Sydney bar manager Annabel Bassil has revealed why she took a customer to court who slapped her on the bottom during her shift.
Bassil, 22, was working at a pub in the Sutherland Shire last August when a 41-year-old married man slapped her bottom as she walked past. She was left in tears and feeling “violated” by the incident.
The man was thrown out of the bar and the police were called. The next day Bassil made a formal police complaint.
She has spent the past year seeking justice for the effect the incident – which was caught on CCTV – had on her mental health and self worth.
The man pleaded guilty to common assault on August 13 and had no conviction recorded.
“Almost exactly a year ago, while I was working in a pub, a male customer smacked me on my bum,” she wrote in a public post on Facebook.
“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.
“This event had a knock on affect 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.”
Bassil said her decision drew criticism from men she knew who thought she was being “over dramatic”.
“I had a number of males around me imply that they thought I was over reacting and wasting my time which only made this situation more overwhelming,” she explained.
“At the end of the day, 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.”
Bassil said the legal process was lengthy and “exhausting” and described the man who assaulted her in the bar as “clearly remorseful” about his actions.
“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.
Bassil also revealed she had been “constantly objectified” during her five years in the hospitality industry.
“I have worked in hospitality since I was 17 and have dealt with my fair share of customers,” she explained.
“I have met some amazing people both co-workers and customers through this, but unfortunately there have been downsides. Pubs can be a tough place to work in, especially for a female. 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 to ‘male managers’.”
She concluded by saying: “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.”
Pictured main: Basil (right) having a celebratory drink after an “exhausting day in court”.