Skip to main content
Episode 40 | October 10, 2023

Alreen Haeggquist, a seasoned lawyer, discusses ways to say "no" to sexual harassment and abuse in life and at work.

Join in as Alreen Haeggquist talks about her personal experience with sexual abuse and how she has used it to stand up for others dealing with the same.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Alreen Haeggquist, a seasoned lawyer on a mission to support women facing sexual abuse, harassment, or discrimination, joins us in a deep and meaningful conversation about helping others stand up for themselves. She opens up to share her personal story to support others in their journey to speak out.
Key Takeaways

[00:02:58] Childhood trauma and resilience

  • Living in fear in your home, workplace, or anywhere is not a way to live
  • As a child you may feel abandoned and unsupported
  • Experiencing sexual, emotional, mental, and/or physical abuse doesn’t define you
    • How you react to any abuse also doesn’t define you
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are normal, but there is a way out

[00:09:33] Victim-blaming and self-blame

  • You may not understand you have been violated
  • This is often internalized, feelings of:
    • I should have said no
    • I shouldn’t have gone there
    • I asked for it
    • This was my fault
  • Worry about people believing them or why someone of power would choose them
  • Understanding your rights, what are your options
  • Law is generally a last resource – they can contact HR, the offenders boss or family

“But I also know that there are lots of women who have difficulty speaking up and saying, hey, that’s not OK.”

[00:14:38] Harassment and microaggressions

  • If something at work is making you uncomfortable and is not necessary, this is harassment
  • Also based on you gender, race, sexuality, etc.

“Sometimes silence or complicity is a form of gaslighting.”

[00:16:44] Excusing abusive behavior

  • Justifying behaviors of offenders
    • This creates even more guilt for the victim
  • Change the “someone has it worse than me” mentality

“There’s no way I was responsible for any of this.”

[00:21:17] Becoming active bystanders and advocates

  • How to be an advocate
    • If you see something, say something
  • If you don’t want to confront the situation, you can document/send an email/let the victim know you are there
  • Watch for a lead up – many small things happen then a large event
    • Take notes of it, keep a journal, email to yourself

“Saying, hey, I saw what happened, how can I help?”

  • Working together is how we are going to stop the problem
  • If we don’t speak out, this behavior can continue to someone else
  • Show up as a leader – let them know you sincerely believe policies
    • Be part of those conversations
    • No one is above the law

“And so it doesn’t matter if the salesperson that brings in the highest amount of sales to your company, if you’re going to let that guy harass your female employees, that’s a really bad message that you’re sending in the company because you’re telling your company and your employees that, you know what, how much money you make is way more important to me than how you are feeling in the workplace and whether you’re being harassed or abused.”

[00:34:43] Trauma and healing, survivorship

  • Believe them
    • Just listen
    • Ask how you can help
  • Step 1 to Heal: Acknowledge that it happened
    • This can be let out however feels natural, journaling, calling a friend
    • Keeping it in causes greater harm

“That’s the boundary I’ve now created is I’m not going to stay silent.”

Where to Find Alreen
Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues