Publicly sexually harassed at a conference
New submission from Blair Barnette
Blair is a Londoner who recently reached out to Hollaback to share her story after being harassed at an event in the Netherlands. Her story demonstrates how normalized and ignored harassment can be, even in a professional setting. Thank you for sharing your story, Blair.
I wanted to send you this message. I recently was sexually harassed very publicly, sat on it for a couple of days and then posted on Facebook to see what others might have done differently, or what they felt. I wanted to share my experience with other women, especially since we had a video I could ‘narrate’. After mixed feedback, I was encouraged to tag the company on social media. About 24 hours later someone from the company who hired the man who groped me posted and issued a disclaimer and apology, but referring to me in the third person and seeming to challenge the fact that they were informed immediately ‘on the day’. They have not contacted me directly whatsoever, just copied and pasted the same disclaimer on all 3 public threads where the video is posted. I’ve waiting another 24 hours to see if anyone else would follow up but nothing. I don’t feel they are taking responsibility and I’m not satisfied. It’s not good enough.
Mainly, I highly doubt, with the 50,000 people that attended this 4 day convention, that I was the only woman affronted in the same manner by this man at this display. I can’t believe that mine would be the only time it happened as his routine is so rehearsed, obviously part off his ‘shtick’, which I’m sure they reviewed before employing him. I can’t believe that nobody noticed this happen at all, being that it was on over 40 separate monitors and cameras within their stall displaying at all all times.
This guy is just getting away with it and this company is not taking the situation seriously. I would have expected some kind of positive action in the reverse, a pendulum swing in the other direction to balance out the crappy thing that just happened. They need to be shown doing something proactive and deliberate as an organisation to prevent these things from happening or at least bringing awareness.
At the very least I would have expected a phone call.
Instead, I get what I feel is a brush off. I’m not trying to be ‘that woman’, an angry feminist, but really, why shouldn’t I be angry. Why should I just slink away?
I think more attention needs to be made socially as maybe with more pressure they will give a better HR response. Will you help me?
Thanks for reading!