Last updated Feb. 7, 2018
I was a member of an animal advocacy organization for three years and a leader of the organization for two years. While I was there, I wanted to believe the best, so I didn't let myself see what was going on. But in my third year I realized that the leader exercised tight control of members' lives and gaslighted people who disagreed with him or pointed out abuses.
This began when I disagreed with the leader about strategic issues, particularly clashes with other advocacy organizations, and heavy-handed responses to criticism that never admitted the validity of critics' claims. All of this I saw as damaging ultra-male behavior. As time went on, these worsened.
Things got increasingly bad when I moved to where the organization was based and got more intimately involved. I saw cases where men abused or severely hurt women. If they were close to leadership, leadership let things go on unchanged unless I, or someone else, pushed for changes. Even then, those who supported women and challenged abusive men were vilified while the male aggressors were defended. I saw very unhealthy dynamics between two nominally equal leaders, where the male leader dominated and belittled the female leader, consigning her to chores and not creating a space for her to truly leave the relationship even when they supposedly split. Many activists live together, and I saw how living together gave the leadership control over everyone's personal lives. It became clear that the organization met textbook characteristics of a cult. An intersectional activist informed me earlier of the organization's characteristics, and I hadn't wanted to believe it.
Then, as my conflict with leadership intensified, I started being personally attacked as a liar and "shit-talker" by the leader. I caught him saying things that were false and pointed it out. I did this not out of malice, but in order to ensure that discussions happened fairly and accurately. He attacked me for this and singled out people who shared their issues with me to browbeat them. He told me everything was in my head and I worried about my own mental sanity. I realized this fit the pattern of gaslighting that earlier members of the organization had pointed out.
Two major and extremely disturbing events ended my involvement with the organization. The first was a vote to remove dissenters against the organization's rules and the second was public humiliation of a female volunteer who disagreed with the leader.
The latter event began when the leader approached a female volunteer after I told him she disagreed with him. She was afraid to speak to him but finally emailed her concerns. Rather than change his actions, he went to local leadership to have her removed from all of her positions in the organization. He used an earlier mistake she made to bolster his case that she was deceptive. He distorted and lied about her role in the organization in order to press his case. The local leadership voted to remove her. Then his female partner attacked those of us who disagreed, eerily mimicking the exact words and phrases he used.
I was very upset, as were many others, and we started being portrayed as out of control and overly emotional. We began a petition for redress under a process the organization had specifically put in place.
Then, local leadership announced a vote to remove me and another dissenter from the local executive team. The vote violated the bylaws of the organization, but when we pointed this out, the leader made deceitful arguments, and other members, who idolized him and worshiped him as a hero, repeated his points robotically and let it go forward.
Three days before the vote, two of the leader's friends approached the female volunteer who he had removed from power and disclosed that they had embarrassing information about her past that she should be afraid of. That night, the leader's partner called a meeting in their house to discuss the conflict. They tried to hide this meeting from us, but we found out, and they made the meeting public.
The meeting was essentially a denunciation session in which the leader unearthed embarrassing details about the female volunteer's life, many false or distorted. People who disagreed with him were attacked with contrived stories. Others call him "an angel" and "the key to animal liberation." I resigned the next day after one of his roommates attacked me in an email and refused to go to a meeting if I attended. A friend of mine received a threatening call from the leader a few days later saying that she was racist for supporting the female volunteer he had removed. The leader screamed and belittled two female friends of mine in his house. He singled out and humiliated another female friend of mine in front of a large rally. He threatened a male friend of mine as "taking up too much space" and having a conflict of interest after he questioned the vote they held to remove dissenters.
Amid all this, I recognized that I supported him in similarly wrong acts against prior members. I am so sorry to all of them and want to restore what harm I did. I hope that this testimonial can be a start. 2/7/18
I care about ending factory farming for many, many reasons, but I am not an "animal lover." I don't care for pets or tear up watching nature documentaries.
From this vantage point, being immersed in the animal rights community, I see how much the emotional desire to help animals is held against women and is abused at every turn. The greater good for animals appears to be worth abuse, coercion, and disrespect. It helps women reason their silence. Beware that the men who tout "effectiveness" will rest the balance of all animal suffering on your silence, submission, and unrewarded work.
Several men in the vegan community *do not take no for an answer.* I have not seen this manifest in a sexual nature, thankfully, but I have experienced the intimidation, the questioning, the attempts at coercion, the inducing of guilt because saying no "hurts animals" be used repeatedly. This is harassment in the most basic sense of the word. It is the baseline from which much more serious harassment grows.
I am seen as "cold" and "negative" because I do not allow this harassment to escalate, and because I do not bend over backwards at every (unpaid, unrewarded) opportunity to "help animals." As a result I am widely disliked by men and women in this community, and probably have little to no future remaining in it.
Women's work is not respected. Women have very limited individual power or agency in their positions. I can't think of any other reason why the few men in the community are Executives and why the numerous, passionate, hardworking women never climb the ranks. Being a "professional woman" is not welcomed. I have seen professional women enter this community only to return to meat eating and permanently distance themselves from the horribly problematic vegan world. 2/7/18
As marginalized, long-time vegan, I heard about CANHAD on an Animal Activist webcast and want to share the story that is not directly related to veganism. I was terminated for warning others about a sex crime that took place in an historical theater run by a nonprofit organization that screens films from around the world.
While I was at a film festival, a transient ejaculated on an audience member who was a film critic. I was told by a volunteer manager not to let the man back in after we witnessed him running outside the theater. None of my other colleagues were told what happened, and no police report was made. Management concealed the event.
After expressing my concern regarding reporting it, and quietly briefing my colleagues on what happened, I was screamed at by the festival president in front of a group of industry folk. The festival president said I was paranoid and wanted to ruin the festival.
The theater manager, who I volunteered with for three years, didn't help. He told me "there is a time and a place," and I had better go. Three years prior, he discouraged me and another female from having boyfriends while in the entertainment business, and said it was the reason he himself was single. It was his opinion, and people are entitled to their opinion, none-the-less, it was daunting to hear this from a male manager.
I had volunteered 18 hours of my time to the festival, so I asked for a joint meeting with a theater rep and film festival rep, specifically requesting a female to resolve the situation. I never received a meeting. My volunteer coordinator said in an email that she was sorry about what happened, but would not respond further. I emailed her that I would never return, and I haven't.
I also contacted the president of the nonprofit that runs the theater. This man, an attorney, did not respond to my voicemail or email requesting to speak. I later learned that he was ill at the time, so I will give benefit of the doubt.
I let an entertainment labor union know, hoping they would address this, since they have screenings at the theater and should assure actors are safe. Upon contacting them three separate times, including a friend reaching out to them several times, no response.
I am entitled to movie passes at the theater for all my volunteer hours, but to this day have not claimed them, as I am too shamed and traumatized to return. I have been to another theater, which is under the umbrella of the same nonprofit, for a different film festival.
Thank you for your attention. It makes me physically react every time I see this theater. 2/6/18
I was a caregiver at an animal sanctuary and was fired for not resuming an ended, consensual relationship with the operations manager. One male board member was complicit in the termination (no one else was involved) and remains active in the animal rights movement. The organization was struggling financially, so I chose not to sue. 2/5/18
I was a victim of the CEO and executive officers of a major animal nonprofit. I have signed an NDA and am unable to speak out. I'm feeling hopeless because the harassment case against the CEO recently closed without his being terminated. When will there be justice for those of us that have been bullied and then black listed? 2/1/18
I worked at an animal rights organization where I was routinely asked to participate in naked, or nearly naked, sexually-charged protests. Not only did it make me feel extremely uncomfortable (especially when male campaigners were the ones to ask), as if the only way I could REALLY help animals was through my body, I was also was made to feel like I hurt animals as a result of saying no.
Those who were not deemed conventionally attractive were never asked to participate in these demonstrations, and that also created an uncomfortable environment. I remember chatting with one colleague who told me how they never asked her because she was "fat and ugly," which was so very heartbreaking. This was within an organization led primarily by women.
It took me years to understand how messed up this stuff was. Looking back, I'm so happy I said no and had a kick-ass woman supervisor who gave me the courage to do so. 2/1/18
At the animal rights organization where I am active, there is a man in leadership who preys on vulnerable activists. He picks out activists who are having relationship problems or mental health issues, etc. He tries to be their best friend, the only one who understands them and is there for them. He ends up having sex with them, saying he doesn’t want a relationship, and forces them to keep silent about their encounter(s). He does this in a pretty threatening way. He is manipulative and playing mind games.
When the activists stop answering his advances, he badmouths them by ridiculing or belittling them behind their backs. During meetings, he will not listen to them or take them seriously, and will even act as if they are invisible. He will do his best to make working together impossible by imposing his way, i.e. he is the man, he is the one making the decisions, and you no longer have anything to say.
It happened to me and since opening up to some other activists I have learned they had similar experiences. I am not sure what happened exactly, but my fear is that they are too afraid to speak up or even share their story to anyone. I have not spoken up about it because I fear others’ opinions. I still want to be an activist in a relatively small community and I especially fear not being believed nor taken seriously. I do not want to hurt the movement either, although rationally I know I am not the one doing the hurting.
All I can say is how damaging it is for the animal movement since I have seen several women come and go after getting “acquainted” with him, never coming back again. 1/31/18
I naively became involved with a narcissist, and unfortunately brought him into the animal rights movement. I feel very guilty about this and am concerned about him finding more victims in the movement.
This man preys on women who are attached, but not fulfilled in their relationships. He seems to be extremely empathetic, a “soulmate,” devoted to you and you alone. But because his relationships are affairs, they are secret. This allows him to maintain multiple relationships at once. He actually has no interest in monogamy.
He is a master manipulator and an expert at finding women who will be vulnerable to his techniques. He gets to know you so that he learns exactly what you need to hear. This is how he controls you. When you question him, he gaslights you and portrays the other women as “crazy.”
He tells you that he desperately wants to have children, which is his excuse to constantly seek younger women. He is in his 50s. I know he had at least 3 girlfriends at one time (all significantly younger and all otherwise attached), but there almost certainly were more I did not know about.
He has a lot of money and is a major donor to a few of the mainstream organizations. Most people think he is a great guy, due to his charming persona and the fact that he is a vegan. He is on a committee for a large animal nonprofit, where I was a leader.
I told the director of this committee about the problem. I had one ask: that he not represent the organization publicly. This was after the committee director had posted pictures with him on social media, tabling at an event. I don’t really care if [the organization takes] his money. I just don’t want the organization providing him opportunities to find more victims. I also do not like to see him held in high esteem, given what he does to women.
The committee director completely dismissed me, telling me I was “heartbroken and seeking retaliation” and that I should “let it go.” So I resigned from my position. He remains there. 1/28/18
When I went to the social media page of an animal champion who voyages across the seas to save sea animals, I saw what I can only describe as violence against the black mother whose child fell into a gorilla enclosure. The gorilla Harambe was eventually killed.
Vegan men were calling for her imprisonment, death, a life of suffering. It was some of the most vile displays of racism I'd seen in the community. The Captain was liking all of the comments and even supporting the outrage against the black mother.
There are numerous examples of white boys falling into zoo enclosures resulting in the killing of an animal. Yet those parents were not sent death threats. Vegans ignored these examples when I brought them up.
These men encompass the upper echelons of the animal movement and are held in high esteem...and most disturbing of all, they're able to earn a living wage in the movement while the vast majority of women go unpaid. Few women heroes receive similar levels of recognition despite women comprising most of the movement. 1/26/18
I worked for a large, prominent animal welfare organization. I did not experience direct sexual harassment, but I did experience several years of systematic silencing, marginalization and humiliation due to my size. I am fat. I always have been, and likely always will be. I have accepted it. I have also spent my career working to help animals. I'm committed to it, and I care deeply about it.
During my time at this nonprofit, I was repeatedly shamed for my size. One notable incident involved an employee randomly accosting me in the break room while getting coffee insisting that I attend a "lunch and learn" with the authors of "No Meat Athlete." I replied that I had no interest in attending, as I was already on board with a plant-based diet and not an athlete. The employee openly doubted that I was eating a plant-based diet, and insisted I come "for my health." I politely declined, again, and walked out of the room. Multiple people had similar conversations with me over the years, openly doubting my diet because of my size.
I was also "talked to" by Human Resources about my appearance. For the record, I maintained a business professional wardrobe; I wore slacks and sweaters and dress shoes every day, except for Fridays, when we were allowed to wear jeans. This was a representative of HR who had the conversation with me -- I was told, "Big girls have to work harder to look professional." I asked her, specifically, what she was suggesting I change. She did not have an answer. I asked my friends and family and a few trusted coworkers if my appearance was sloppy or unprofessional, and they told me it was not. Many of my thinner colleagues repeatedly ignored the dress code and wore leggings to work, some even walked around the office barefoot after their heels started to hurt their feet, and yet they never had to sit in a meeting with HR telling them that their appearance was unprofessional.
We had a blackboard outside of our breakroom where employees could write "suggestions" for improving the workplace. One person wrote: "Place a scale in the bathroom to encourage healthy habits!"
I was repeatedly passed over to represent the organization at events. One conference I actually helped plan -- I had spent months working on planning the conference with other people on my team. It was my first year in this position, and in previous years, the person in my position had ALWAYS gone to the conference. I was looking forward to it, and had been led to believe that I would be going along with all of my coworkers. Instead I was told shortly before the conference that I wasn't allowed to go. I asked why, and they told me that I was non-essential staff, and was needed to stay in the office. A younger, thinner, more conventionally attractive employee in a lower position with no role in the conference in my department was chosen to go instead. I was the only person from my department left behind. I am certain this is because of my size, because the nonprofit wanted someone thinner to represent them at the booths I had helped plan.
This nonprofit is now under fire for sexual misconduct from its CEO and another prominent leader. I wasn't surprised -- young, thin, attractive women rose up the ranks very quickly. We know now that it was because certain leaders had taken a sexual interest in them. The flip side to this, of course, is that female employees who were deemed less sexually desirable due to their age, weight, or general appearance, suffered discrimination, were passed over for promotions, ignored, hidden away, and eventually either pushed out or left out of frustration. When a toxic structure like this exists, where male leadership views the workplace as a hunting ground or their own personal Tinder, and promotes women not based on their merit but based on how sexually desirable they are, there are other victims. Yes, the women who face direct sexual harassment are victims. But women, like me, who are marginalized, passed over and have our hard work and achievements overlooked, are also victims. This creates a structure where leadership is overwhelmingly male, and women's careers and lives and success depend on whether they are desirable to men. The prize for the desirable ones, it seems, is having to deal with harassment and propositions and having illicit workplace romances derail their careers. And for the ones who aren't chosen by leadership, they languish forever in a cubicle, never advancing, never getting ahead, for reasons beyond their control, for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of their work.
Women (who make up the vast majority of the workforce) suffer, and in the end, animals suffer because people dedicated to helping them get disillusioned and leave. 1/26/18
There is an animal rights attorney who threatens to sue women who disagree with him. This is one reason why I was forced to leave the animal rights movement, to preserve my peace of mind. He attacks women, makes fun of feminists, and has threatened to sue women publicly, even bragging that he's won legal suits against uppity women.
He uses his popularity and knowledge of the law to avoid accusations and the image of being a misogynist. He frequently deletes his posted abuses towards women and then reposts a different version on his social media, framing himself as the victim.
Dozens of women have spoken out about this man over the years and he paints us as psycho and the vegan community agrees. Even when there is evidence to suggest misogyny, such as an activist declaring that women who wear fur should be raped, the perpetrators are still beyond reproach. Even PETA sexually exploits vulnerable women. We women have no country.
Thank you for starting this [CANHAD]. I feel like the past ten years of being vegan have mentally destroyed my health, not just from the overall misogyny and racism, but the denial of it. When my fellow white vegan activists, whom I love, don't "see" what I experience, it breaks my heart just a little more each day. And the animals suffer for it. This resource [CANHAD] helps me to feel I'm not alone. 1/25/18
I ran into a big name vegan activist at a party. It wasn't friendly at all. I felt violated, but at the time I didn't know how to articulate why. He didn't touch me, he clearly wasn't flirting with me, but he behaved in a manipulative way that sent shivers down my spine.
It wasn't just weird, it was abusive in a sense. Instead of asking my age, he tried to infer it with a series of invasive questions. Even though I was clearly uncomfortable, but being polite, he continued his interrogation. It was difficult to explain to my friends because there are no words for what he did. In a 4 minute exchange I felt emotionally battered. I confided in a male friend who had heard the perpetrator speak at a symposium, and my friend said he’d witnessed that same manipulation first hand. I was relieved.
Later I found out that two women and an adolescent child had accused this man of rape, and one of those women also reported animal abuse. He later sued his rape victim.
This man has written books on hearts, has a peace degree, and yet his actions, even the few seconds I spent with him, say the opposite. I'm truly scared of him.
I still have stomach knots thinking about the seconds I had contact with him and have since dreaded running into him. I realize the majority of people reading this would dismiss my testimony as frivolous, but no one could understand the emotional battering and fear I felt. It's one of many reasons why I left vegan advocacy. 1/25/18
I am in my late forties. I volunteered to host an animal rights activist when he came through town. He was in his late thirties. It was so nice to have him in my non-activist community. We had a fantastic evening, and I did everything I could to make his stay comfortable and memorable--we went for a walk, shared music, and talked into the night.
He came back through town a few months later, and I could tell he was angling to have sex with me from the moment he arrived. I didn't want to be unkind, but I had no interest. He kept pushing himself at me, even grabbing me and poking his penis at me in the kitchen, physically forcing me close to him. Later he pulled me onto the couch and again held me close, asking me to respond sexually.
I didn't want to be rude. I remembered him kindly, and considered him an activist friend--the best kind of friend. And I was also friends with the people he worked for (it's a small community)--so I just kept saying that this wasn't what I wanted at that particular time.
Looking back, I realize that he tried to use our friendship for his sexual satisfaction. He had no interest in a long-term relationship--he lives very far away. He wanted momentary sexual gratification from someone who had been open and kind to him. I know now that what he did was sexual assault. He was selfish.
He is in the same movement that I am in, but he is not compassionate. 1/2/18
I was part of the crew for an animal rights campaign and worked closely with the manager and CEO.
From the moment we landed on a different continent, the manager's behavior shifted to becoming aggressively sexual with me. I was in my twenties at the time and he was in his forties and the CEO. I also didn’t have any previous experience with being abused and didn’t realize I was being groomed. After weeks of trying to fight it off, being gaslighted, trying to stand up for myself then having the abuse escalate, I became terribly depressed and could barely function to be able to do my job. This caused the CEO to become even more abusive to me.
What had become mental and emotional abuse, and verbal abuse, soon started to become physical. He would become angry and grab me by the arm and drag, push me up against walls and scream in my face, but he always screamed at me when I was in a space where I couldn’t get away from him. At one point he had me up against a wall screaming at me and demanded I give him my money saying, “I’ve already gone through your shit and know how much money you have so don’t even try to lie to me about not having money!”
He would make comments about my body when we were alone and in public. In the beginning of our campaign I was showering when he came in and took a picture of me in the shower. He had arranged the campaign so that I had to room with him and would guilt me for not being physical with him. I think I had become so emotionally traumatized and he would be less abusive to me when he got what he wanted, so I started giving in. I was young and he was the CEO and when I let him do it, the abuse was alleviated, for a time. Then he cycle would start all over again.
I became a shell of myself. Everyone I was communicating with back home could tell that something was wrong. I never even thought I could tell anyone. I believed I was asking for everything. Before I met this man I never believed I was someone who would ever get into an abusive relationship and I never believed I would meet a monster within the animal rights community. When I finally did run away from him, it was right after a physical assault and I believed that if I stayed with him any longer something terrible was going to happen because it continued to escalate each and every day. That day that I managed to get away from him I ran to a taxi and never looked back. This man continues to organize with animal organizations outside the United States. 10/29/17
I attended a protest in the U.S. to stop a dog slaughter festival in another country. Most of the attendees were white. As we were marching, a white female marcher accosted an Asian woman who was also walking down the street. She started screaming, “Stop eating dog meat!” and cornered her. I confronted the activist. I asked if she knew the Asian woman and knew for a fact that she ate dog meat. The activist openly said no, but that she was going to make damn sure that the woman stopped eating dog meat. I called out her racism.
The whole protest was very uncomfortable due to the privilege and racism. At one point, a white male leader in the movement suggested everyone go into the local "Asian" market to send a message. The protest had nothing to do with local markets, and this market represented another country entirely from the country that hosts the festival. The presence of angry white American activists in the store was visibly disturbing to the staff and shoppers in the store, none of whom had anything to do with the issue. July 2017
A donor for the nonprofit I used to work for has a known history of rape accusations. He hasn’t been convicted, but has admitted to these rapes during a criminal complaint. Multiple female staff members asked to not work directly with him because of past complaints and because of his current inappropriate behavior.
At one point, a staff member said he was “queasy” because of the way this donor was being treated. He said that we were “assassinating his character.” Female staff got together to make their voices heard, but leadership made no changes. At least 15 women have quit over the past few years because they felt the nonprofit wouldn’t protect them from harassment. July 2017
I was interning for a large nonprofit and in an effort to save the organization money when traveling, employees and interns of different sexes were expected to share rooms—and even beds—while traveling. A white male employee, who was both older than I was and also my supervisor, came on to me when we were traveling and sharing a room. We had sex, but I didn’t feel I could say no given his position of power in the organization. July 2017
While I was employed at a vegan business, myself and my manager visited the headquarters of a vegan nonprofit. We were visiting with one of the co-founders in his office when the man suddenly pulled me onto his lap. He was much older and I was in my early 20’s. I immediately stood up and said that sitting in his lap was inappropriate. This incident made me question whether I could trust my manager because he did nothing to interfere. July 2017
I was attempting to collect money to help a dog that was being sexually abused in another country. On the Facebook post I got a plethora of comments such as "look at her picture, look at her name, she's a Mexican." I am Latina. They stated, "these Mexicans are always trying to hustle money, this is just another scam where she is using dog rescue to get money, probably for the bunch of kids she has at home since she uses her welfare check to buy cell phones and get her acrylics done." All the women commenting back and forth were white members of the almost completely white social justice cause that I am an active member of. July 2017
I am white, and I worked at a large nonprofit that was almost exclusively white. One of the few African Americans at the organization happened to be on my team. The organization’s IT team assigned the African American employee the computer password “blackbird.” I thought it was an unfortunate coincidence, but six months later when it was time for everyone to get new passwords the IT team assigned her the password ”gorilla.” Realizing this behavior was not a coincidence, I complained to Human Resources. I was told that I was being “oversensitive” and “making something out of nothing.” This organization also regularly (and proudly) refused to start any sort of diversity training initiative. July 2017
I used to work for a nonprofit that is run by white men, though it was founded decades ago by two women and two men. The current all-male leadership often talked about or celebrated the male founders in blog posts, newsletters, etc. The male founders were given great credit for having the vision to start the organization several decades ago.
At one point, I asked the organization’s historian, who is a white male and part of the leadership, to write something about the founding women. I was told by the historian that this request was “silly” and that writing about the founding women “would not be a good use of time.”
I’m female and without saying so directly, I felt he was telling me that women are not important to organizations. It may be worthwhile to note the while the leadership of that nonprofit was all male, the majority of the workers were female. July 2017
As a female director of a nonprofit organization, I complained to the white male vice president about a lack of women on our leadership team. He told me, “We’d love to have more women at the top, but women are too emotional. They always bring drama.” The VP had a history of fighting with another one of the organization’s higher-ranked employees. For over 2 years, his behavior included screaming, yelling, false reports to Human Resources (from both individuals involved), slamming doors, lies about the organization’s budgets, and more. Employees quit because of their fighting, money was lost, and the organization remained fractured. I guess because they were men he did not see his behavior as “dramatic” or “emotional.” July 2017
I attended a large annual conference for a social justice movement. As part of the partial scholarship, they asked a friend and I (both Latinas) to help clean up the food area. As we were cleaning, the predominately white conference attendees asked us to get things, as if we were staff. We were clearly not staff because we weren’t wearing uniforms and had conference name tags. They were also reaching back, while talking to each other, to hand us trash even though we were nowhere near any trash cans. They left all their trash behind for us to clean up even though it was clear that the area was closed and we were already finishing up.July 2017
I witnessed discrimination on the fundraising team where I worked, which was all white except for one black woman who reported to me. I had trouble getting information about donors from her and I eventually found out why.
The people who managed the fundraising team were questioning her need for this information, while repeating how critical it was, and overtly reminding her to not “steal” the donor information. All the other employees at her level, who were white, downloaded and shared donor information multiple times a day without being harassed.
I reported this discrimination to Human Resources and was told that she was being treated differently, but it was “necessary and important.” I was told that the managers were not doing anything wrong—they were “just protecting the organization.” July 2017
I was standing in the barn of a nonprofit animal sanctuary, which I was visiting for research purposes, listening to a long-term, high-up staff member talk about his six years of work at the sanctuary. He commented: “I used to date and had long-term relationship, but not anymore. I have an endless supply of volunteers coming through, and almost all of them are girls.” July 2017
I am a female fundraiser for a nonprofit. I was staying at a hotel for a large donor event, and many staff members had rooms at the hotel, as did many donors. One of the organization's male donors was drinking at the banquet dinner and kept making inappropriate, sexual comments at me. Two of my male supervisors were present and heard and saw the donor doing this to me, but didn’t say or do anything.
Later that night, I was about to open the door of my hotel room when the donor suddenly showed up in the hallway. He pushed himself against me and tried to enter my room. He told me he loved me, put his arms around me, and wouldn’t let go. I managed to slip inside my room and shut and lock the door. He stayed outside my door and caused a big scene. His knocking and yelling (asking me to let him in) continued until I called hotel security.
I emailed several supervisors afterward to tell them what had happened. I was terrified that I’d be in trouble because he was a big donor. The organization did not fire me, which was a huge relief, but they did continue to nurture relations with this donor. They moved him to another fundraiser, and a higher up told me to just try and "stay out of his way" at events. I don’t feel protected or safe at my job because my supervisors refuse to tell our wealthy donors that they can’t hit on staff. July 2017
When I was a recent college graduate, my new manager, who was also the owner of the small vegan business where I worked, misled me into thinking that he was single. A few months into my employment, we started a physical relationship. He was in his mid-30’s and living with a woman who he’d been with for many years, but claimed they weren’t “together.” I eventually learned through a variety of ways that she believed the opposite.
Although our relationship was consensual and I was emotionally close to him, he was also my manager, a decade and a half older, and in a relationship with someone else, so of course we kept our “affair” secret.
There was no Human Resources department and I confided in no one. I finally ended our physical relationship after two years. Looking back, this relationship was very painful emotionally and disrupted my life. It was awful watching him flirt with other women and carry on as if he were single, both within and outside the animal rights community. July 2017
I worked for a large nonprofit where over 20 women complained about sexism, sexual harassment, and unsafe situations with male donors. I reported all of these complaints to Human Resources and asked (in writing) for the Human Resources department to open an internal investigation. They refused. Soon after, I was demoted and no longer allowed to talk to prospective members or donors. Within a few months, I resigned because I had been marginalized and felt alienated since my request for an internal investigation.
Less than a year later, I heard about additional sexual harassment allegations in the same organization, but this time the complaints were public. Once again, the organization refused to change the culture or punish the perpetrators. As a result, more women felt forced out of the organization. July 2017