VICTIM GUILT

  1. A few days ago, the su chef at the restaurant I work for was fired for sexual harassment.
  2. I was one of the girls that got it the worst.
  3. After my boss first approached me about it, I spent the majority of the day speaking with various higher-ups.
  4. I was told to be honest. I was told it would be ok.
  5. That same night, he was fired.
  6. It wasn't just me that he hurt. And so it wasn't just my testimony that factored into this decision.
    I work for a higher end restaurant. They have standards they demand be upheld and aside from the sexual harassment, he broke many other standards.
  7. And yet...
  8. Even still.
  9. When they told me, my heart dropped into my stomach. I felt nauseous.
  10. I felt guilty.
  11. And it doesn't help that my friends in the kitchen won't look at me now. Won't joke with me.
  12. One of them told me that I ruined his life. That it'll be hard for him to get another job because he was fired for sexual harassment.
  13. I know he loved working with us. I know how happy this job made him. I watched him post about it on social media.
  14. The logical part of myself can see that none of this is my problem.
  15. I know if he loved his job, he should have acted like it. Respected boundaries and not abused his power.
  16. But man, I am a walking soft spot for everyone and everything. I always have been. I take everyone's pain personally.
  17. I don't think he's evil. I don't want him to suffer. I didn't even want him fired. I just wanted him to chill out.
  18. This guilt I carry, though? It's common. And I wish I were articulate enough to explain why but I'm not.
  19. All I know is that by saying, "it was my fault", I feel a sense of control over the incident. Like maybe I can prevent it from happening again.
  20. That's not how it works. A victim is not an aggressor. They're taken advantage of. They're the VICTIM.
  21. But they can also be a hero. Because by speaking out, I prevented him from making other women in the work environment uncomfortable.
  22. That's how I want to end this list. By imagining that I'm a super-hero. Not a villain who stole someone's future. But as someone who saved my own.