Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: "Spitting On Hans's Tosti" by Karin Bosman

Relearning to love yourself is so hard, when each day you need a hot shower to wash away the shame.

Spitting on Hans’ tosti is the story of my personal experience with sexual harassment in the workplace. Intimidation and sexual harassment unwittingly pull you into a world of sadness
and loneliness. You’re faced with co-workers who look the other way because they are afraid of losing their jobs. A display of power, causing the fear of seeking help to grow even bigger,
forced me to find a way to survive in Sir’s theater. The taboo that rests on the subject is powerful – very powerful – and is tangible when you are dealing with it on a daily basis. Threats prevent you from telling others about it. It’s hard to accept you’re a victim, to let go of the thought that will have to resolve this on your own. These are all reasons to keep your mouth shut and withdraw into isolation, waiting until it’s over, disconnected from yourself. But, it will not blow over; it will keep coming back until you finally realize that not only you, but others too, are being hurt by Sir’s manipulations. I was afraid to share my experiences with the company’s counselor or to tell my family. Furthermore, I felt uncomfortable with the idea; who would believe me?

When I finally opened up about everything that went on at work, my battle with humiliation went on. I had to deal with lies that were meant to belittle me on a whole new level. Discussions, investigations or mediations were non-negotiable for Sir. I’m grateful to those co-workers who, despite all the pressure Sir exerted, provided their testimonies. A sense of disbelief came over me after the trial and I felt disappointed about the persistent denial. I was left behind, confused; where to go from here? On my blog, Spitting on Hans’ tosti, I allowed myself to break down on paper – to embark on an emotional rollercoaster. For me, this was the only way to find her again:
the woman I lost somewhere along the road. By sharing my raw emotions, my maze-like sentences, and my salty tears I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one. I was startled by the number of women with similar experiences that approached me in response to the blog. Women who refuse to lose courage, who recognize themselves in my story, and who feel supported by it. Their responses have motivated me to translate my blog into a book; to call attention to the hundreds of thousands of people who are bullied and (sexually) harassed in the workplace every year. This subject, that seems to be taboo in the media, is deeply woven into our society. Victims
think that they themselves are the cause of their problems and don’t know where to find help.

The undeserved humiliation of sexual harassment changed me, but I didn’t let it break me.

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