Kari Saddler spent her career in corporate America where she said she coached countless woman who came to her with stories of being sexually assaulted or harassed in the workplace.
But even as she helped others, she oftentimes dealt with the same harassment, she said.
Saddler recalled an instance while working as a manager when she reported an insubordinate's sexual harassment complaint to human resources. She was shocked at the response she received.
"I went to HR to have the conversation and when I did, the manager in HR who I was talking to literally said to me ‘he’s doing that again?’ and I thought ‘wow,'" Saddler said, adding it would be the first of many times she's received a similar response.
“Every time it happened, I thought this doesn’t make sense, how can this still be the case."
She says it shows just how prevalent sexual harassment and assault is in the workplace.
It's important to know the difference between harassment, assault, and sexual violence, and to understand that it happens just as often outside of work and might not seem overtly sexual at first.
Sitting at a stoplight, Saddler recalled a man in the next car making eye contact and they smiled at each other. But he continued to make comments, which grew increasingly lewd, she claims.
When she rolled up the window, he continued to yell and curse at her, even threatening to hit her car, she said, before throwing something at her window.
"So we moved from harassment, which was making the lewd comment, to assault, which was threatening to hit my car, to sexual violence," she said.
It's the first time she's ever shared that story. But it's not the only instance she's experienced and others still remain too sensitive to talk about publicly, she says.
While she credits campaigns like #MeToo for encouraging women to speak up, she understands why so many still feel that coming forward comes with too many risks.
“Because, until this moment, the man at the red light… didn’t know my name, didn’t know who I was," she said. "This is part of why it goes on in organizations and ends up blowing up like the Harvey Weinstein case, because you look at the risk versus reward."
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