Aussie Hospitality Workers Are Uniting To Fight Sexual Harassment

Elizabeth Flux, Junkee

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Sometimes it’s a comment — “you look like a princess sitting there”. Sometimes it’s insistence on getting personal information out of you — “you don’t look like you’re from here — where are you from?” Other times it’s unwanted physical contact. Or a follow-up on previous unreciprocated behaviour — “you’re still here princess? I should buy you a crown.” And some of the time, it’s worse. Usually, however, your response is to smile politely, and extract yourself from the situation as soon as possible — without seeming unfriendly of course.

If you speak to any hospitality worker, they’ll have a story. About a creepy customer. About a time they felt unsafe. About a time they were treated more as an object than as a person. It’s an odd thing, how sexual harassment has somehow become accepted as something that is now just part of working in the hospitality industry. But, in a field where power hierarchy is essential and “the customer is always right”, it makes an ugly sort of sense.

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Sexual harassment is a huge problem in our industry. But by coming together we can change the culture this industry and make sure we feel safe and respected when we go to work. Join dozens of other hospo workers in leading this campaign to make #RespectIsTheRule in every venue: