No one wants to be assaulted at work

waitress

Photo by Pixabay

Sexual assault comes in many forms.

Of course, we all know what outright rape is, right? But what about all of the other forms and grades and shades of acting out in a sexual manner against another person? Are those assaults?

I was thinking about this when I read an Indianapolis Star story about an Indiana bar co-owner who banned a patron from his pub because the 60-year-old customer kept making sexual remarks to female staff members.

The man said his remarks would have been OK 20 years ago. But were they really? Or did men just think they were?

I’ve waited tables and have experienced many types of sexual behavior from patrons. When I was 16 years old, I was a junior waitress in a small-town restaurant. Being a junior waitress meant I did all of the other things the regular waitresses did, but I couldn’t carry alcohol to and from tables.

I can’t count the number of times men said or did sexual things to me. One man asked if I was “wearing underwear under that cute uniform.” Another grabbed my butt as I took the order of those at his table. Another patted me on the butt every time he came in. And yet another would lean back in his chair every time I squeezed by so his back brushed against my chest. And all of those things happened when I was 16!

I’m not happy with myself that I didn’t report all of those things to my boss. I’m sure he would’ve behaved like the above-mentioned bar co-owner. But I was afraid I would lose a job I desperately needed. My father had been laid off and I was literally helping pay the bills for a short time. (I didn’t mention those incidences to my dad either, so don’t blame him for anything here.)

People who wait tables are supposed to smile and be friendly, no matter what. Your tips depend on how you interact with the customer. And your tips are basically the majority of your pay. Besides, the customer is always right, right?

“… the dark side of this business is we run into some pretty horrible goblin people,” Black Acre Brewing Co. co-owner Jordan Gleason said in a Facebook post he wrote that has gone viral. “Folks who think that just because we’re serving, we don’t deserve any basic decency or respect…Here’s the thing though, women in this field get infinitely more disgustingly treated. The sheer number of times they get groped, or harassed, or treated like objects would blow your mind. The worst of it is how normal their harassers think their behavior is…

“Men, we often don’t see the level of filth that our friends, sisters, and mothers go through every day. We hope to surround ourselves with people who would never treat a woman like that. We live in a safe little bubble. But the reality of this thing? It’s an insidious disease that’s happening every single day…”

I’m so proud of this manager for standing up to this customer and for the female staff at his establishment.

It’s time for all men to stand up for women, stop treating us like objects and stop making unwanted sexual remarks and advances.

Don’t you agree?

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