Tag Archives: harrassment

One Epic Day on The British Rail Network

I mentioned in another post that whilst working in Notting Hill I had caught my head on the underside of a sink and subsequently, bruises had appeared all down one side of my face. When I was attacked most of the injuries I had received were from blows directed at the same side of my head as the bruising. The incident at work aggravated my injuries. I was taken to hospital where I had a CT scan and was told I should rest for several weeks. So I had to go back up north to stay with family and recover. I wrote an e-mail to Stuart telling him about my journey:

I had to travel across the country after being told by staff in hospital that I needed to rest up. What a journey! I made my way up north and my sister Milly and her husband travelled down to London to collect my belongings from the house in Notting Hill where  had been living. I am so glad I did not have to drag a suitcase across the country with me. I was in a bad way. I made the journey confidant that if anything happened to me train staff or members of the public would call emergency services. Hours of wondering in my head “Are we nearly there yet?”

The most memorable events I will tell you of – read them at your leisure – this is just me prattling about people I crossed paths with.  The good, the not so good, and those I kind of hope I will never be stuck in a train carriage with again.  I will start with the worse and it will get better.

So starting with the tube journey on the way to catch a national train that would take me up to a hospital in the north.  I was sitting in a corner of the carriage.  A man boarded, he must have been in his forties.  He headed towards me and had the audacity to wink at me and blow me a kiss.  I turned away.  He plonked himself next to me.  Maybe ignoring him was a mistake because he then whispered into my ear “sexy”.  I just shook my head and turned away again.  He was quiet for a couple of minutes, but then nudged me and said ” sexy ” again.  I put my hand up and said “do you mind!” There were plenty of passengers so I felt safe.  But then a couple of minutes later he put his hand on my lap and said “sexy” again.  This time I jumped up and went to stand near the area for prams / wheelchairs.

coat.jpgAnnoying!!!!  Was he mocking me?  The thing is, I was wearing a knee length pencil skirt, woolly tights, flat court shoes, coat, scarf – all proper and modest nothing about my appearance suggesting I would be open to attention from a man on the prowl or an utter fruitcake.  Or maybe he just wanted my seat and was trying to get rid of me?

Annoying!  Maybe you are one of the many who have been made to feel super uncomfortable by a complete stranger presuming to behave inappropriately in a public setting.

Now I had to face the train journey across the country.  I had insisted I could undertake the train journey alone.  Several family members had kept insisting they would prefer to drive all the way down south and then take me up north in their car.  That seemed such a waste!

7.08am I boarded the train with a large flask of super strong coffee.  But a group of seven, all men accept for one brave girlfriend sat near me.  They were on their way to a footie match.  I overheard that they were planning sightseeing beforehand.  From the moment they sat down it was apparent that they were breakfasting on Foster’s lager.  One of them!!!!   In his twenties, vibrant ginger head, beard, very loud and prolific with his use of the most colourful language imaginable.  Sometimes I am shocked by the language people use in public, even when little children or the vintage generation who surely are deserving of more respect are present.

I was already nauseous, groggy and exhausted.  I knew he could make the journey a nightmare.  The conductor came to check our tickets.  I went over and said to this lad “excuse me, I really don’t mean to be rude, but would you be so kind as to make your language less colourful as it is still a bit early in the morning.” He asked me what I meant.  I said that if it had been evening and there were crowds heading out for a drink I would expect bad language but to hear so much swearing so early when I didn’t feel awake yet was exhausting.  Well he was very nice about it and apologised and his mates were lovely too.

It turned out he had been out drinking all night and had not even gone home to shower or change his clothes.  Nice!!!

So, he decided to include me in their chatter / banter for the rest of the journey.  Things improved slightly when a very cheery woman, who turned out to have been a police woman for almost ten years, sat next to me.

There was a very long queue for the toilet who were listening to the conversation between me and the police woman and the man who had not been home all night. The three of us seemed to be giving them some laughs.  Can you imagine?  Me…only conscious / remotely coherent due to the copious quantities of espresso I was pouring into myself.  He…giddy and running on adrenaline with hangover delirium and believing himself to be the on-board entertainment.  And our PC who was just ecstatic to be off-duty and determined to have a great day and chuckling at everything.

I don’t remember all of our conversations now.

I do remember him telling us he was single but open to meeting the woman of his dreams. Then he remarked maybe fate had lead us to being on the same train.

I remember telling him I was sure the vast majority of women would be attracted to a man with mud all over his trousers (hope it was mud) and who hadn’t washed or brushed his teeth and had Foster’s for breakfast.

His mates just laughed the whole journey.

Track Crisscross, Prior To CourseIncreasing my agonies was the severe delay to our train journey.  Someone had been throwing things at the trains from an overhead bridge.  There was some damage to one of the trains but also the overhead cables.  So, they had to remove the damaged train and turn the overhead wires off so that it was safe for some engineers could repair them.  No trains were able to move until the work was completed.  Everything was repaired within three hours, but that is a very long time to be trapped with someone who is totally repellent to you!

He was alright really, just ever so loud!  I was so grateful to get off the train.  Only I was horrified when he kissed me.  I told him to get off me.  Only he carried on kissing my hair.  I was pushing him away with my hands, but the fool tried to kiss me. I was outraged. His mates grabbed him.

Ay ay ay!!!!!

Gloves, Wool, Warm, Winter, FingerThen came another shorter train journey to my final destination. On the local little train there was an older lady, she was probably well into her eighties. She was wrapped up  well, but had no gloves and as I chatted with her I saw her rubbing and blowing into her red hands. Well, co-incidentally….I had forgotten my own gloves when I had left the house. When I was at the station waiting for the train and noticed how bitterly cold it was, I bought some gloves.  Only, the only pair I liked had a second pair attached. Two pairs for the price of one. So I pulled the brand new gloves out of my bag and handed them to her.  She was so pleased. She seemed to be crying tears of joy. It was lovely to end my journey chatting with a sweet gentle soul after all of the other trials of dealing with challenging passengers during my epic day on the British Rail Network.

I love having a little opportunity to be kind. Being kind is a wonderful way to achieve instant happiness. Whether you are on the bus, or train, or any other mode of transport, please be kind, be considerate, be patient and be lovely. Try not to harass or offend your fellow passengers.

I Could Not Wait To Escape

In the three posts I have already published about my first job back in London I have explained how I came to be in a “tied-accommodation” post with a boss who made me feel rather uncomfortable during the first two days I was there.

Looking back, I realize now how ridiculously vulnerable I was, because I did not ask for help, I isolated myself and found myself in a situation that I should never have had to endure.

Now let me reassure you I gave him my written notice within two weeks. I agreed to stay on for four weeks in that letter which was the period of notice he asked for. (I had to find another post, so that I had somewhere to escape to.) I realized I can’t bring myself to relate everything that happened that made me feel even more uncomfortable during that time. So instead, I have copied and pasted parts of e-mails I sent to my friend Stuart who was pretty much the only person I was confiding in.

internet romanceAt the time I did not feel I could tell my family because they would insist I left London and returned to them. I was desperate to start working towards being back in my life/world/career/flat – which were all in London. Stuart was very supportive, but most of my contact with him was via e-mails. I just tried to deal with the challenges that came my way and kept a lot back from Stuart because I was afraid of him becoming too angry. I knew I could always call the police if things became too bad.

There is a lot to read. It makes me angry. I have a feeling that the more you read, the more angry you will feel. I find it horrifying that I was too scared just to pack my case and walk out. That’s what I should have done. But at that time, I doubted myself so much and I was too forgiving. If anything like this happened to me now, I would absolutely not tolerate it.

Here goes:

My boss is demanding to take a photo of me tomorrow.  I want to cry.  He said he also wants to take me to his gym. He keeps going on and on about it.  He actually wants to take a photo of me in a swimming costume. Now, before you raise your eye-brows, there is an explanation for this.

before afterHis idea is taking a picture of me that shows the shape of my body now and then take another photo after he has had me on his training program – you know how people post their before and after photos on their social media sites. He wants me to follow his prescribed eating plan and to work out with him every day down at the gym. He wants to make me a more attractive shape. I am of course horrified. He wants to set goals for me that I personally am not keen on.

 

I don’t want to go to the gym with him. But am I overreacting to him because he has given me the creeps? I have to say, if he tried to take a picture of me in my swimming costume my reaction may be so severe…..well, I don’t know, but possibly police may have to become involved.

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I can’t think straight about my situation here. I am exhausted with worry.  It’s not the physical work.  It’s this constant deliberating in my head over the personality and character of my new boss.  Trying to understand where on earth he is coming from in what he says and does etc.

chalk and cheeseWe truly are like chalk and cheese. He is my boss so I don’t want to be picky over things that don’t cross my boundary of what is acceptable. I am trying to find a balance so that I don’t come across as hostile towards him.

 

It’s just because I live within the same property, we see a lot of each other.  Tonight he asked if I just wanted to sit down and watch a film.  I don’t want to be rude to him all the time, so I considered joining him to watch a film. He told me that there was a film on that he thought I would enjoy because it is about a young woman who is learning to think differently about sex. He asked me if I had seen it before. It was that shades of grey film that was at the cinema a few years ago. I was horrified.  I told him I did not want to watch that kind of material. He freaked out at me. Well…he thinks…I am not going to say what he thinks of me.

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harrassmentI cannot bear it when my boss touches me.  I say “please keep your hands to yourself”. But I realize there are men and women who are ok with someone who has no romantic connection being overly tactile/friendly with their hands. He makes my skin crawl. But I keep asking myself if I am being overly sensitive after what happened to me?

I can’t decide for other people what seems appropriate for them.  I only have the right to say what I am comfortable or not comfortable with.  I am hoping that you are reading in between the lines and realizing this subject is becoming a big issue for me.

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I am just a bit overwhelmed by how very different the character of my boss is from mine.

But to update you on a few things:

 

  • The photo in my swim-suit never happened (I made it clear that it was never going to happen, but it turns out that at least one of the girls who used to work here allowed him to photograph her in her underwear and her only concern with the suggestion was that she was wearing matching underwear – the numpty!!!!)
  • steam roomBut he did take me to his gym – I chose to swim while he went to work out. Then after an hour, he came down to the pool and yelled at me to get out of the water. Everyone was looking at me. He told me to join him in the jacuzzi – which is next to the pool. Then he said he wanted to show me something else. He took me into the steam room.  I felt sick. He kept telling me to sit next to him. I told him I was not comfortable and walked out. He was furious with me for the rest of the day.
  • He thinks I am a baby (that’s my polite way of explaining his view of me) because I objected to the 18 rated sex film he wanted me to watch with him.  I made it clear that my particular weave of self-respect inhibits me experiencing thrills from watching strangers in that way.
  • The following morning he was even more annoyed with me because he wanted me to watch a program where a spirit medium is helping people.  I said no several times and eventually I literally ran out of the room. I told him I will have nothing to do with the occult in any form.
  • Part of the “regime” he has me on includes time out walking/running each day.  I make the most of it. At first I was walking for an hour a day, but now it’s more like fours each day. I can’t bear to be in the house alone with him. I have met some lovely people already while I have been out and I have been exploring the area.

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My boss was taking his two house-guests (a married couple) out for dinner and asked me to join them. I thought it would be alright with them there. I really like them. I have speaking to them in their language (which my boss does not speak) all week. Even they told me I should get out of here and find somewhere else! However, in the restaurant, he started running his hand up and down my thigh. Yuck! I reacted by deliberately moving my chair as far away as possible. But I actually wanted to pour my wine all over him. I think I hate him. I don’t think I have hated anyone like this before.
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harrassment1He has been angry with me all week after I told him not to touch me. He has raised his voice and sworn at me. He has called me all sorts of names. I have been sweet and calm and incredibly gracious. Sometimes I am shaking because I cannot stand being in his presence, but I am determined to control my anger and behave like a princess.
He keeps on patting my behind and touching my hands, upper arms, shoulders. I have told him I am not comfortable in every way I can think of, and he calls me frigid. He tells me I need to loosen up. He keeps on mentioning that we need to share a bottle of wine (or a couple of bottles) on Friday evenings and really get to know each other.
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MaryPhotoAPPROVEDI was typing some letters for him, while he sat on the sofa and dictated to me what to write. He came over and put his hands on my shoulders and tied to start massaging me. (He tells me he is a trained masseur.) Immediately I raised my shoulders, to which he told me I was very tense. I asked to him to remove his hands. He was so angry, he swore at me again and told me there is something wrong with me.
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I think it was a mistake to tell him I had been attacked. I only did it to explain why I was so uncomfortable with him asking me about sex all the time and touching me. Ihonestly hoped he would realize I have a genuine reason to feel very uncomfortable. But he seems fascinated by the whole subject.
He likes to get me to talk about my attack.  I can talk a little, but he pushes me and I don’t understand the purpose of his doing so.  He says it is good for me. He wants to know everything that happened in detail. I won’t respond to him. So he starts asking me “did he do this? did he do that?”. Ugh! How is that good for me? I told him I would prefer to talk to either loved ones or trained professionals rather than him (for so many reasons!!!!!). I can’t wait to get away from him.
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watching tvHe really wants me to sit and watch television with him. It used to be alright to sit on the sofa opposite him, but he keeps telling me to sit next to him. If he wants a woman to snuggle up on the sofa next to him, he needs to try out a dating site – not threaten his house-keeper.
He watches the strangest shows – I cannot stand them. He likes Jeremy Kyle – which is some kind of chat-show with nutcases, Judge Judy – more nutcases, a program called “Cheaters” about people catching their partner committing adultery, and then he likes anything to do with spirit mediums (but I always get up and walk out the moment he puts anything like that on, so because he wants my company, he has stopped putting these shows on). He records these shows which I think are broadcast during the day, so he can watch them when he is lazing around during the evening.
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He came over and without asking he just started with the massage thing again.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I can’t win either way!  Why would I want a massage from a man who has been yelling at me and insulting me all week?  Then while I took the recycling out, he disappeared and put his robe on.  He asked me to take a break from typing and sit and talk for a little.  He opened his legs wide and displayed his “crown jewels”.  I just turned myself round and talked whist fixing my stare onto the floor tiles.

He started laughing. He asked me if I wanted to take a look. I told him I was used to seeing wrinkly dried up private parts because of all my time working in healthcare, but I saw no reason to be subjected to it now.
He swore at me and told me some men would beat me for saying that.
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Tonight he was all nicey nicey, calling me “darlin” and complimenting me and telling me how much he is looking forward to our Friday evening in together (so it seems as if Friday is going to be a regular feature). The last two Fridays I was in control. I kept on topping up the glasses. Mine I filled with water and elderflower cordial and his with wine.  He didn’t seem to realize what I was doing. Both weeks he fell asleep on the sofa.

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This morning I was putting some clothes back into my wardrobe when I heard the handle on my door turn. The door opened slowly. I called out “is there something wrong?” He sounded surprised that I was up and dressed. He said that after all the wine I had the night before he thought I would still be in bed. (He has no idea I was drinking elder-flower cordial.)
It makes me livid that he came into my room without knocking thinking I would be asleep in bed.
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He has kissed me on the cheek twice in the past 2 hours.  The first time I asked him what he was doing. He shook his head and said he cannot understand me. Not long after that he put his hand on my face and said he is “ever so fond of me”.  He has sent me upstairs to change into something more comfortable so I can sunbathe next to him in the garden.  I am really creeped out.

I am going to take my tabard off, and put my trainers on then and I am going to head off for a walk. I’ll need to swing by to the shops and pick some shopping up and be back to cook dinner and do whatever typing he wants.

And I have promised to make a cheese-cake tonight. Part of me will want to splat the cheesecake into his face.

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man in shorts.jpgHe went to the gym on his own this morning (he was obviously very angry when I refused to go into the steam room with him ) so I worked in the garden all morning and now I am very pleased because I am scratched to smitherenes – scratch marks up your arms and legs are not particularly enhancing…
He keeps on asking me to sunbathe next to him in the garden. He will actually shout at me and tell me to stop cleaning and come out into the garden. I tell him I don’t want to burn. He offers to rub sun block into my skin. I told him the bright light triggers head-aches. He told me to wear sunglasses. He says I need Vitamin D. Maybe I do…but I am not removing any clothing and relaxing near him.
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As soon as I had set up his computer to make a start, he was there behind me.  I felt his hands on the back of my neck and instantly pushed my chair back and leant forward to pick up the file with his notes pretending I had a question to ask him.  Well, I kept the chair back and sat on the edge and leant forward so he couldn’t reach my neck.  Then he said he was pleased because now he could reach my back.  He lifted up my top and tried to massage my lower back.  I grabbed my top and pulled it down and said I would prefer him not to do that.  He have me some technical description of the kind of massage he wants to be able to try on me.  I said that I don’t have any tension in any part of my back.  I said I could understand why he thought I may need a neck massage after being at the computer for so long, but I would not enjoy having my back massaged (definitely not by him – but of course I didn’t say this).  Anyway he muttered that I am a strange girl.
Then, our neighbour’s cat saved me by catching a bird.  My boss managed to release the bird from the cat, so the bird escaped.
But then he was back again in a flash.  I was now sitting in the chair upright and he was standing behind me dictating.  But after a couple of minutes his hands were wandering down to my lower back, I started wriggling around and moved my chair again. I asked him to take his hands off me. Again he put his hands on my lower back and said he couldn’t tell if I had tension there or not.  I said I really didn’t, I said it’s hard to feel anything there because of all of my “padding”.  He said not to put myself down and started complimenting my body – cringe!!!!!!  I said I don’t have any problem with my body, and then I turned right around and said that it really is none of his concern what my body is like and he had no right to touch me. I was glaring at him.  He muttered something which I didn’t make out, but it ended with your name.  I asked him what he had said.  He muttered again something about my love-handles being good for Stuart.  I said “pardon?”  He said “lucky Stuart”.  I ignored him.  To be honest I thought he was being sarcastic at first.  So I just ignored him and carried on typing.  He then came up close and whispered in my ear “lucky Stuart”.
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mug in front of faceThis morning he insisted that I sat down and had a chat with him over a coffee. He was in his robe and sat exposing his “crown jewels” yet again. I held my coffee mug in front of my face to obscure the sight of them. He was clearly irritated and asked me why I was hiding my mug to my face. I told him his wrinklies were on display again.
He asked me if I know how to give a…
I stood up and walked out of the room to grab my coat and keys and left the house and went for a walk. I was absolutely livid.
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I was not well today. The pain in my head was excruciating. So after I did a little cleaning and ironing, I went to my room to sleep. I woke up hearing some strange noises. It sounded as if a woman was crying in great distress. The sound persisted for some time. I got up and looked out of the window but I could not see anyone. I put on some clothes and then I opened the door to my room and I could hear it clearly. A woman was crying and moaning. I walked out onto the landing and realized the woman must be downstairs. I felt a mix of concern and fear. What was going on? All sorts of terrible possibilities went through my mind. I wished I had a mobile phone so I could call the police. Something terrible was happening I was sure. I crept down the stairs convinced there was a woman in some kind of danger. The woman’s cries were coming from the dining room. I froze when I realized the door was ajar. I could not hear anyone else, just the woman. I felt sick with terror.
As I approached I realized what was actually happening. My boss had his back to the door but I could see what he was doing to himself. I could also see that the woman who was crying was on the screen of his laptop. As soon as I realized she was naked and tied up and being forced to do things I am not going to write about – I felt as if I was going to be physically sick. I removed myself silently from the hallway. I thought about what to do. I opened the front door and slammed it shut. Within a few moments, my boss appeared and said: “Oh you’re back from your walk, do you fancy a cuppa?”
I could not even look at him. I said I had a very bad headache and needed to rest. He said that a massage would help and offered to administer one. I ran straight upstairs.
I hate him. I can’t wait to be out of this house. I feel sick being here.
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I walked into the kitchen this afternoon with the shopping. My boss had a shock because he had not heard me come in. He slammed his laptop closed. I knew he had been watching something disgusting.