by NATALIA JASTRZAB
This is the story of two girls, one pub and a whole lot of harassment.
More specifically, it’s the story of how my best friend and I went to an inner-city Melbourne pub to watch a band with a ridiculously good-looking lead singer and have a bit of a boogie.
It’s the story of how we ended up storming out an hour later because of the physical and verbal abuse we were copping.
Let me elaborate. I’ll set the scene for you. Two twenty-one year old girls, wearing flat shoes and I can’t remember what else, standing on the dance floor of the pub, getting excited every time a new song started playing and it turned out to be better than the last one.
There was not much of a female population in the pub, so we were getting a lot of – unwanted – attention. At first, it was just the casual grope as someone walked past. My bottom was the preferred groping target. Lovely.
Then guys started deciding that it wasn’t okay for me to dance with my friend anymore. That I needed to dance with them instead. Cue The Grab, where they snatch you away or snake an arm around you so that you’re out of your circle and into their arms.
No thank you. I’m having a great time where I am. I have a boyfriend. He’s not here right now, but he’s big and strong and could totally fight you. But the excuses weren’t good enough.
It got to the stage where some guy was so offended by my brush-offs that he decided the best way to get my attention was to continually launch himself at me – with force – until I turned around and started talking to him.
I turned around after he’d purposely run into me for the seventh time in less than a minute. I shoved him away and asked him to mind his personal space. The music was loud, so I might have mimed out a “no-trespassing area” around me.
He called me a bitch. I could still hear that over the music.
There was a security guard watching the entire thing. He didn’t care.
There were, however, two guys who did care. They stood next to us, acting like pseudo-boyfriends, and whenever someone approached me, I pointed to the tallest of the two and mouthed “boyfriend”!
As nice as those boys were, our night was already spoiled. We hugged them and headed home, disappointed with how the evening had turned out.
The most disappointment came afterwards, when I was recounting the evening to two male friends.
Friend One: “What did you expect? You were in a pub.”
Friend Two: “What did you expect? You were in [insert apparently dodgy Melbourne suburb here].”
Oh, of course! I shouldn’t have yelled at that boy who called me a bitch after I didn’t appreciate his best elbowing-in-back-efforts. I should have said, “I’m sorry – I forgot I’m in a pub. Do you want me to stand a bit closer so your aim can be better? That way, you can jab me in the eyes!”
I shouldn’t have been offended by the security guard ignoring me. I should have said, “I’m sorry – I forgot I’m in a postcode where it’s totally okay for everyone to grope me. My bad!”
Wait. Back up.
The fact that I was in a pub doesn’t automatically cancel out my right to enjoy my evening without being harassed. The fact that I was in a particular suburb is also completely irrelevant.
But it seems my personal views are not in line with those of Gary Johnston. Gary is head of the Bulldogs’ major sponsor, Jaycar Electronics. He went on radio 2GB on Wednesday to speak about the inappropriate comments directed at channel 9 reporter, Jayne Azzopardi, by unnamed players during the team’s Mad Monday celebrations.
Gary defended the player’s right to privacy, saying: “If a woman walks into some bars in Sydney, she will be ogled. She will be treated as an object and that’s the way it is. She doesn’t have to walk into those bars.”
Top stuff. Let’s have a golf clap for Gary.
Model and boxer Lauryn Eagle has now made a statement supporting him, telling Triple M radio: ”It’s the truth and you can’t hide from it, whether you like it or not, women expect it, it’s an expected situation.”
“You walk into a bar, men look at you, they stare at you, that’s just the way it is and that’s the truth.
“What they didn’t record was he did apologise…the comments were definitely not appropriate, but the reality is, looking and ogling, definitely (happens).”
So – in conclusion – women in bars and pubs will be treated like objects and should expect to be ogled. And – in my situation anyway – we all know what the ogling leads to. Touching. Being hassled. And – let’s call it what it is – being harassed.
That will happen regularly. And that’s cool.
Did I get that right, Lauryn and Gary?
Over to you all. What did you think of the comments made by Lauryn and Gary? Have you been treated badly in a pub or bar? Do you think there’s some kind of justification behind the behaviour?