When Mariah Nonnemacher, originally from Arkansas but living in London, recently visited Paris with a friend, she had no idea she would soon be making international headlines.
The 26-year-old and her friend booked a stay at Enjoy Hostel in the centre of Paris, but soon began to feel uncomfortable when a male staff member began acting inappropriately.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Mariah said the man stared at them, asked for their phone numbers and queried their phone numbers. When Mariah’s friend left and she stayed at the hostel on her own, she said the man blocked her on a stairwell and told her to “pull her top up”.
“He said ‘you’re showing too much cleavage, it’s not appropriate,” she told BuzzFeed News.
“There were people in the landing and the lobby around to hear – it’s embarrassing for one, and not that I should have to explain it, but I wasn’t wearing anything provocative.”
Mariah said she was wearing a plain, V-neck top, with a plaid shirt of her boyfriend's over the top, paired with jeans and boots.
When she returned to her home in London, she made a formal complain to the hostel's manager, who assured her they would begin a formal investigation.
But shortly afterwards, the manager, Paul Benichou, responded and told her she was to blame for her own harassment.
"After investigation, I am really sorry to tell you that...it turns out that you were dressed provocatively with a plunging neckline," he wrote, in an email Mariah shared on Twitter.