A few months after starting working here I was raped by a colleague.
It was violent and terrifying. I was very young. I did not want to speak to anyone as I was so scared but after my injuries healed I chose to speak out and after several months he lost his job.
I am happy not to work next to him but I have been offered no support. It hurts to work by his office.
I hoped to be a politician one day but I have no more energy. No confidence to even speak some days. We work hard in committees and plenary to keep this incredible House working so well.
Don’t forget about us.
We are still hurting.
There is a particular Member of European Parliament who always greets me with kisses on my cheeks when he sees me.
This doesn’t mean much, but it means a lot when he follows up with unwanted back massages and cheek pinching.
Years later I was still working at the European Parliament, this time for another MEP. As the local assistant was also quite well known in my local political party- I chose not to tell anyone about what happened, as I was young and scared. I had put the whole experience behind me when one day I was working alone in my office when I received a message from a number I did not recognise.
“Hi, this is XXXXX (local assistant). How are you? I am visiting the European Parliament and was wondering if you wanted to have a coffee.”
I was paralyzed with fear.
A few minutes later my phone rings again.
“I know you saw my message 🙂 Where are you?”
Again, I did not reply.
Suddenly my phone started to ring. He was calling me.
I didn’t answer, so he called me again and again.
I was so scared I could not move. I remember being stuck, frozen at my desk being paralyzed with fear.
All of a sudden I heard footsteps at the end of the corridor, and call me paranoid but I decided to quickly lock the office door.
As I sat back down at my desk, I heard three knocks on my office door. A silence. He tried to open the door unsuccessfully. More knocking.
Then he called out my name. “I know you’re in there” I heard him say with a low chuckle.
I did not call out back.
I did not move.
Finally, he left and after about 5 minutes texted me and said “Waiting for that coffee ;)”
In March 2013 my boss asked me to help her compile an online newsletter and asked me to collaborate on the project with a local assistant.
Suddenly the local assistant sent the whole office an email asking them for their personal address books in order to include their contact’s email addresses into the newsletter database.
Since I knew this could breach data protection law, I called up the local assistant to let him know. His reply?
“Don’t worry- if we end up getting arrested at least we will be locked up together and I can think of a number of things I would like to do to you while we are locked up…”
He then proceeded to try to tell me some of the things he was thinking about.
I cut and avoided ever having to speak to him on the telephone again.
I was on mission abroad accompanying an official EP delegation.
I was breastfeeding at that time, which sometimes results in uncomfortable situations, such as milk spots.
I was going back to my official hotel room after the day and got stuck alone with an MEP in the elevator.
He approached me, touched my breast and asked whether he could “suck my tits”.
I was terrified, went out and received follow up suggestive messages during the mission.
I never took the elevator on my own, checked three times whether my door was locked and stuck to my fellow colleagues for the rest of the days.
I went back and never disclosed the information to anyone, fearing for my contract. That was some years ago.
This MEP is still in office .
I was once told by a MEP that he loves hiring Eastern European women because he believed that they would do anything to get “western passports”. He continued by saying that with this reasoning, he could understand why I was hired by my MEP.
Whenever he found himself alone with me, he would often insist on bringing up the fact that despite his advanced age, I could be rest assured that his sex life was “juicy”.
Another time he asked me about my plans for Christmas break. I replied by telling him that I planned to visit my family for Christmas. He laughed at me and said that I must be stupid because I am obviously not capable of getting myself ‘a man who will buy me a seaside Christmas holiday’.
At one point he pointed out to me that I put myself at a disadvantage because I acted ‘frigidly’ compared to other female colleagues who ‘knew how to wear heels’.
Unfortunately, he was not someone I could avoid, I had to be in touch with him on an almost daily basis to get my work done.
I was sat in a meeting room negotiating on a file when I started to feel quite cold. I leaned over to one of my colleagues and mentioned this.
Overhearing my comment, a parliamentary assistant from another political group also working on the file leaned over to me and said;
“I can warm you up”.
I received a text from a Member of the European Parliament with whom I was working on a file last April.
The message read; “I am interested in further cooperation with you”.
It was 2AM.
In December 2017 I started my internship in the European Parliament.
In the first days of my new appointment, I got into the elevator and inside was a man I did not know.
He looked at me up and down and then proceeded to tell me that there weren’t many beautiful women in the European Parliament, and that since I was new I should take the opportunity to “taste his pancakes”.
I looked at him, quite stunned by what I had just heard him say. He didn’t seem to care about my obvious discomfort and kept getting closer and closer to me. He then told me that “pancakes should be eaten in the morning” and that I should absolutely taste them in his place.
I was so stunned, I could not find it within myself to reply. I was paralyzed with fear.
Luckily, the elevator doors opened just at this moment and I dashed out of the doors, even if it was not the level I planned to get out on. I just wanted to get out of there.
I started to work for a political group in May 2016.
I had heard from my colleagues that one particular MEP from the same group liked to invite new advisors to office dinners in Strasbourg, so when he invited me I did not think much about it and obliged.
When I arrived, I realised it was not an office dinner at all, but rather an intimate dinner for two in a very classy restaurant. I sat down hoping that his assistants would join at some point.
They did not.
As the dinner progressed, I felt more and more ill-at-ease. At the end of dinner, he started to compliment me in different ways, and at one point said; “It is incredible that such a beautiful woman like you decided to have this type of work”, “I am sure you have many suitors”.
Then he asked if I wanted to go to the bar “Les aviateurs”. I refused and he proceeded to insist that he takes me back home. Nothing happened in the end, but I was scared.
Following this, he started to send messages. They were always vaguely work-related, but always random and sent outside office hours. His behaviour with me became so weird that my colleagues turned it all into a bit of a joke by teasing that “he likes you”.
I just wish he didn’t.