A Winnipeg woman says she was sexually assaulted in the specialty paper industry while a male colleague was writing her story.
“It was one of those situations that I didn’t even know was happening,” says the woman who wants to remain anonymous.
“I felt like I was being targeted, harassed.”
The woman says the sexual harassment happened at a paper company called Ruffstuff.
She says she started working there in 2010 and has worked there for the past nine years.
She first came forward about the harassment while she was still in the field.
“You’d be walking around the office, and people would be stopping and talking to you,” she says.
“I’d have a story I’d be writing about someone and they’d say, ‘You’re good looking.’
And I’d have to say, yeah, but I’m a woman.'”
She says they would be passing around a copy of a photo of her and a man in lingerie, but she would never see them.
“So I would get really nervous.
It was a little bit unsettling,” she said.”
It’s not something that happens to all women.
In a statement to CBC News, Ruffstack said it has an inclusive workplace policy that encourages and supports employees who are “underrepresented” in the industry. “
And that’s not what we want in our industry.”
In a statement to CBC News, Ruffstack said it has an inclusive workplace policy that encourages and supports employees who are “underrepresented” in the industry.
“Ruffstuff is committed to fostering a workplace environment that welcomes all members of our staff,” the company said in a statement.
“We support the rights of all individuals and are committed to addressing any concerns they may have.”CBC News has spoken to a number of people who say they were sexually harassed or assaulted while working in the paper industry.
One of those women, who asked to remain anonymously, says she had a man walk up to her while she stood at the back of a room.
He made sexual advances.
“He would always make me feel uncomfortable,” she recalls.
“Because he was wearing a bra and a shirt.
It wasn’t just a physical thing.
He just seemed to be in a way, like, ‘Oh, he’s just a man.'”
She then says she got into a fight with a colleague.
“When she asked him why he was doing this to me, he said, ‘Because you’re a woman,'” she says she said she asked her colleague why he wanted to talk to her.
“She just stood there and didn’t respond to anything that I asked her to do.”
The worker says the conversation continued.
“Then I got up to leave,” she remembers.
“My hands were shaking.
I was shaking.
And he grabbed my shoulder.
I remember thinking, I’m going to lose my job, I was just going to be out of a job.”
The next day, the woman says her boss told her to stop talking to him.
“That was the last time I talked to him.”CBC reporter Marissa Gorman spoke with the woman for this story.
In the video, she said the story was “not a pleasant experience.”
“I have a boyfriend, and it just made me feel like he was attacking me,” she told Gorman.
I would never have been assaulted.””
If I had been there in the moment, I would have done something about that.
I would never have been assaulted.”
The story has since been shared more than 300,000 times on Facebook.
“What was going through my head at that time, when I got home and I saw the post that I had written, I didn [feel] OK with it,” she continued.
“But I also knew it was a woman who was writing it, and I wasn’t sure that I was the only one.”
The CBC interviewed a number people who were affected by the harassment, and most of them said the sexual comments were not reflective of the paper company.
One woman said she was a sales representative in the past.
She told CBC News she thought that women should not write about being sexually assaulted because it would be too upsetting.
“To write that it was the company’s business that I felt like that was offensive,” she recalled.
“What I’ve been told is that there was a policy that said that if you spoke out, they would take care of it.
I never felt that way.”
Ruffstack did not respond to CBC’s request for comment.
In a news release, the company says it “strongly supports all employees who wish to report harassment or misconduct to our senior management.”
The statement added that it has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and that “any employee who experiences inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, will not be tolerated.”