If a prominent public agency like the Ontario Securities Commission can pull Harvey Weinstein-type stunts to blame and silence a victim of sexual assault, how safe is any woman in the workplace?
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Earlier in my career, I was sexually assaulted by the well-connected CEO of a major Canadian securities regulator. When I reported it to my boss — another powerful man — at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), he bullied me into staying silent. He gave me a choice: keep quiet or lose my job. I took the threat very seriously because he was the second highest-ranking official at the OSC.
Last year, I turned to my former employer to seek long-denied healing for a sexual assault where my boss bullied me into staying silent. This time it was worse. I was not believed. I was not supported. I was made to feel like the offender. Then this prominent government agency that regulates the conduct of others tried to muzzle me, Harvey Weinstein-style, from talking about it. And Ontario’s powerful Premier fully approved of the efforts to gag a victim.
#MeToo unleashed a wave of hope for women who had long been denied healing. But when I came forward to the OSC in 2018, it was like walking into a buzz saw wielded by victim-blaming lawyers. All I got for my effort to seek healing was more harm and an onslaught of life-threatening health repercussions.
I was not believed. I was not supported. And I was made to feel like I was the offender. Then they took a page out of Harvey Weinstein’s playbook and tried to muzzle me, again, from speaking out just as they did years earlier to cover up my sexual assault.
Most women who have been sexually assaulted or suffered other forms of sexual violence, abuse and harassment never report it. If you wonder why, you only need to look at this outcome. No woman wants to be worse off for coming forward than if she stayed silent. And when you have the most powerful political figure in the province complicit in the effort to muzzle a victim, what chance does anyone have against that stacked deck? It’s a story that shows women in the workplace, in the community and on the campus aren’t nearly as safe as we need to be.
Read more about it below.
For some, the poster organization for how not to respond to victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment is Uber, whose misconduct was famously brought to light by Susan Fowler. For others, it is CBS, where former CEO Les Moonves and 60 Minutes chief Jeff Fager regularly intimidated women who spoke out. Then there is the master of complicity, the Weinstein Company. But in Canada, the Ontario Securities Commission borrowed from all of the above in becoming a serial offender when it comes to mistreating a victim who blew the whistle on sexual misconduct inside that organization. Continue reading…
Doug Ford reveals his true #MeToo colours —again— as he ducks a question in the Legislature involving a victim of sexual violence who reached out to his office and suffered further harm because of it. See more ways where Doug Ford fails women in the workplace, on the campuses and in the community. See what’s behind the story.