A woman’s lifelong dream of moving to Europe came true. But her happiness was short-lived, all thanks to IKEA.
Stephani Soong was overjoyed after she moved from San Francisco to Amsterdam. She was really excited to begin this chapter of her life. She went to IKEA and ordered furniture to set her new apartment.
After moving in the new country, on the third day, a four-man team came to her apartment with all the heavy furniture. That’s when everything went terribly wrong for the woman.
Soong alleged one of the IKEA employees sexually harassed her.
According to Soon, four important pieces of furniture were missing. Their manager said he would deliver them in the evening. But only after a few minutes he was honking outside the apartment, with his partner who Soong called “D.”
The real name of the employee is not known. “D” is a supposed name given by the victim while explaining her ordeal.
“D” entered the house with the furniture and according to Soong, he yelled at the manager to leave so that he could be alone with her. Naturally, she was frightened.
What happened next was nothing short of a nightmare for Soong.
“D” allegedly tried to sexually harass Soong.
“’D’ was way bigger and much stronger than I. ‘D’ walked up very close to my face and proceeded to squeeze-massage my left bicep moving up and down, then my right one, then moved down to my thigh, slowly moving upward to my upper thigh towards my butt; all while saying, ‘You have such a nice body. Your body so nice.’ After he finished, he asked me for my phone number to go on a date,” she said.
He then asked Soong if she wanted a massage and asked her out on a date. But when she turned him down, he stuck his tongue out, moved it up and down repeatedly, while looking at her vagina.
“My body went into full-shock when I realized he was insinuating he wanted to eat me out by “massaging” my vagina with his tongue! After kicking him out, I curled up in a ball on the apartment floor and started crying,” Soong lamented.
The gruesome behavior of IKEA’s employee distressed the young woman.
“I feel so violated. I feel confused. I feel powerless. I feel dirty. I feel helpless. I feel scared. I feel lonely. My blood is boiling with anger and fear. I just moved to Amsterdam and within three days, I was sexually harassed by an IKEA employee in my own home,” she recalled.
After gathering herself back to normal, she called IKEA to let them know of their employee’s behavior, so that they can protect other woman from such incidents. But the company did nothing.
In fact, how they treated Soong was indifferent, to say the least.
When she first called the company, the first customer rep she spoke to said, “Sorry, I do not handle these complaints,” while, the second rep told Soong “You really need to calm down.”
The representatives at the IKEA headquarters weren’t helpful either.
After listening to Soong’s harrowing account of what had happened, they said that since she had no supporting legal case, they will not compensate her.
“We are very sorry this has happened though. Here is a dinner for two to make things right for you,” said one of the representatives at the head quarters.
Yes, you read that correct. IKEA, the big corporate company tried to buy dinner for a woman who was harassed by one of their workers.
She complained to the Dutch police about the entire episode that has given her so many sleepless nights, but they could not help her either. “I have reported this in person to the Dutch Police, the day that it happened. They were very kind, however they said that this is not something they can prosecute on because I have no physical proof. They said that since I literally don’t have semen in or on my body and that I don’t have any physical markings of abuse on my body, there’s not much I or they can do,” Soong said.
The victim requested people to share her story on social media. So far the response has been great, many people supported Soong. Others shared her story.
Suffice to say that, IKEA, the store known for providing quality home furnishing has failed when it comes to taking appropriate actions against such employees who harass their customers.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Yves Herman