Diana, thank you for these informative questions. I have made it a practice to write on this blog about personal experiences or about topics and topics of which I have in-depth or intimate knowledge. In this case, for reasons of confidentiality, I am not in a position to reveal certain incidents, but they inform the following observations and considerations. It`s sharp and uplifting. I`m going to do this mandatory reading for all future EAs! Thank you for spending the time doing this, I found it difficult to express expectations in terms of privacy and why the EA position cannot be “friends” with the staff. You have done a great job here. So, yes, it also happens in church. I even received an apology from an episcopal bishop (now bishop of the AV state) for what had happened to me in NC in the ordination process, and I received a little doubt the title of lamb of sacrifice (without irony). To make me feel better, he let it be known that my experience has led the diocese to change its process and make it more just towards others. But the damage was done to me and would not be canceled. Injustice, that`s for sure. And I guess that`s what happened to a lot of women (and men).
But who could I (or most people) have reported me to for a possible repair? No one. I moved and made the most of my life that I could do. And with wonderful friends and confidants like you, I hope I`ve always been able to help “make the world better” in my little corner of the Great Pacific Northwest. The funny thing is that no one called you. Provided that the assistant is female and the leader is male. It`s the year 2019! And — yes — sexual harassment (and worse) in the workplace needs to be part of the conversation these days. I`ve certainly experienced it mostly in the form of gender that influences the outcome of my progression in my career, not the quality of my performances. In cases where trust needs to be broken, it takes courage to return to the original informant and explain why the secret could not be preserved, taking the risk of damaging or breaking the trust. That`s why the EA “middle” puts them in a lonely position. I am convinced that none of us will hear it in our current climate without thinking about sexual harassment in the workplace. We are all aware of the risks and reprisals to which victims are exposed when they share their experiences. The same dangers may apply in other cases of “whistleblowers”.
Finally (!): I once had the personal experience of breaking a trust that did not go well. Ministers are “mandatory reporters,” and I raised concerns about a doctor who worked in the emergency room and said he was suicidal. I felt like she was putting patient safety at risk (compared to the fact that she couldn`t treat her without her own emotional issues coming into play), so I reported back to my superiors. She was very angry with me. Maybe she was right. But later, we became friends when I tried to support them in their emotional struggles. And she stopped practicing medicine, which I think was a relief to her. If you read the whole series of articles on EAs and respect, you will see that I addressed this hypothesis very early.