Here it is, the latest distressing and disturbing story about how you might expect to be treated if you decide to come and work at HCT. This account has been lightly edited, but the force of the tale remains, I feel.
I would like to describe how I was subjected to ongoing sexual harassment at an HCT college on an almost daily basis. I have no wish to mention any names, as my Tormentor (referred to as just ‘T’ from now on) continues to work at the same college, and I still work in the UAE, although in a different city and for a better organisation now. My aim is merely to highlight the way that I was mistreated by an alleged ‘professional’, how the HCT system turned its back on me, and to warn others that it could very easily happen to them.
My ordeal began during the second day of my new position as program supervisor some five years ago. T came into my office on the pretext of congratulating me on my promotion, but then proceeded to make a few tasteless comments that left his true intentions in no doubt. In all there was a whole series of more than a hundred humiliating incidents of sexual harassment that took place between 2005 and 2007. T’s behaviour ranged from the use of verbal harassment – frequent invites to evening functions, unwarranted compliments, and crude language – to unsolicited physical contact, such as touching my hair, brushing against me, and attempting to embrace me. It became a suttle form of psychological bullying, and T refused to stop even when I made it patently clear that I was not interested in his advances.
Of course I really wanted to make some sort of formal complaint about T’s predatory behaviour, but felt that I had nobody trustworthy to turn to. After all I was a relative newbie to the HCT system, and I was also told that complaining about one of the senior management team was virtually unheard of, that it would almost certainly have negative effects on my career at HCT. In the end I left the college, as my mental and physical health had suffered so much that I could no longer function in my post effectively.
I have been working in the field of education for around 25 years, and I have never come across such a corrupt and compromised organisation as the Higher Colleges of Technology. I could write a whole lot more, but even just composing these few words has made me realise how much I still need to try to put all this behind me.