I’m a Fearless Female and You Can Be Too: Sharon Ann Magnus

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Sharon Ann Magnus, ” I AM a Fearless Female and you can be too.”

Sharon Ann Magnus shares herstory of losing a legal battle but winning the war for herself, her truth, and her future as a Fearless Female. 

It takes courage to challenge a misogynistic, culturally dysfunctional and destructive working environment. Sharon writes that the battle left her isolated and bullied out of a position that she was passionate about: serving as a Specialist Crime Trainer.

Sharon’s Herstory

I was a decorated and long-standing passionate detective. I taught Serious Sexual Offences and safeguarding issues to many officers and police staff. I relished teaching but when I disclosed my own childhood abuse, (I had decided to enter into a legal process against my childhood abuser in another Force), the treatment I experienced at the hands of my male supervisors and others in my organization left me and my family devastated.

Ridiculed with pictures of witches, references to broom sticks and innuendo not fitting or professional by two male police supervisors (they also discussed their wives, girlfriends in demeaning fashions and other woman were discussed as mere pieces of sexual meat for their amusement and ridicule), it all came to a head.

My Mum died and upon return to work before the funeral, I was subjected to further bullying behaviors. Colleagues were shocked but wouldn’t stand against the perpetrators fearing if they did they would be subjected to the treatment I had been. I made efforts to report their bad behaviors but no one was interested in rocking the boat and ‘mobbing’ behaviors from peers started due to others’  fear and ignorance.

Later I returned from a scheduled health leave only to be informed that my skill based training was to be taken away from me; I was being moved into another area within the department. I challenged the decision but was seconded against my will to leave Serious Sexual Offences work.

I commenced a legal case against my employer.

The legal journey was hard, hurtful, and destructive. My emotional and physical health suffered tremendously. My husband and children suffered helplessly with me, watching me breakdown.

Just a few weeks ago I learned that two male lay judges and a female member commended me for being a professional, decorated officer: they believed my account of what had happened in the workplace. Nonetheless, they found no detriment in the decision to move me. The judges cited my childhood experience of abuse as a good reason for moving me even though in my 26 years loyally serving the Crown, I believe that it had only ever enhanced my work and had never in any way brought any detriment to my Force.

Why do I want to share my story with you? Especially when my legal case failed? 

It’s about doing what is right, moral, and true. It’s about having the courage in your convictions, standing up loud and proud when others turn their heads and close their ears.

I am no longer the person who started this journey. I am strong and empowered, ready to take on the world. And, I want to inspire others to stand for what they believe in and have the courage to speak out even if their voice shakes as mine has done on many occasions.

Would I challenge others again? Damn right I would. No one will ever subject me to these behaviors again.

Fearless Females Forum 5Cs with Sharon Ann Magnus

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“If I can turn my life around, anyone can.” -Sharon

1. What’s the most courageous decision you’ve made?

I think I’ve made a fair few courageous decisions in my life none as courageous as challenging cultural and misogynistic mindsets in my police force. What started as a very frightening decision has changed my life and has made me realize that I had the power all along. It just took time for me to realize that I did.

2. What choices are most important to you?

Choices can be made consciously or unconsciously. I have realized that ultimately having a choice in your life and in your destiny is a priceless gift and not one I take for granted. When I was a child and subjected
to years of sexual abuse my choices were removed. Today my choices are free from fear but I am ever mindful that so many others suffer. I choose to be a female who supports, encourages, empowers and hopefully inspires others to have free choices.

3. What fears have you conquered?

As with most people subjected to abuse, the fears that occupy your mind can be overpowering crippling BreDGHaCYAAwIluand destructive. I spent years fighting my demons and tried continuously to “fix myself” without much luck. The greatest fear I have conquered is my own mind, my own negative perception of me. In doing so I have empowered myself to embrace my imperfectly perfect self and am no longer in need of “self-help” quick fixes. I no longer subject myself to counterproductive destructive behaviors.

4. What conversation made the most impact on you?

Recently there have been many impactful conversations but none as impactful and empowering than a conversation I had with my counsellor who told me, “it is okay not to be okay.” It is okay to grieve for a childhood I never had. It is okay to be me.

5. What do you want women to get clear about?

If I can turn my life around anyone can. Woman are strong, brave and resilient individuals. An empowered, inspired and educated woman empowers everyone! We need to teach the younger generation of women that the power is completely within them.

Cheers to the fearless Sharon for sharing her courageous herstory! Connect with Sharon @NorthSn

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Fearless Females Forum is a monthly showcase for inspiring women who found the courage to meet their calling, solve a problem, or take a road less travelled.

Inspired by Sharon’s bravery? 

If you are a Fearless Female ready to have the spotlight shine on you, click on Calling All Fearless Females to learn how to share your herstory

Comments

  1. I have dealt with Sharon for quite a while now on many occasion via communications: she is just stratofab! The huge positive she has, for example, on Twitter is just humbling and then some!
    Mr Phd. Gillon, BASc
    Founder
    THEinfogatherer

  2. No guts No glory – This lady tells it straight – The attitudes that drive bullying & misogynistic, culturally dysfunctional and oppressive working environment are wide spread. She has spoken out against the darkest side of our lives. It is one of the worst anti social occurrences in society. Yet is is continually swept under the rug . I thank Sharon for having the courage to shine a brighter light on this ugly side of business & our society.

  3. Thank you for this, Sharon. Your retelling of this experience is so important as it echoes the crossroads of life. In particular the points where options are presented to us that seem ever so daunting, but if ventured, shrink in our wake. You have been through the graver side of abuse and I am sorry, very very sorry. Sharon, everytime you face this latent anguish through busting fears, your heart expands and you claim greater depths of your powerful self. Taking on institionalised patriarchal voices are no mean feat, but you have and in that you’ve done a service to feminism, your children and you.
    Lots of Love x

  4. Angela Clarke says:

    Many thanks Sharon for sharing this. I really admire you for having the courage and strength to share the terrible, hurtful and humiliating way you were treated at work. You also deserve a lot of thanks for having the courage in your convictions to challenge the cultural and misogynistic in your police force. I am very sorry to hear that your legal case failed against the decision to move you although they believed what you said. I am sure they will regret the decision as you were commended for being a professional decorated officer. Your bravery will encourage other women who are treated as badly to also find the strength and endurance to be heard. Sending you love, light and prayers for your future success and happiness.

  5. Amazing valuable and extremely uplifting!

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