A bar manager in Australia has spoken out after being slapped on the bum by a married man.
Annabel Bassil, 22, was working at a pub in the Sutherland Shire, Sydney, when a 41-year-old man slapped her rear as she walked past him.
The incident was captured on CCTV last August, prompting a drawn-out legal battle between Bassil and the man – which eventually came to a close when he pleaded guilty to common assault and had no conviction recorded on 13 August.
In a public Facebook post, Bassil shared her experience and how it has impacted her life since.
She recalled: “Almost exactly a year ago, while I was working in a pub, a male customer smacked me on my bum.
“I had had no previous interaction with this customer, he simply walked in, saw me and hit me, to which he attempted to justify by saying that it was fine because he had a wife.”
Bassil, who has worked in the hospitality industry for five years, continued: “This event had a knock on effect on me questioning my worth and caused my mental health to deteriorate, as well as it leading me to really dislike working in a pub which was all I had done since I was 17.
“It also caused me to imagine this guy’s face wherever I went and I generally felt uncomfortable in my workplace.”
But while the incident severely affected Bassil’s day-to-day life, she said some people were critical of her for deciding to pursue legal action, adding that ‘a number of males’ around her felt she was ‘overreacting’ and wasting her time.
“No one has the right to tell me how I should feel or react, and just because this could have been worse, it was still wrong,” she added.
Bassil said she was used to being ‘constantly objectified’ at work and that female bar workers are often told they would ‘look prettier’ if they smiled, while many people also refuse to take managers seriously if they are female.
She said: “Remember if a girl smiles at you, pours you a beer or tells you to ‘have a good day’, this does not mean she wants your number, to sleep with you or even engage in a conversation with you and it absolutely in no way means that you can touch her.”
Bassil said the long-winded legal process had been ‘exhausting’, but that the man who assaulted her was ‘clearly remorseful’.
“From the start, I wasn’t aiming for a specific outcome for him, as long as he was found guilty and he realised it was wrong, which I hope he now understands,” she said.