A woman who loved visiting her local gym and would go there to work out up to six days a week claims she’s been banned from the place after exposing a trainer that groped her.
Fern Villaceran, an accountant who lives with her parents in Pangasinan in the Philippines, would record her gym sessions to share on TikTok with her 14,200 followers.
The 22-year-old first started going to the gym back in February of this year and soon became friends with one of the male instructors, whose name is being kept private.
However, after a few weeks, she says the man began ‘spanking’ her bum whenever he saw her, leaving her feeling uncomfortable and violated.
She claims she told the instructor to stop but that he brushed off her request and said he “does it to everyone”.
Fern caught the unnamed instructor touching her on camera on June 6, 2021 as he was unaware she had been filming her workout.
She shared the video on TikTok calling out his behaviour and the clip quickly garnered thousands of views
After the clip went viral, Fern claims the man was fired from the gym,
However, in a recent development, she says she has also been banned from returning to the gym by management.
“I was doing my exercise called The Romanian Deadlift on the Smith machine when it happened,” Fern told Jam Press.
“The guy that touched me works at the gym as an instructor and I normally ask him for help with my workout if I need to, specifically if I’m going to be doing a hard workout or if I need him to spot me.
“He started spanking my bum every time I went to the gym.
“When I confronted him about it, he told me ‘I’m doing it to everyone, it’s normal’ and told me I shouldn’t be so worried, so I felt like I couldn’t say anything.”
She continued: “As time went on, I started to distance myself from him because I was so uncomfortable around him, he was just spanking my bum constantly.
“I have past traumas related to harassment so it was really hard for me but I was also afraid to say anything to management or report him in case no one believed me.
“I literally started to move my bum closer to a piece of equipment every time he would walk past me so that he couldn’t touch it.”
However, once she had video evidence, Fern decided it was time to finally speak up and approached the manager of the gym, who promised to speak to the employee and subsequently fired him.
She said: “I am relieved he was fired, not for me but for the other girls who are working out there.
“But the management also banned me for posting the video to TikTok, which I can’t do anything about.
“Tiktok have also removed my own video for violating its guidelines – again I’m not sure how I did that but I can’t do anything about it.”
Fern now hopes that by sharing her story, it will encourage other women who have been or are being sexually harassed at their gym to speak up.
She adds: “Please, please I know it’s hard but we need to speak up for them to stop.
“A lot of people support us and believe in us, it’s time for us to stand up for ourselves.
“Take my experience as your courage.”
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