The unbearable cost of standing up against sexual assault, sexual harassment and bullying — and the struggle to get a life back.
"It's not like he hit you, Kathleen."
Incredible as it sounds, this statement was made by an HR executive after I reported yet another incident of sexual misconduct at the top of the high-profile government agency where I worked. I wanted to make it clear that I was no longer willing to accept a workplace culture where sexual assault and harassment were the cost of keeping my job. It devastated my life years ago. It continues to do so today after I found the courage to come forward to the same organization seeking long-denied healing for the trauma of a violent sexual assault they had covered up.