I dont intend to make it into a huge ruckus, just that its quite interesting how this played out.
Basically i was training at this other hospital for 2 weeks, and during the first week we had a class on toxicology.
Teacher (lets call him X) was nice, very talkative, blabbering non stop, a lil out of context, class was long.
Then the next day I received a Facebook friend request. it was from X.
the first thing that popped on my mind was
1) how the hell did he manage to find my FB? my name was in english
2) Did he add anyone else in my group (we were in a group of 6)
I asked around and they said no they didn't get any friend requests from him.
So i just ignored the request and moved on.
A few days later, he messaged me on Facebook. Because he wasn't in my friends list, he couldn't see if I've read the message unless I approved it.
In that message he just introduced himself as a teacher/doctor from the said hospital.
One of my group mates are doing a study with him, so I thought maybe it was something important , work related, since he did go all the way to message me and all.
I replied, and he said he was impressed by my performance in class, ask if I have any problems at the hospital, that he's quite nosy thats why he likes asking students if they're facing any problems and report back to the higher up.
I was a bit weirded out at first, cause why the hell can't he ask me in person at the hospital? he's not even my mentor? and why me? Did he add me on fb and messaged me just for this?
I asked my friends what to do, what to say.. and i didn't reply for 10 minutes or so, with his message being seen as read.
He then messaged me and said 'Sorry to disturb you!'
Then I HAD to reply, can't keep teacher hanging. so i just politely said no, everything's fine, everyone at the hospital are really nice.
I thought that was the end of it.
I posted the screenshot of our convo on Instagram story just for laughs
What i didn't expect was, multiple people came to me and said they encountered the same thing. All of them girls.
Well one told me he did this to another guy too and he felt weird. But this guy didn't tell me on his own record.
To be fair i don't know how many more guys or girls he messaged, but the ones who came forward to me were girls.
And they said they felt weirded out and uncomfortable.
I dont know if this exactly screams sexual harassment, since all his messages evolved around work, asking if you're facing any problems at work... if anything occurs we can look for him..
But does it have to be so in-your-face for it to be considered harassment? Does using work as a mask to message us on social media and call our numbers make it OK?
Lets not call it sexual harassment at the moment. I'm just calling it that cause from what I know for now 90% of his targets were female.
Let's just call it workplace harassment.
Im trying to be as just and as fair as possible, cause I don't want to make false allegations against him as well.
So here are the things that has happened, as told by those who have been contacted by X:
- He added us on Facebook and messaged us
- He asked for her number, face to face, and she saw that he had actually already saved her number earlier on in his phone.
- He messaged some of us on the LINE app, also using work as excuse, asking if we've gotten his powerpoint, when this exchange should be between him and the group leader, not us
- He called her on a SUNDAY. And this girl has never ever been to the department he's at, never encountered him at the hospital, does not know who the hell he is
- He insisted on a tutoring session with her when she missed his class.Did he intended to have a one on one class with her? i don't know. She politely declined.
I kept asking myself whether he is just a very nice teacher who likes to look after students or he has other ulterior motives.
It's a pretty grey area.
He uses work as context to chat us up, and hasn't really done anything to harm us.
It was just a little out of place, and made us uncomfortable.
I was debating whether to feedback on him or not, and I asked a lot of people around me.
Some of the answers I got actually surprised me, which prompted me to write this post.
Basically most of them said yes, and only a handful of people said no.
Those who objected it said:
- They're worried this would affect my future career, or I would get demerit for this course
- I dont know if this person has a powerful background
- The feedback will not have any effect whatsoever on him
- No point blowing this up, just let it slide
This entire ordeal just reminded of the Harvey Weisntein incident. In case you don't know, :
At first I thought it was just me whom X texted,
After I posted it on social media, a few of my friends told me they encountered the same thing,
I thought of voicing out,
Some friends said no.
This realisation sort of just hit me in the face.
It just shows how common this cycle is, even though mine is on a much much smaller scale.
I don't blame them for objecting, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
I also understand that in the real world, shit like this happen.
Power and authority towers over everything else.
I guess the hardest thing for me was to differentiate whether this counts as harassment, or I'm being over sensitive.
My hunch tells me this is not okay, this is stepping a lil over the line,
but I also keep questioning myself whether I'm being too sensitive.
I keep making up excuses for him, well maybe he's just being nice? and he really likes to take good care of his students? maybe?
I just don't want to falsely accuse someone of something so disgusting.
I do have some reservations voicing out too, I was worried they might give me an F for my course over at their hospital. I'm worried he indeed does have background and might affect my future career, and i also do not want this to blow up.
What I'm asking for is just to not let these teachers so easily gain access to our contact numbers and to cancel his lessons with us to minimize the contact he has with us female students.
*a little side note: his class sucked, in my humble opinion.
Its just a little confusing to me why something so straight forward and outright obvious can be so complicated.
This is how we were taught in school:
See any wrong doing? Just report
Any unwanted advances coming your way? Just report
Teacher messaging you outside work and calling your number outside work time? Just report
Well sadly things don't work that way in the real world.
Some people said to me,
'well he hasn't done u any harm'
well, not yet,
but who knows if he really didn't have any intentions?
or just that he hasn't succeeded.
If someone ever comes to you and tells you his/her experience, and you want to discourage them from speaking out solely because you're pessimistic on the effects it'll have, or because you just feel that its unnecessary to make things more complicated, please DONT.
What you're doing is just gonna silence him/her, and it does take a lot of courage to speak out.
No one wants to be the person who rocks the boat.
Everyone is afraid of being retaliated.
Well I'm definitely gonna block him on social media once this course is over, just in case.
I'm really curious about what you guys think.
How would you handle this?
What should I do? Since it's entirely possible i might be facing similar shit in the future.
Am I making a big fuss out of it?
Should I give him the benefit of the doubt?
Or it's just what it is
Please let me know!
P/S: I did feedback to my own mentor, he said he would report it to the director of the department. and i did send feedback letters to the hospital. Will they be taking any actions? I dont know :)
At least I did what needed to be done.