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Sydney woman ‘smacked on bum’ at work in bar wins case

1 month ago 13

A Sydney bar manager who took a married man to court after he slapped her on the bum at work has spoken out.

Annabel Bassil, 22, was working at a pub in the Sutherland Shire last August when the 41-year-old slapped her on her bottom as she walked past.

The incident, which she said had “a knock-on affect” on her mental health and self worth, sparked a year-long legal battle after it was caught on CCTV.

It came to an end on August 13 when the man pleaded guilty to common assault and had no conviction recorded – an ordeal Ms Bassil described as “embarrassing” for him as he was “clearly remorseful”.

Now Ms Bassil has spoken out publicly about the moments leading up to the assault in the hope it highlights the downsides of women working in pubs and brings change in the industry.

“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 effect 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 decided to pursue legal action, but said her decision faced criticism from males 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.”

She went on to explain that having worked in the hospitality industry for five years, she was no stranger to being “constantly objectified”, adding she and many other female bar workers had been told on countless occasions 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”.

Ms Bassil said the legal process was lengthy and “exhausting” and described the man who assaulted her 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.

She finished her post by calling on the “good guys” to look out for other women and make sure they are never made to feel “uncomfortable by a customer”.

“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 said. has contacted Ms Bassil for further comment.

Since sharing her story, there has been an outpouring of support for Ms Bassil online, with Twitter users praising her “courageous stand”.

“Thank you for taking a stand Annabel Bassil – Sydney bar manager who took man to court for slapping her bottom says she hopes for change,” one person wrote.

“Well done Annabel Bassil. I hope you are getting plenty of support,” another said.

While a third added: “Big shout out to Annabel Bassil for taking a courageous stand against this type of harassment.”

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | [email protected]

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