Edinburgh TV and radio presenter, Hayley Matthews, has spoken out about her experiences of sexual harassment at work and the distress it has caused her.
The Edinburgh Evening News columnist described how male colleagues slapped her bottom and attempted to engage her in salacious conversations, including “ejaculation-themed chat”.
Writing in the Scotsman, the 37-year-old also stated that one man was encouraged by an “awful female sidekick”.
She said: “A female colleague egged him on, delighted with his vulgar behaviour in some sort of sick, twisted way. I felt she was taking great delight in my ridicule.”
The TV presenter, who co-hosted the Fountianbridge Show added: “I wouldn’t join in their sordid conversations and was an outcast in a small team. It all felt very stressful; however, I needed the job and kept quiet. The train journeys home were filled with relief as I’d cry while going over events in my head.”
In her column, she shared her experiences of her experiences in the workplace and when on a work trip, and the impact it had on her overall lifestyle and confidence.
She also revealed that she was offered a job from a potential employer on the basis that I agreed to never have any “childcare issues”.
READ MORE: Hayley Matthews: Sexual harassment damaged my career but won’t beat me
The experience of the presenter are similar to some of the stories that emerged sparking the #metoo movement, which has seen a long line of A-list celebrities coming forward to reveal their experiences of sexual harassment at the hands of those who wield the power to make or break a career.
The experiences endured by Matthews and other victims suggest this is an everyday situation for many, according to Sandy Brindley, chief executive of the charity Rape Crisis Scotland, which campaigns to end sexual violence and supports survivors.
“Recent months have seen an outpouring of women speaking out about sexual harassment,” she said.
“That has taken a lot of courage but it’s time we acted to change the culture, which seems to have allowed everyday sexual harassment of so many women. And the impact can be devastating.
“We need to take it seriously. We need to listen to women when they speak out about sexual harassment because I think women have been speaking out for years but have not been taken seriously.
“So we need to change the culture where we do take it seriously and act. Employers should have clear procedures in place and should respond when somebody does have the courage to speak out about being sexually harassed.”
Staff at the Scottish Parliament have been polled about their experiences after revelations emerged of historic sexual harassment and assault at Westminster, Holyrood and the Welsh Assembly.
Ms Brindley added: “It’s for all of us, men and women, to contribute to a culture where this is simply not acceptable. Men need to take responsibility for their behaviour and stop doing it, but also bystanders should be intervening to make sure women are OK and to challenge this behaviour.”
You can read Hayley’s column here.