March 14, 2018 at 10:00 am #197211
I am not sure what exactly it is I am seeking by posting this. I guess I am seeking comfort in the fact that maybe I am not alone.
To make a very long story short, I am a nurse. I work at a hospital that is specific to mental health. I absolutely love my job and value it very much. As someone who also struggles with anxiety and depression, it is a strange support in itself knowing that if the patients I am taking care of can get better under much worse conditions, then I can too.
In 2016, I was sexually assaulted by a co worker. At the time I was 22, he was 50. Ongoing harassment had been happening for months without me speaking about it, and then when the assault took place I reported it a few weeks later knowing I would have to see him again and couldn't bare to bring myself into work again near him. It was investigated, and he was “given the choice to leave” which he did. I also brought it to police who then charged him with sexual assault. The trial which HE set to plead not guilty, was supposed to be last week where I was supposed to testify. He did not show up, and now there is a warrant out for his arrest.
This last year and 6 months of my life has been a rollarcoaster. My mental health has significantly declined, but somehow I am functioning despite how bad it had gotten at times. I have returned to work on and off which is the most difficult part of all of this. I feel as though if I leave and quit my job, then he truly wins and I have already lost months of my life from the effects it had on me. I love my job and I don't feel like I should have to leave because of someone elses actions. The worst part about all of this, is that the mental health hospital that I work at did little if not nothing to support me. I actually was shamed and questioned as to why I didn't speak earlier, and even told I needed “special training” to prevent this from happening again. They did everything they could to sweep it under the rug and pretend as though it never happened and that I basically should move on.
But how come I can't? I feel like this whole incident has eaten me and swallowed me and I will never be the same. What's worse is that being in the mental health field, knowing the process of “healing” and getting better somehow turns me off of even wanting to accept help. I have flashbacks constantly and nightmares almost every single night of the incident. Even taking time to work another job didn't seem to help as it still happened there too and it was a compeletely different nursing setting.
I'm not sure what it is I am asking. Maybe someone can help meMarch 14, 2018 at 10:55 am #197253
Too bad the hospital's administration, staff reacted against you, the one assaulted. I wish they were all supportive to you, that would have helped a whole lot.
You suffered from anxiety, ongoing fear before the events in the hospital. The months of harassment culminating in the sexual assault of 2016 were very tough on you, understandably. Then taking legal action, court, the reactions against you at the hospital, those have been so very tough on you.
Any psychotherapy before all these events, during and currently?
anitaMarch 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm #197301
I am sorry that you have experienced such trauma and lack of support.
Even though you spoke of not wanting to accept help you may want to consider therapy for this. Is there a support group you can attend to help you in this?
Not that I am a lawyer but you may want to look into the option for you to bring a law suit against the hospital.
If there is a union at the hospital you might want to get their help in this as well.
MarkMarch 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm #197509
I was also sexually assaulted at work, years ago–I know how you feel. The fact that you even reported it is HUGE. It's sad that your hospital didn't support you, but I'm not surprised. I'm assuming he was at a higher level than you were at the time of the assault, which may account for that. In my experience, HR looks out for management and will always try to shame the woman and question her. I think that's changing now with the MeToo movement, but it will take awhile.
I wish I had something to say about the trauma, that it will go away. But it won't without you seeking help. And it doesn't have to be therapy if you don't want it right now. It can be long walks, meditation, perhaps religion, just something for you to start reprogramming your mind and help you handle the flashbacks when they come up. (meditation can be really useful for that) Then if it's time for therapy, it'll be time….
I'm really sorry this happened to you. I know it's hard. But you sound like a really strong person. Good for you he's out of a job. But it sounds like your hospital broke your trust by not supporting you at all. When I was assaulted, I reported it and was retaliated against and ultimately quit. Now this was almost ten years ago, but from reading your story I feel like companies still have a WAYS to go in terms of supporting employees who have been assaulted.
But you don't have time to wait around, you know? Perhaps when you're in a better space, it might be a good idea to start looking for another job somewhere else. And don't worry about him–he already lost. Take care of yourself now. Whatever makes you feel like you can breathe easily again, stick with that. Whatever it is.
Sending you good vibes,
PinkMarch 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm #197515