Why You Should Report Sexual Harassment and Assault to the Police

Emma Bentley
Oct 19, 2017 · 3 min read

The way to stop the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault is to report it to the police.

Harvey Weinstein is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many more people who abuse their position of power in the workplace to satisfy their weak and pitiful egos.

I’m a #MeToo. A man I worked for in 2011–12 was the one of most influential in our industry. He was also a man who took advantage of his situation. He would pick and prey on girls just starting off in their careers. He was powerful and could make or break their reputation. That his assistants would start the job cheerfully but leave in tears was well known within the company… but they turned a blind eye.

It takes huge courage to go to the police. You worry that you won’t believed, that they will shrug it off, that you will be shamed. The questions weren’t easy nor was the procedure one I ever want to repeat, but they need to dot their ‘i’s and cross their ‘t’s.

It took five years but I was fortunate: the court ruling went in my favour. Justice was done.

Going to the police was key. Had I not have gone to the police, the situation would have continued.

Reporting harassment or sexual assault to your superior doesn’t necessarily work. At worst, you’ll get fired or be forced to resign from the post; at best, you’ll be paid off to go quietly but you won’t actually have solved the problem.

In my resignation letter addressed to my manager and the CEO, I wrote:

“I know you are in a difficult position, but I beg you to do something to protect the next girl before she finds herself in the same position as me. He is a sexual predator and unless you stop him, he will carry on.”

They didn’t and just one month after I left, he had written out a contract for a girl with a very similar profile — also tall, with dark curly hair and a spark in her eyes. She did just one month in the job before going to the police to file for harassment.

That man had been in his position for 30 years. They kept him in his job for the entire five years of the police investigation. As it turned out, the investigation brought together three women who had each separately reported him to the police and interviewed another four previous employees who had endured nearly identical ordeals. There was very little evidence — just our words against his — but the strength of our similar experiences led to his conviction and his eventual disgrace.

He wanted us to stay silent. To leave quietly. He threatened to ruin my career, to smear my reputation. He threatened to burn down the house of one of the other plaintiffs with her “bastard child” inside.

He would have carried on too. There would have been more victims had we not have spoken out. Together we stopped him.

(This is a true story. He was found guilty on multiple sexual harassment and sexual assault charges on 6th July 2017.)

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