Over the weekend, a case of a young Saudi woman who was harassed by a man claiming he wanted to interview her for a job، went viral in Saudi Arabia.
At the time, she received a response from a man claiming to be a manager at the initiative.
"He called at midnight and wanted to interview me over the phone. I was heavily pregnant at the time and therefore I turned down the job," she said.
Months after that first phone call, the supposed employer, who later turned out to be an imposter, contacted the woman again, asking if she was still interested in a job.
"I was interested at the time and so I sent him my application and CV. A few days later he emailed me a job contract with another woman's name on it. When I raised alarm over that, he said that the contract originally belonged to a woman he had a relationship with," she explained.
Soon after, the man began to harass the victim, telling her that she'd also need to have an illicit relationship with him in return for a job.
The woman's case went viral on social media
Subsequently, the woman filed legal complaints against him with three different government authorities, including Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labor.
When no initial action was taken, she eventually turned to newspapers and social media.
Her case went viral late on Saturday, leading thousands of women to share their own heartbreaking stories of sexual harassment at work via the 'a relationship in return for a job' hashtag.
As the hashtag continues to trend, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labor responded saying that it will now be handling the woman's case.
Leading hundreds of women to share their own stories
"I desperately need a job but most employers want something illicit in return for hiring me."
Many shared horrifying online encounters
"I look for a job that can help me make a living and I come across people who exploit my need for a job to fulfill their desires."
The stories kept coming in...
"I said I won't give him my number, he blocked me."
"A similar thing happened to me too. I company offered me a job but told me the manager cares about physical appearances and wants to meet me alone in the office after work hours. I rejected the job offer."
Women also shared this struggle
"I don't know why it's so hard to respond or do anything about this when we're right in the middle of a similar situation. We just leave, never tell anyone about it."
"There are so many similar cases"
"There are so many similar cases. How sick is a person who exploits those who are in need."
And it's not confined to workplaces...
"This also happens in public spaces, it's not only confined to job interviews or workplaces. God help women."
People suggested solutions
"Any woman who is harassed in any way must download this application and immediately report abusers. Don't give them a chance to get away with it."
People also called on authorities to take immediate action
"I hope the Ministry of Labor and Social Development monitors private companies and follows up on the stories shared here."
Saudi Arabia set to criminalize sexual harassment
Earlier last month, King Salman issued a royal decree calling upon the kingdom's interior minister to draft a law that criminalizes sexual harassment and enforces penalties on perpetrators.
A copy of the decree, which circulated online at the time, read:
"Considering the dangers sexual harassment poses and its negative impact on the individual, the family, and society, along with its contradiction of Islamic principles, our customs, and traditions [...], the ministry shall prepare a draft law to tackle sexual harassment."
The decree also went on to note the "importance of passing a law that criminalizes it [sexual harassment] and outlines the necessary penalties that categorically prohibit such acts and deter anyone who feels tempted to commit them."
The latest move comes at a time when women in the conservative kingdom face high rates of sexual harassment.
According to a 2014 study, nearly 80% of women aged between 18 - 48 said they have experienced sexual harassment in the country.
The Institute for International Research, a Canadian institute specialized in research and field studies, found that Saudi Arabia witnessed an 11.4% increase in sexual harassment rates in 2016, compared to 2014.