16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence
Hospitality Industry and Young Women
Being a young woman in today’s society is not easy. There are pressures from the media, society, friends and family… we don’t get a break!! The biggest driver is the media, making society think it’s acceptable to look at young women in a certain way. From the age of 16 till now being in my early 20’s I have been put in situations that could have been prevented if the media put forward a different view of women.
In my first hospitality job in a hotel when I was 18 years old my boss asked me to take a tray of shots around a function. This function was mainly middle aged men and women who I thought did not seem too intoxicated. I went to two tables, the first were not interested in the slightest. The second table seemed to take a liking to me with a man – who was old enough to be my dad, possibly even my grandad – deciding he wanted to take the full tray. His reason, I was a gorgeous girl who deserved to look good to her manager. While saying this he thought it was acceptable to put his hand round my waist and pull me in close to him. As soon as I got his money I quickly ran back behind the bar feeling ashamed and violated. My female manager was pleased that I had sold all the shots and asked me to go out and do it again. I told her what happened to me and said I didn’t want to go back out because I didn’t feel comfortable. Much to my dismay her response was that I had to go back out because I would make the hotel money. At this point I didn’t know what to do, I did not want to go back out into the function and be touched and spoken to inappropriately by hotel guests to please my manager. Thankfully, the male bar manager who I was friendly with told me not to go back out and I would be behind the bar for the rest of the night and he would be there with me as much as he could.
While still working in the same hotel, another year older and during another function, a similar incident happened. Towards the end of the night, a middle-aged man and his friend came up to the bar to get drinks for their table. They came with instructions to get a drink for each person then spend the rest of the kitty money on the cheapest shots we had to offer. Upon figuring out the how many shots they could get, I grabbed a tray and set up shot glasses and began to pour the shots. Whilst pouring the shots the man paying starting asking my age, where I stayed, if I had a boyfriend, what I do outside of work. Needless to say I lied while answering most, except my age to which I replied “19, young enough to be your daughter.” But this didn’t seem to faze him or his drunken mind. He asked if I would go to his hotel room with him after my shift finished and that he would wait in the hotel lobby for me. I politely declined the offer, to which he replied that he would still be waiting in the lobby for me finishing. I once again spoke to my female manager about my concerns. Her reply, “play along with it, it will get you more tips at the end of the day.” Once again I was extremely shocked at her response especially since the man said he was going to wait for me finishing my shift. I yet again went to my male bar manager who told me to stay with him until I finished and that he would make sure I got to my car safely. Still to this day I am extremely shocked that a manager and fellow woman would think it’s acceptable for men to treat women in such a way and not have the safety and interests of her employees first and foremost.
After this happening I decided that I would not let anyone else treat me this way regardless of who they were. I was no longer being a doormat to chauvinistic, cave men who did not respect women. We are in the 21st century after all!! Women are now managers, world leaders, getting into male dominated jobs and breaking the glass ceiling. Why should men still view us as feeble women who need men to get us through our lives?
If you have been affected by any form of sexual violence, you can get help from the following organisations:
Police Scotland: Call 101 to talk to a specialist officer and report the crime.