Employee Sexual Assault: Realtor sexually assaulted during house showing
Omaha, Neb.- Fortunately for her sexual assault safety training, Sherri Hinkel knew exactly what to do the moment that impending feeling of discomfort came over her.
During a private home showing between Hinkel and 26-year-old Michael Beat, the red flags repeatedly reared their uncomfortable faces. It was her sexual assault training that allowed her to spot the signs of danger and to act upon them quickly.
While speaking to WOWT news out of Omaha, Nebraska, she states that “he kept eye contact a little too long, when I first met him, and I didn’t know if he was weird or he was socially challenged, I just made sure throughout the showing, he didn’t get behind me. Kept telling him to ‘go ahead,’ He’d say. ‘Ladies first.’ I wouldn’t let him behind me,” she said. That specifically is a red flag for realtors, as it makes them more susceptible to an attack from behind. Her safety training pointed out that if at any point you suspect that a client may be sexually predatory, the last thing you should do is to turn your back on them.
Unfortunately, that didn’t deter him from his (absolutely disgusting) next move, in which he undid his belt.
Hinkel told WOWT that she immediately said “Why did you undo your belt?’ [to which he replied] ‘Because, well, just because.’
‘That is inappropriate, and that is not OK, and the showing is over.’” Hinkel said sharply. After which, she walked out of the house, and immediately called 911.
“The very first instinct was to go to my vehicle and leave. And then, my second thought was: I can’t leave him in these people’s house,” she said. “And I really did not want him to leave before the police got there, because I wanted him to be caught, because something obviously wasn’t right, and maybe the next agent wouldn’t know better,” she said.
Because of Hinkel’s quick thinking and training education, Beat was charged with lewd conduct, disturbing the peace, and attempted 3rd-degree sexual assault and is being held on a $25,000 dollar bail.
The sad reality is that we are often in a vulnerable mindset at work, and can still be targets of sexual harassment and sexual assault, either by coworkers, customers, clients, etc. Two in three women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, often before the age of 18. Those statistics alone warrant safety training not only in reporting but also in preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault for both men and women in our workforces.
Everyone should feel, and has the right to be, safe and comfortable at their job. All efforts to ensure that ideal can only create fewer victims and impede potential predators.