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I was sexually harassed at after work drinks. When I shared my story online, I was bombarded with sexually explicit comments and threats of violence.

It was usual for a group of us from work to head out for a drink on a Friday night. It had been a tough week, and I just wanted to relax and have some fun.

By the middle of the evening, a few people had headed home, and it was just me, my boss and another colleague left. I left the group to go to the bathroom, and when I came back, I found that it was just my boss left.

He bought me another drink, and that’s when his behaviour started to change. He told me how attractive I was and asked me if I’d ever had an affair. I was a bit shocked by his question. I told him I’d never had an affair and I never would.

We talked about other things for a while, and then he tried to kiss me. I pushed him away, but he grabbed my wrist, pulled me close so he could touch my breast and asked me to come home with him. I pushed him off me and said very firmly, ‘It’s time for you to go home’.

I didn’t feel like I could report what had happened at work. I really needed to keep my job. A few days later, I shared what happened on social media, without revealing his name. My post went viral.

At first the responses were positive and other people shared similar stories. But then the abusive comments started.  

My post was suddenly being bombarded with sexually explicit comments and threats of violence. A friend did a bit of detective work and told me that my post had been shared to a men’s rights group, where people were telling other members to ‘teach me a lesson’ and saying ‘I should know my boss was just giving me a compliment’. I was really scared.

With my friend’s help, I made a report to eSafety. The eSafety team gave me advice about how to restrict abuse on my account and put me in touch with support services. I’m glad I was able to share what happened, and after what I learned from eSafety, I feel better about speaking up on social media.

Note: Van’s story combines experiences and emotions of a number of individuals in this situation. Stock photo. Posed by model.

Last updated: 31/07/2023