Whisperer Network: The Book To Read If You Experienced Workplace Harassment

Trigger warning: This review mentions workplace harassment. 

The corporate world isn’t always glamorous. Behind the paychecks and clean offices neatly arranged with cubicles, dark secrets reside. Whether unconsenting affairs between managers and employees, or office gossip, upper management is always trying to hide something. 

The book “Whisperer Network” by Chandler Baker proves this. 

The story takes us on a journey to explore the work culture of an athletic apparel company, Truviv, specifically their legal department. We meet four attorneys: Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and a new recruit from Harvard law named Katherine. As soon as Katherine begins her first day with the law department, gossip erupts from the three other attorneys. There was a bizarre dynamic between Katherine and Ames, the soon-to-be-CEO of the company, which Sloane first spotted. 

The three attorneys were skeptical of Ames, having worked with him for a few years, and tried to vocalize their complaints against him. At first, they thought they were in it alone, until workers from other departments, such as Rosalita, one of the janitors, opened up about their experiences with Ames. But the process wasn’t smooth-sailing. They were met with disbelief. 

However, the four women came together and realized who their soon-to-be-CEO truly was: a predator. 

Baker describes the story in vivid detail, from four different perspectives among the three attorneys and the janitor. She dives into the specifics about each of them, including their lives outside of work, such as their children and marriage. Although Baker’s story focused on many characters, she was able to articulate the protagonists and provide a full description of their personalities. 

Throughout the story, Baker also added other side scenarios which thickened the plot. For example, she talked about how Sloane’s child, a 10-year-old girl named Abigail, experienced bullying and harassment from boys at school. Although Sloane brought this concern up to the administration multiple times, they didn’t take it seriously. 

In these situations, Baker showed how unequal gender dynamics within institutions often silence women or girls. As a result, whenever women are experiencing sexual harassment, they find it challenging to come forward to share their experience. This is often structural, as exemplified in Abigail’s case. 

As a kid, when Abigail experienced sexual harassment from boys, she told her teachers, which they dismissed. When Sloane was called in for a meeting, she asked the principal:

“After she used her words to ask him to stop and then went to the person in authority who refused to help her. What was her course of action next? Because,” she [Sloane] said, when no one offered a suggestion, “It seems like your preferred course of action would have been for her to, what, take it?”

The teachers don’t realize the schoolyard boys will grow up and eventually work in the corporate world. So, if adults continue to allow this type of behavior amongst children, children won’t know how to respect each other’s boundaries. But in reality, this type of dismissal leads to predatory behavior, such as the case of Ames. 

And if girls are continuously silenced in situations involving harassment, they’re not going to feel comfortable to speak up about harassment in the future. 

Baker portrays this situation from all lenses, including the way children are socially conditioned and the structural barriers which allow harassment to happen. 

So, when the three attorneys gathered together, they found it more than difficult, as not everyone was siding with them. They brought their case to another attorney, who then almost gave up. Truviv continued to hire other attorneys to cover up their actions and defend their own corporation. 

In the end, Baker’s novel shines a light on the unfair gender dynamics within the corporate world. Workers are coerced into relationships for money. And because of societal pressures and conditioning, especially for women, higher-ups often tell employees to ignore the situation and not to speak up. 

The book provides more insight and makes us re-evaluate our workplace culture. Is our boss really the person who they seem to be? If they’re not, Baker does shine a glimmer of hope. After all, when we come together as women, we have the power to share our story as survivors. 
If you’re facing workplace harassment, please consult the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Project WHEN. When you’re in an emergency, contact 911 immediately.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


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