A Toronto jail guard was hit with the biggest slap in the face after complaining to management about being harassed by a colleague.
For more than a year, Camille Pouli claimed she received unwanted advances from her coworker, Sydney Walters. Instead of Walters facing any real consequences for his actions, he was promoted to a supervisory position.
The two were friends at first, and even spent a night together back in 2014 after a Super Bowl party, the Toronto Star reports. However, after some time, Walters began to make Pouli uncomfortable.
Walters allegedly ignored repeated requests from Pouli to stop contacting her. Over the course of 13 months, he sent her 69 instant messages, several of which were sent when he was supposed to be on the clock.
The last straw was in June 2015 when Walters sent a picture to Pouli of a woman’s behind as her skirt was riding up, revealing she wasn’t wearing any undergarments. The caption of the photo said, “June 22, no panty day.” Upon receiving that degrading message, Pouli filed a complaint, which prompted a five-month internal investigation.
Although the investigation results concluded that Walters sent “unwelcome and unwanted” texts to Pouli, he ended up being promoted to sergeant.
Adding insult to injury, Pouli was kept off work for 15 months waiting for management to get her a position in which she didn’t have to interact with Walters.
“From the beginning, all I was asking is ‘Please don’t make me work with this individual,’” Pouli reportedly said.
"Then they had the nerve to promote him. It’s just a slap in the face,” she added.
Taking the time off created a financial burden for her, ultimately leaving her with no choice but to sell her house.
“It hurt. I was so proud of that house. I had all of my family come see it,” she said.
After being out of work for more than a year, she was eventually given a position at Vanier, a local detention center for women. However, she has filed a grievance for back pay for the time she was off, but the process has come to a halt.
Overall, the very system that Pouli works day in and day out for failed her. They treated the harasser with more dignity than they treated the victim, which is a disparity we see too often in sexual harassment cases.
“I went for help, and I wasn’t helped at all,” Pouli said. “The whole process — I just felt victimized all over again.”
With situations like this, it’s no wonder such a large percentage of sexual assaults go unreported.
Banner Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures, George Hodan