“I worked with a Harvey Weinstein-type, a Bill Cosby-type.” The caller began in a hesitant voice, and then stopped.

Something in her voice chilled me. “What do you mean, worked with?”

I glanced at the phone dial. Unknown caller.

Her story slowly unfurled. She worked for a man and handled general administrative tasks. She also coordinated his apartment rental, and the cleaners who kept it tidy. She arranged the food, champagne, and wine in his pantry.

She knew her boss molested others.  

“But never me,” she insisted.

“But he did,” I said, keeping my voice soft, careful not to make her feel judged.

Her call to me had come at the height of the #metoo movement. I felt if I could get her to alert the authorities, she could stop him. “He made you a part of what he was doing.”

When I sensed she was about to hang up, I pressed harder. “You let something very wrong happen to others.”

Click.

She’d reached out to me, a weekly newspaper columnist and blogger. I didn’t have a lot of options for locating her if she didn’t want to be found. At that time, a former police chief and former police detective worked for me. After the call, I asked what avenues I had for tracing the call and was told, “None really, if a trace wasn’t put on the call.”

In the same way that some people think they’ll never forget a face, I had the sense I’d never forget her voice. I felt our call wasn’t finished.

I talked with my employees about how to reach out to her and they said, “She picked you because of the articles you write. Keep writing.” I continued writing articles about courage, integrity, sexual harassment, and other topics, and hoped she’d reach out to me again, or to someone better able to help her fix what was wrong.

Last week I got a call that was a quick hang up, after the words “I did it.” I had the sense at the time, and still do, that it was her. Something about her voice. And the fact that we had a connection of sorts. If it was her, and she took steps to do the right thing, it made me again glad for the privilege of writing a blog.

(c) 2022 Lynne Curry

You might like some of the other articles I wrote, hoping to reach her, including “Courage, Convictions & Speaking Up, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2022/03/ukraine-are-we-brave-or-quiet/; “Are We Brave or Quiet?” https://workplacecoachblog.com/2022/03/ukraine-are-we-brave-or-quiet/; “Why Do Some Get Away With Sexual Harassment?” https://workplacecoachblog.com/2017/10/why-do-some-get-away-with-sexual-harassment/; Why You Should Stop Playing It Safe, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2019/12/why-you-should-stop-playing-it-safe-in-your-job/ and Dispelling Some Myths about Sexual Harassment, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2016/01/dispelling-some-myths-about-sexual-harassment/

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4 thoughts on “Complicit & Helping Someone Find Her Courage

  1. Lynne, what a wonderful success story! They don’t happen often enough, but you, with your careful word choice and true caring spirit, helped this woman do the right thing. Hooray for you and for her!

  2. Susan/Suz, thank you as always for completely understanding the “heart” of the real-life stories I’ve been gifted to tackle.

  3. This is why I blame every pope, cardinal, bishop, priest, and nun for what has been going on in the catholic church for hundreds of years. They and other organized religions have covered up sexual crimes with the help of those who refuse to speak up. They were/are more concerned with image and fund raising than the welfare of children.

    Penn State fell under the same cloud. The university’s image, football, and alumni bequests were more important than the students.
    Unfortunately, Penn State is just one of many…….

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