My friend Megan was sexually assaulted at a 24 Hour Fitness by a staff member and on camera. Instead of firing the staff member, corporate intimidated her into not pursuing legal action and terminated her fully paid membership without her consent. This staff member still works at the 24 Hour Fitness located on Cass Street of Omaha, Nebraska. What Megan wants is for this employee to be fired as a result of his behavior, for her paid membership to be reinstated, and for sexual harassment policies to be posted publicly in 24 Hour Fitness locations.
By choosing not to punish this employee for his behavior, they are enabling him and providing him opportunities to do the same to another woman again. By choosing not to punish this employee, 24 Hour Fitness is expressing that they have no regard for the safety and well being of their patrons.
And that’s bullshit if you ask me.
(Please signal boost.)
Huge, immense, never-ending thanks to my friend Tina Lindell for sharing my experience at 24 Hour Fitness on Tumblr. It’s now been reblogged nearly 25,000 times. It’s really easy to do the right thing, I’m not asking for much. Fire him, make sure all of your employees know how to appropriately handle reports of harassment or assault, and publicly post your policy regarding harassment to assure future customers that you are on the right side—their side.
I first talked about this publicly the NIGHT it happened in April 2012. I talked about it the day after it happened. I talked about it for months after it happened. And I never thought that now over a year later the story would be receiving this much visibility.
What happened to me is over. The good that comes from it now is to highlight the urgent need for companies to be more proactive about preventing sexual harassment and assault and quick to respond when it’s reported.
Every time I talk about this, a handful of people message me privately to share their own story they’ve never told, calling to mind untold numbers of victims who never reported at all. (I would direct you to the shit show of a post I originally made a few days ago if you wonder why it could be that people keep silent.) The shame doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to those who violate them, scar them, and change them forever. And in this case, it belongs also to the company that failed to react with good faith. You are who you are when no one is looking. Peace.