A young bar manager was slapped by a married father of two, and she took him to court. She claims that the incident impacted her self-worth and believes that her mental health has declined.
Annabel Bassil, 22, was working her shift in Sydney's pub in Sutherland Shire. A 41-year-old man was walking by and slapped her bum.
She said she was left shaken, in tears and feeling "violated" by the incident, which was caught on CCTV.
Annabel didn't know him:
"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."
"What do you even say to that? In his mind, it was justified."
The police threw the man out, and Ms. Basill made a formal complaint regarding the matter the following day.
The case from last summer is finally settled
After over a year, Basill and the married father of two met again, this time in courtroom.
The man pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault. He explained that he was excited after learning that his NRL Team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, had won.
The defense asked the young bar manager whether or not it was her handheld radio hanging on her waist, which felt most of the man's hand.
She explained to ABC:
"That's not the point. The point is that he did it. I did nothing that meant he could do that."
The man was found guilty, though he was only given a section 10 dismissal.
Despite the lack of punishment, Annabel seemed pleased:
"He was clearly remorseful about this spur of the moment action, and for him, it has cost him a year of lawyers fees, as well as the embarrassment of his own behavior."
"From the way that he behaved in court, I could tell that he knew he was in the wrong, and for me, that was enough."
The wife took her husband's side
One thing made things worse, and it's most likely the reason why the bar manager felt as if her mental health is under threat.
After the disturbance, the man's wife approached her, demanded that she not "do anything stupid" since he had "just [been] having fun."
As Basill explained to the media:
"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."
"It also caused me to imagine this guy's face wherever I went, and I generally felt uncomfortable in my workplace."
The brave young woman's been working in the industry since she was 17. She said that it's tough to be a woman in hospitality.
Annabel gave a fantastic message to all women out there, facing objectification every day:
"We are constantly objectified, told that we would 'look prettier if we smile' and that because you poured them a beer, you owe them something and that your sole purpose of being there is to be something nice to look at.
"As a female manager, I was exposed to multiple male customers in disbelief that they would consider leaving a female in charge and that they would only speak to 'male managers.'"
"I had several males around me imply that they thought I was overreacting and wasting my time, which only made this situation more overwhelming."
Bassil received appreciation over the workplace assault case
Annabel received an "amazing response" from many women from the industry. One woman wrote on Facebook:
"It happened to me when I was a waitress at about 20 years old. It just felt so gross to be violated like that."
"A man did that to me many years ago when I was walking through a bar. I was very offended."
Meanwhile, third woman posted:
"This happened to me many times over the years, and it is really awful."
"It makes you scared to walk past men."
Australian Human Rights Commission found that 39% of women face sexual harassment in the workplace. Annabel's step might seem small, but it's clearly a step in the right direction!