Welcome to hell Harvey Weinstein and all the many, many men like you. The men who thought your power and your money and your fame made you untouchable.
The women you groped are coming for you.
That sound you can hear? It’s women roaring back at the men who have screwed us over, using their power to harass and silence us for decades. For centuries. It’s the sound of a shifting power balance.
The first time I was sexually harassed at work, I didn’t know what it was. Same with the second and third and fourth times.
It happened when I was working as a waitress in a restaurant after I’d left school. The owner was a loud, charismatic guy in his 50s and he was always there. There were two of us working the floor, me and another girl. I was 18. She was about 21.
It began as comments about my appearance – often in his native language, which he would helpfully translate. “Beautiful wet girl” he would growl at me sexually as I walked past him throughout the night between the restaurant floor and the kitchen.
It was creepy and off-putting and it made me intensely uncomfortable. Later, it would make me quite scared. But I had no name for it. “He’s a bit of a sleaze,” I said to the other waitress one night when we were out of earshot. She nodded and rolled her eyes. She’d been there longer than me but she was travelling on a working visa so she knew her position was more tenuous. Neither of us had any recourse, not that such a thing ever even occurred to us.
I decided the best approach was to ignore his comments which were growing more overt and explicit, escalating with each shift I worked.
He soon started brushing up against me in the kitchen – away from the eyes of customers who all thought he was a large and lively legend – after I’d cleared tables. My arms were full so I couldn’t push him away. I soon began to dread going to work. I worked night shifts and I was starting to feel unsafe after the customers went home and I was there with just the other waitress and a kitchen hand, clearing up.
Mia: 'When I worked nights, I started to fear what would happen when the customers left.'
It never occurred to me to report him or lodge some kind of official complaint. To my 18-year-old mind, he was just a sleazy guy being a sleaze and I just had to cop it. It's not like the restaurant had an HR department. Small businesses rarely do. It never occurred to me to tell any of the men who worked there either. Not that I needed to tell them. His disgusting comments and pushing up against me happened in full view of them. There was a tacit understanding that this was just the way it was. Just the way he was. It was all fun, yeah?