HR needs to know formally – through a reporting process – otherwise we all will have to live with him being amongst us.
Ciku nods as it all starts to dawn on her, the impact of my situation on every other woman in the company.
I lean forward to convince her even more.
Ciku follows me into Chris’ office and closes the door behind her.
“Now tell me. Is it something to do with Frank?” I ask her gently. She nods, sniffs, wipes her snotty nose. A bubble of a sob escapes her lips as she opens her mouth to speak. “F-F—Frank says h-h-e will kill anyone of us who tells HR about his actions,” she says, her voice catching in her throat as she speaks. “I’m so scared for my life, Liz,” she whimpers.
This is getting serious! “Nothing will happen to you,” I say. “I’ll make sure of it. We’ll deploy a security team to make sure you and anyone else who has been threatened is kept safe.”
“But you don’t know h-h-ow frightening he is,” Ciku is wailing out loudly now, no longer able to contain her fear. “I mean, it’s not like he can come after you – you’re too powerful. He knows there will be repercussions.”
“No one is too powerful when it comes to these issues,” I tell her. “I’m also a victim of Frank too,” I confess.
Ciku’s eyes open wide. “What?”
I nod. “I tried to handle the situation but he reported me to HR on claims that I harassed him.”
Ciku’s eyes open even wider as she stops sniffing and her tears stop running, her fear replaced by the same sort of shock I felt when I read his letter to HR. “But… but… that’s not possible!” She slams a clenched fist on her lap. “Everyone knows HE is the bad guy! Everyone knows that!”
“Yes, but HR needs to know formally – through a reporting process – otherwise we all will have to live with him being amongst us, threatening and harassing us, for the rest of our time here. And if he succeeds against me, then I will have to leave. And while I am worried about my career future after leaving this company on such an ugly note, my biggest worry is that none of you will have any chance at seeing him leave the company, leave alone being arrested.”