How to: deal with sexual harrassment and assault.

Ah. Now just remember my friends – not all men. Whispers in ear while sending and congratulating friends on the fresh half naked pic of a girl sent to a group chat  ‘not all men’

If you were like me and many others in the world, the workforce called your name from an early age so you could taste the sweet freedom cash money gave you. And pocket money was not an actual real thing in our family, even if you did chores (a.k.a learning to be a functioning human and knowing how to do dishes etc properly).

After realising I’ve been in the workforce for over 10 years now (my first job was washing windows for Harcourts in Levin – REP!) I felt it necessary to write a definitive guide on how to deal with different types of sexual harassment within a workplace (or just general life), not to mention that some people just don’t seem to believe that this is a real issue we gotta face.

  1. Sexual innuendo

Oh, you’re a 14 year old girl working in Hospitality? Well you better get used to remarks from colleagues and customers such as (but not limited to): “Are you on the menu?” “You’d be prettier if you smiled” “Are you a virgin?” “How many times have you had sex?”

What did this time remind you of? That time that guy fondled you in a mall when you were 12 and then stalked you? That was really fun. Good times.

2. The customer is always right, their happiness is key!

This is where you realise that great technique called ‘not complaining’ or ‘keeping your mouth shut’. Very useful. Not at all damaging.

I had a customer constantly drop his fork and tell me to pick it up so i’d have to bend over. Him and all his mates loved it. I wanted to cry (was 14 still here), so I told my manager I didn’t want to serve them. They said not to worry and pretend like nothing happened.

ok.

3. Always wear the correct uniform

God forbid that you didn’t wear black jeans, you wore your dark blue ones with green buttons on the bum OBVIOUSLY inviting your boss to ‘play with them’ every time you walked past. What do you do?

You text your fucking awesome dad and tell him what happened, then he comes down and grills the fuck out of your boss.

Then you boss blames you for the unwanted attention, because you wore the wrong pants.

*sigh*

But also, yay Dad for being a real bomb guy 🙂

4. Try strike up friendships with your co-workers

There is nothing like making new friends! And when you start working in an auto store at 16 and have an interest in fixing cars, it’s definitely an advantage. It was so much fun learning heaps of stuff and making life long friends (still have some yay!)

It wasn’t so much fun when one of my co-workers starting telling me how good he looked naked.

Thank god I had the confidence to tell my managers, who had my back (thank you!)

5. Always seek the best in people

When you’re really excited for a new job, it is always even better when you get along with your boss. And hey, maybe sometimes you over step the line a bit between ‘boss’ and ’employee’ but not in a ‘i want to have sex with you way’ but more a ‘it is so cool i can work here yay i’m happy’ way.

So when your boss (who is married and has kids might i add) tries to kiss you, puts you on the phone to his wife who yells “ARE YOU HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH MY HUSBAND?” to which you reply, “I could never do that, I also have a boyfriend”. What do you do?

Well, you call him a cunt. Then get scared you’re going to lose the job you love. Then apologise for your behaviour.

Yeah. I can’t believe i did that either.

6. Realise that you never got taught what consent was

And if I didn’t get taught, how many of the men in my life understand it?

Certainly the guy who had sex with me when i was 15 and drunk, who then trapped me in an isolating relationship then continues to bug me about our teen relationship (legit, still bugs me) didn’t understand.

The guy who took pics of my ass and sent them to his friends didn’t understand.

The dudes who yell at me in the street don’t understand.

The woman in the bar sure as hell didn’t understand.

Here is my fucking point: Women or just people in general don’t share their complaints about assault and harassment to attack people. We’ve been quiet on a lot of things in our lives, we’ve apologised for things that happened to us that shouldn’t have happened.

We don’t want to make you feel like you need to educate us that ‘not all men are like this, just some ruin it for us’. Why don’t you think we know that already?

We just want you to understand that too many times we’ve felt unsafe, too many times we’ve cried, too many times we’ve been mad and no-one has helped.

And we’d hope, that by starting a conversation about it – even if its uncomfortable for you, that its a part of what we have to live with everyday.

Hows that for being uncomfortable?

 

 

 

 

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