I was working at my first job out of college and my team lead was an unpleasant guy with an ego but everyone seemed to like him. My colleagues were always engaging in banter with him and he was popular and decently good looking. I tried really hard to be nice and social towards him.
The company culture revolved around lots of drinking events which I assumed was normal. One time I was meant to have a weekend night out with a girlfriend and some of my favorite coworkers mentioned a fun event at a bar nearby so I went out with her to the event and met up with them. I was planning an early hike the next day so I went out early, intending to be home before midnight, and limited myself to half a beer at home and two drinks at the bar over the course of several hours. Everything was really fun up until this point.
Then my team lead showed up and insisted on buying me a beer. I said I was good and done drinking but he wouldn't back off. He put it in my hand and said "wow you're really not gonna drink this? I got it for you." So I drank half and put it down. Everyone danced with each other and I danced with him too. After this I remember nothing.
According to my friend I was acting SUPER intoxicated which was odd considering I had 3 drinks in 4 hours. She decided to get us a cab and take me home. But when she went to call the cab, the team lead intervened and said he and his friend would walk us home. She argued but he insisted and she said ok because it was a warm night and she assumed my coworkers were trustworthy.
I remember nothing from that night except 3 second long snippets of being carried down the street by my team lead. The whole night was a complete black out. For reference, the only other time I've blacked out, my friends and I were all drugged at a college party years before (but nothing bad happened thankfully). I'm not a heavy drinker at all and if I do drink more than intended, I usually get sick immediately and never forget anything major. I think it's safe to assume he put something in my drink.
I won't go into the gory details but I woke up to him sexually assaulting me the next morning. I cried for days because a guy I was seeing found out and he shunned me. I assumed I was a dumb drunk party girl and the whole thing was my fault. I genuinely tried to rationalize why I would have sex with someone I found abhorrent, let alone my team lead, but came up empty.
By the time it dawned on me that what happened to me was rape, I found out the team lead was telling everyone we had sex and that I was a slut. The whole office knew.
Eventually I went to HR and they refused to acknowledge the assault but said they found evidence of him defaming me. They suspended him without pay for 2 weeks and switched my team.
I was severely depressed and suffering from constant flashbacks and PTSD. My work performance was decent but I had one late project when I felt really down. I wanted to leave but didn't have the mental energy. Eventually I got a poor performance review citing that one late assignment and didn't get my target bonus.
I took the first job I offered and got the hell out of there. The new job was an awful place with its own set of problems and I was still suffering from severe trauma so every day was a struggle. But at least I didn't have to see my assailant anymore.
It's been nearly 5 years since it happened and only in the last year do I feel like my life is finally starting to improve. I've worked so hard in therapy to get myself back on my feet.
Sometimes I'm amazed I had the fortitude to move to SF and start a new life at a great company and finally stop feeling like my entire post grad work history was tainted by this horrible event. Really wish I had some concrete evidence to build a case against him but there's no tangible proof.
It might have been a good idea to go to the police rather than stopping at HR, but hindsight is 20/20.