journey is healing.

  152. Jane*

    “… she didn’t want to get into things until we were actually back at work, but wanted to tell me that I would not be facing any repercussions so that I didn’t have to worry about it while I was supposed to be on vacation.”

    OMG, is that boss serious? Why in the hell would OP face repercussions? Jack and the rest deserved her rant and MUCH more. Jack should have faced disciplinary measures for physically trapping another employee in a room. WTF.

    1. Old Admin*

      Victim blaming is very common, especially in an office setting. Have seen it happen.

  153. Old Admin*

    *clap* *clap* *clap*
    As an assault victim, let me say this:
    OP, you had every right to do and say everything you did. You did well to push back, advocate for and take care of yourself.

    Good on you.

    Please keep on recovering. Find a new workplace if need be, or stay if you want to.

    All the best.

  154. RebPar*

    I’m so glad you are feeling better and that your company/supervisor *finally* stepped up, but you can never trust Jane again. That final incident with Jack is tantamount to a physical threat and should also be documented in his HR file. These are not good people. Personally I would be working to move on asap, but you need to trust your gut.

  155. Verde*

    OP, I am glad that you are [relatively] okay and are getting what you need to get through this. You are awesome.

    Jack is lucky he didn’t end up getting his head caved in with a coffee cup, or worse, and ditto for Jane.

    Never underestimate how angry [sick of it all, scared, frustrated, and downright mad] women are, even if it doesn’t show every day. I had to do voir dire for a sexual assault case and – when asked if I or anyone else I knew had experienced sexual assault – I about lost it on the judge and, after being dismissed, went to my car and had a total anger-cry meltdown. Most of it was vicarious and not even firsthand experience, but all of it added up. I was also upset that there were people going in there with firsthand experience and there was no support provided for them to assist them with having their experiences poked and prodded and relived in front of other people, including the alleged assaulter.

    The good in this world is sometimes really hard to remember when faced with this BS every. single. day.

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