It’s become a topic that’s been discussed more and more often in society: the harassment of women in public spaces, often by the men around them.
Recently, a U.K. study was published that showed 70% of women experience sexual harassment from men in public spaces. While this stat shocked some, more many women it was just reaffirming of our experiences.
Women In The Service Industry Experience Extreme Levels Of Harassment
Sexual harassment can happen in any workplace, but it is especially prevalent in the service industry.
Female servers and bartenders are often forced to endure harassment from customers in order to get tips.
Customer Service Can Be Dangerous For Women
So much of a customer service job involves being friendly and likable.
However, the disposition women must use in customer service leads some men to misinterpret them doing their jobs as an invitation to make inappropriate advances toward them.
One Woman On Twitter Decided To Share A Specific Experience
It’s all too common, right?
This woman was just doing her job, taking care of her workspace, and trying to prepare to close the bar when a male customer decided to inappropriately grab her.
She Reacted In A Very Calm Way
As a woman, I understand the terror and shock that comes from being unexpectedly touched or grabbed by a strange man in a public space: the way you freeze up and your mind kind of goes blank in panic.
She did a marvelous job de-escalating the situation.
However, Her Male Coworker Had Some Criticism
She probably recounted the story hoping to get some empathy from her male coworker who instead decided to chide her for her decision.
In his opinion, using subtle tactics to de-escalate the situation was manipulative.
Her Male Coworker Was Maybe Well-Intentioned, But Out Of Touch
Sure, in a perfect world, she could have just pushed the guy away.
However, as most women understand, being abrasive in response to his harassment could have led the man to react violently and put her in an even more dangerous situation.
She Ended Up, In Ways, Blaming Herself
Even after facing harassment from a man, women are often shamed about how they “invited it” through their clothes, friendliness, etc., which is a load of crap.
Unfortunately, this woman was left feeling somehow at fault for her own harassment.
She Considers Herself Lucky
Despite going through an experience that was traumatizing and affected the way she interacted with other customers, how safe she felt going to and leaving work, and generally just existing as a woman, she feels lucky.
The reality is that women who were just existing in public have experienced much more violent ends at the hands of men who were harassing them.
She Sympathized With Women Who’ve Had Similar Experiences
The truth is, even when harassment only lasts a few seconds to a minute, the effects can last for years.
And she’s right: people deserve better than to feel like it’s simply a victory to survive an instance of harassment.
Women In The Comments Were Supportive
In contrast to her coworker years ago, women in the comments commended her for her quick thinking in a dangerous situation and called her brave for the way she handled everything.
In the end, the best thing we can do for this woman and for every woman is to make instances of harassment less acceptable and stop blaming women when they experience it.