A manager of the Sydney bar who brought a married man to court after slapping her at work on the bum has spoken out.
Annabel Bassil, 22, worked at a bar in the Sutherland Shire last August when she was slapped on her bottom by the 41-year-old as she went by.
Since being caught on CCTV, the incident, which she said had “a knock-on effect” on her mental health and self-worth, sparked a legal battle for years.
It ended on August 13, when the man pleaded guilty to the common assault and had no reported conviction – an experience characterised by Ms Bassil as “embarrassing” to him as “clearly remorseful.”
“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.”
While it was a “spur of the moment action” for him, it went on to hugely affect Ms Bassil’s life.
“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,” she said.
“It also caused me to imagine this guys face wherever I went and I generally felt uncomfortable in my workplace.”
As a result, Ms Bassil wanted to take legal action, but her decision was attacked by people she met that she felt was “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.”
She went on to say that having worked in the hospitality industry for five years, she was no stranger to being “constantly objectivised,” noting that on many occasions she and several other female bar staff had been told they would “look prettier if we smile.”
“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’,” she said, explaining it was normal for a customer to behave as if “your sole purpose of being there is to be something nice to look at”.
“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.
“And 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,” she added.