You Ask Why We’re Doing This?

I am often asked why I’m doing this work.  And why I’m paying for it out of my own pocket and without any compensation. I tried to provide part of that answer to the House of Commons committee considering anti-harassment legislation for the public sector. It came in the form of one of the many heartfelt stories survivors share with me every day about their nightmares involving sexual misconduct in the workplace and its often tragic aftermath in every part of their lives. This was one of the most poignant.  Her name is Ann. This is her story — in brief. Everyone needs to hear it.


“I lost my job, my marriage, my reputation, my income and my home,” she said. “My work colleagues didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore. I was a pariah to them. I lost everything and I thought many, many times about taking my own life, especially when I saw my harasser continue to thrive in the organization that was more than happy to assassinate my character and then throw me under the bus.  But what hurts more than anything is that nobody out there really seems to care —  not the press, not our politicians not even high profile women’s groups.  I guess you have to be a celebrity to get anyone’s attention in this world today.  That suits all the harassers who fly under the radar just fine”


Unfortunately, Ann is not alone.  I hear tragedies like this every day from women whose lives have been shattered and careers broken. Sexual misconduct is one of the most devastating experiences that can befall a woman in the workplace. Retaliation and badly handled investigations add to the trauma — robbing victims of their dignity, their security, their self-esteem, their health, their jobs, their careers and their livelihoods every day. As a civilized society, we can’t allow this to happen to any other woman.  Ever.


It is this mission that called on me to found The Zero Now Campaign some years ago.  And because, as a survivor,  I have been where so many women have been who now reach out to me for help, all of these stories echo with a resonance that usually only trauma can produce. Make no mistake, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace are among the most traumatic events any woman can experience.    


But I must admit that I never expected to be doing it on my own nickel for so many years. Truth is, we’ve reached the point that if we are really going to give life to our wonderful ideas for helping survivors to heal and recover, we need the active support of major organizations that are prepared to get behind our initiatives like Hire US Back™.  I am looking to our best organizations, and especially women-led organizations, to do that.


At The Zero Now Campaign, we try to help as many victims and survivors as we can who reach out to us for the experienced voice of other survivors. Sometimes, we can help in significant ways.  Sometimes all we can do is listen and share the tears of women who are unable to escape from a life of shadows and regrets.  


I hope you will support The Zero Now Campaign’s efforts to combat sexual misconduct in the workplace and help survivors rebuild their lives and careers.  If you are an organization that would like to support our campaign, or inquire about our Hire US Back initiative, we’d especially like to hear from you.