Hannah Rowlands was doing her job as a Qantas flight attendant where she’d worked for over six years when she says she felt the warmth of his breath on the back of her neck. Her manager’s breath. She shut him down immediately, slapping his hand away.
“Can you not touch me?” she asked firmly. “Not now, not ever, don’t touch me’.”
The following week, she says it was his hand on her bum.
“Oh, for a little girl you’ve got a tight arse,” Hannah alleges the man said as he continued to slap her, over and over. Hard.
“It was a lot of times. You know when you’re young and your brother slaps you and it stings you, that’s what it was like, that’s how hard it was,” Hannah told The Project’s Hamish Macdonald of the moment her superior sexually harassed her mid-flight.
“I always thought if something ever like that happened to me it would be an instant reaction… and I couldn’t move, I was like frozen or something, I don’t know what had happened. And then he walked off and I just burst into tears.”
She was the poster girl for Qantas – a star employee and the face of the airline. But Hannah Rowlands’ dream job quickly turned into a nightmare after she says she was sexually harassed mid-flight. #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/kZQb34gjTw
— The Project (@theprojecttv) April 5, 2018
Following the incident in May 2015, Hannah approached her employer and filed a formal complaint against her on-board manager.
She’d always wanted to be a flight attendant and was proud to walk through the terminal and see her face on the banners, and on the safety demonstrations as the face of Qantas.
Hannah didn’t want her harasser to be fired or demoted. She only requested to not be rostered on shifts with that manager again. Within the six months that followed, she says they were rostered on together seven or eight times.