I met Mr Z when he agreed to take on my case. He said we could meet at his lawyer’s firm during lunch hour to discuss my case.
His office was empty as his staff had all left for lunch.
As I sat down in his office, he came from behind and grabbed me. He started kissing my neck, groping my breasts and bottom and even attempted to slip his hands inside my clothes!
I was too paralyzed with fear to shout or scream.
He even had the gall to say that he wanted some ‘incentive’ to help me win my case! I struggled and managed to free myself and ran out of his firm.
Frightened and shaken, I sat in my car and finally broke down.
When I was a little calmer, I called a friend, another lawyer, my assemblyman and then my husband. I told them all what had happened to me. I was advised to make a police report.
Back home, the first thing I did was to take a shower. For more than an hour I kept washing myself, feeling dirty. The incident kept playing in mind and traumatised me physically and psychologically.
I started getting insomnia and could not sleep and when I did, I began to have nightmares.
I began to feel anxious, fearful and helpless as I continued to have flashbacks of the incident.
Whenever I showered, I repetitively washed the parts of my body that had been violated- my face, neck and upper body. In addition to extreme difficulty sleeping, I had trouble eating. My health started to deteriorate and I eventually suffered a miscarriage.
My marriage suffered too as I was fearful of intimacy, and so stopped having intimate relations with my husband. Whenever my husband wanted to comfort me or hug me, I turned away. The incident also gave me depression as I would cry, refuse to go out and lost interest in family life. I felt a total loss of confidence and when I went to see a clinical psychologist, he said I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Since I knew my assemblyman, he asked me to get help from WCC. When the police asked me to go to the place of the sexual harassment incident, I was fearful. I was glad that a WCC social worker came with me. WCC also helped me with many counselling sessions.
After waiting for more than a year and a half, I was told that the Prosecution’s Office would not be prosecuting this case due to a lack of evidence. After all that I had gone through, I felt extremely angry. The law was supposed to be fair, but had been really unfair to me. I felt betrayed by the law!
But thanks to WCC, I did not give up on my case. The team at WCC assisted me in fighting for justice. In 2011, I decided to file a complaint with the Bar Council’s Disciplinary Board.
When the Bar finally accepted my case, I felt vindicated.
Again, the process took a long time. WCC and my lawyer prepared all the necessary documents and evidence to prove my case.
It was only in 2013 that my case finally heard by the Bar Disciplinary Board Panel in Penang. By then, my family and I had already moved away from Penang but my husband and children accompanied me to Penang for the hearing. During this time, my PTSD returned. The hearing took two days and while I was relieved it was over, I still had to wait for the decision.
In 2014 I received a letter from the Bar Disciplinary Board stating that my complaint was dismissed and the lawyer was found not guilty. Again I felt outraged and disappointed with the Malaysian legal process!
While nothing has changed, I am grateful that WCC gave me encouragement to start my life anew. My husband gave me the care and support I needed. I started to focus on my career and family again and while it took some time, I am now back in control. I can put the past behind me but I it took a long time for me to regain control.