“I am rising against it… I’m resisting the urge to downplay what happened to me by comparing it to worse situations. I’m making noise and I won’t stop until rape culture is stamped out.”

On Saturday night at Troika bar in Melbourne, a man grabbed me from behind, pinning my body against him while he groped my breasts. I broke away and ran back to my friends. We reported to the bar manager that another patron had just assaulted me and his response was “Yeah, I saw it. He’s just a bit drunk, she’s making a drama. Call the police if you want, we’re not doing anything about it”.

So the cause of the “drama” was not a man molesting a woman against her will, but the woman objecting to it.

The bar manager said he wouldn’t eject the guy because he was part of a large party that had booked to be there. The fact that he saw, did nothing, and then still did nothing once confronted about it shows how confident he has learned he can be in the face of these kinds of situations.

By refusing to take seriously what he saw with his own eyes – and let’s be honest here, even if he doesn’t think it’s a big deal to be groped by a stranger, the law on assault is pretty clear – he sent a strong message to me and the other women in our group.

The message was this: sexual assault is just part of life. Men grope women when they’re drunk. It’s a woman’s lot – get over it. I care more about the money I’m making from this group’s booking than I do about your physical integrity.

To be constantly subjected to “low level” violence like groping and cat-calling is to be constantly reminded that we are vulnerable, and that at any moment we could be overpowered and raped. These acts exist on a continuum of violence that serves to maintain the status quo where women live in fear.

The reality is that the bar manager can actively value his profits and reputation over the safety and wellbeing of his patrons because the status quo will support and protect him, and most people will be too underconfident in their own voices to rise against it.

Well, I am rising against it. The guy who assaulted me has been reported to the police, as has Troika bar. I am telling all my friends. I’m posting here. I’m resisting the urge to downplay what happened to me by comparing it to worse situations. I’m making noise and I won’t stop until rape culture is stamped out.

I've got your back!
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A note from your Hollaback! Melbourne team: following the huge response to this submission we have written a response which can be found here and addresses the main issues that have arisen as a result of the story.

Author:

59 Responses

Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments

  1. melbourne says:

    Hollaback! Melbourne thinks that you are AWESOME.

  2. Amy says:

    Great article, good on you for not “down playing” this sort of disempowering and constant harrassment.
    Speaking of, how do you feel about people calling up Trioka Bar and demanding that the manager on duty be fired for allowing a woman to be sexually assaulted? Maybe you could send this article to the local newspapers in an effort to have him dismissed?

    • melbourne says:

      Hi Amy! This post is an anonymous submission, and we agree – it is so excellently articulated it does feel like an article. It would be the poster’s decision whether she wishes to send this to local newspapers – if she does, she’ll have the official backing of Hollaback! Melbourne if she wants it.

      As for individuals taking action you can act in whatever way feels good for you. You could always call, ask to speak to the owner, tell the owner what you have heard and how unacceptable the manager’s behaviour was, and tell them that you will not be frequenting their premises and will discourage everyone you know from going there until they have educated their staff on how to deal with sexual assault while they’re on duty. If you wish to ask for his resignation that is entirely up to you.

      Hollaback! Melbourne feels strongly that individuals should take whatever action feels best for them personally – we all have different ways to tackle misogyny and inequality. And hey, if you call the bar let us know what their response is! I am very curious to know if this bar provides training to staff on sexual harassment or has any policies in place to protect it’s female patrons.

  3. Loren Jean says:

    It is brave wimmin like you who are making the way for a world free of rape. Your actions are powerful.

  4. Matt says:

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    Disgusting attitude from the TROIKA BAR in Little Lonsdale St. Putting $$$ before the safety of female patrons is an absolute embarrassment, I will never set foot in there again.

    • Ryan says:

      I’m with you, Matt. It really shits me to see blokes carry on like that. I just think that they are piss-weak and that they should hand in their man card immediately. He’s luck he didn’t get a bunch of 5s…seen it happen.

  5. Thatcherschild says:

    Troika Bar have a Facebook page – any thoughts of posting there?

  6. Brad says:

    I’m horrified to read your ‘article’. Horrified that you had to endure such an assault and I’m horrified that you have to resort to a public campaign to get justice. Woman creating a drama hey? I have a strong compulsion to use swear words but will refrain.

    I spent a day in court once, and there was a guy there convicted of slapping a policewoman on the bum. I felt the court did a good job of making him see why this behaviour is not acceptable. It was a very serious matter.

    You say the manager is negligent for not taking action. But I ask, what about all the other people who were in the bar that must have seen it? Didn’t they think to intervene? All those men, and none stood up to him? You mentioned group bookings – lots of other people. I’m so sorry.

    What you have endured at the hands of this drunk is far worse than a man slapping a policewoman’s bum (although that’s rather suicidal). To have your privates groped is not on for any reason, drunk of not. I’m very keen to see that you get your day in court, but I don’t know what help I can be other than publicising this article. I’m sorry you were assaulted. You shouldn’t have had to endure that. I’m very frustrated. Hugs.

  7. Richard says:

    Is there any chance that CC TV in the bar caught this?

  8. melbourne says:

    Wow, what overwhelming support for our submitter! Hollaback! Melbourne just wanted to clarify a few things.

    if you feel strongly about what has happened you can always take action – post on Troika Bar’s Facebook page, or share this story through your social media platforms, or call the bar and ask them about what sexual harassment training they provide the staff. Follow us on our Facebook page to keep up to date with what events we’re holding in Melbourne to protest street harassment – Hollaback! Melbourne. Rise up! Like our submitter has!

    We’re always cautious about providing advice to our submitters about what they should do in any given situation – our submitters should take whatever course of action feels best for them. Given our submitters passionate call to arms, Hollaback! Melbourne feels confident that she will pursue the matter – she has already reported it to the police!

    And finally, what Brad talks about is called the Bystander Effect or Genovese syndrome and becomes more prominent the more people are around. For some info on how you can be an awesome bystander you can check out http://melbourne.ihollaback.org/ive-got-your-back/

  9. Aby says:

    If you google Troika Bar, you can leave a review on the google search page for them.

    Their phone number, should anyone wish to call and explain that rape-culture is not acceptable, is 03 9663 0221.

  10. Liam says:

    Troika bar is listed on a number of online bar review sites. With relatively positive reviews. I plan on emailing a number of them with a link to this story and a request they remove the reviews as a stand against such a horrible display of Australia’s female oppressive culture. Power in numbers you all! Join me if you have a few minutes.

    • melbourne says:

      If you would like to – how about posting the sites you’ve written to here, so people can join you if they want to?

    • Robbie says:

      Just give them a negative vote and a reason – it’ll be retained, and people will be able to see the criticisms when they’re checking their smartphones for nearby pubs.

  11. Kristy says:

    This happened to me at a gig last week. No one stepped in to assist. I had to physically fight this guy off for over 10 minutes. I am an idiot for not calling the police. I will next time because I am responsible for letting this happen to me.

    Thank you for writing this. Peace and power to you. x

    • melbourne says:

      Hi Kristy! You aren’t an idiot at all. When you’re so strongly sent the message by everyone around you that it is no big deal – a message made clear when no one intervened – it’s natural to feel like maybe the police will dismiss it too. Don’t punish yourself for doing what felt right at the time. And you didn’t let it happen to you – you fought him off! He is responsible for his behaviour.
      Maybe you can report him now? There may have been similar incidents at the same place or they may have CC TV footage of people leaving the gig and you may be able to identify him. If you would like you can share your story with us – that way we can map where the harassment took place and warn others. And in my experience – venting feels AWESOME http://melbourne.ihollaback.org/share-your-story/

  12. Robbie says:

    While it’s not the greatest idea I’ve ever had, it’s possible to put reviews of their business up on G+ (https://plus.google.com/108593577939099566037/about?gl=au&hl=en) Yelp (http://www.yelp.com.au/biz/troika-bar-melbourne) and Truelocal (http://www.truelocal.com.au/business/troika-bar/melbourne). May serve to at least tell people who would not otherwise hear about it.

  13. Catty says:

    I’ve worked at on the door of a fair few clubs and let me tell you that every one of them would have kicked the guy out for doing that. Just thought I’d comment to show that this isn’t an attitude that is accepted in most venues. We take safety seriously, and it makes a lot more sense business-wise because losing a bit of money to get people like this out cant be compared to losing female patrons who don’t feel safe in the venue.

    • melbourne says:

      It’s really interesting to hear this Catty, and gives me hope that there are clubs out there who would respond appropriately – for both safety and business reasons.
      What’s interesting is that harassment like inappropriate touching, groping and comments happen to women so frequently when they go out – in all venues. Women are subconsciously sent the message that our bodies are public domain – which is reinforced by street harassment – that we often don’t report it. We’re told we’re overreacting, or that there wasn’t any real threat, or that it is an expected part of men being men/going out/dressing a certain way or some other type of perpetrator-excusing victim-blaming bullshit.
      That’s why it’s so awesome that our submitter is pursuing all avenues to get justice. And that all of you out there are supporting her. You know that you can report harassment that you may have seen, even if you didn’t feel able to act on what was happening, through Hollaback! Melbourne as well? The more reports we get the closer we are to presenting a solid case surrounding how serious and common harassment is to the state government, local councils and public transport authorities – and start getting some political action happening. There’s a ‘bystander’ option through our Share Your Story tab.

  14. stacey says:

    I see women get groped on the danceloor and in bars all the time. Wort part is nobody even bats an eye. Like this is normal behavior. Thank you for standing up and saying something.

  15. embilbie says:

    I recommend you find Troika Bar on online review sites (all of them) and warn people about this.

  16. Susanne says:

    Thanks for sharing – completely unacceptable response

  17. SteveS says:

    It may also be a breach of liquor licensing laws. If the bar manager stated that he saw the assault and thinks it was done because the customer was drunk then he should not be serving him any more alcohol.

  18. SteveS says:

    More on the liquor licensing issue.

    It’s run by Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

    This re serving or allowing on premises

    http://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/home/laws+and+regulations/standard+licence+obligations/serving+intoxicated+patrons/

    “Serving intoxicated patrons

    It is an offence for a licensee or permittee to supply liquor to a person in a state of intoxication, or to permit drunken or disorderly persons to be on the licensed premises, or on any authorised premises.

    A definition of intoxication is contained in the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act) section 3AB (1) states:

    For the purposes of this Act, a person is in a state of intoxication if his or her speech, balance, coordination or behaviour is noticeably affected and there are reasonable grounds for believing that this is the result of the consumption of liquor.”

    If the bar manager saw this behaviour and believed it to be due to intoxication then he has a duty here.

    I can see no online method to lodge a complaint. I am not in Victoria so perhaps someone there could write a formal complaint to this commision.

  19. Edith says:

    Thank you! I could not believe that one young dude thought it was okay to grab and squeeze my ass on the tram in St Kilda! I slapped him and I hope I tought him a lesson!

    • melbourne says:

      That’s brilliant Edith! Want to share your story with us? We love to publish people’s feisty responses to harassment (and any other response, really!). Also, if you decide to share your story with us let us know what tramline it was? There have been other assaults reported on trams around St Kilda. http://melbourne.ihollaback.org/share-your-story/

    • Jenny says:

      I was grabbed and groped after a night at the pub one night. Guy thought it was ok as we had shared a taxi back to the block I flats I lived in at the time (not in Melbourne though). I actually knew the guy (not well, but I did know him) as he worked with a couple of my mates that were my neighbours at the time. Pushed him off told him to get f***ed and went inside where my housemate went straight next door and told our mates. The guy was gone out of town the next day. God only knows what they woulda done to him if he stayed (they were gas pipeline workers). I’m just so glad I’ve always had such great supportive people around me. I also know that if this happened to me in Melbourne my boyf would probably be the one locked up for beating the crap outta this guy.

      • melbourne says:

        HI Jenny – thank you for telling us your story. And what awesome bystanders you have around you (though we would never encourage violence!). Every woman I’ve spoken to has these experiences in common, it’s a horrendously shared experience. If you would like to add your voice to the scores of others telling their stories and helping us campaign for an end to street harassment you can share your story at http://melbourne.ihollaback.org/share-your-story/ .
        PS If you do decide to do this – it doesn’t even matter that your harassment didn’t happen in Melbourne, just leave the location blank.

  20. Jo-Anne says:

    This behaviour is sexual assault and it is unlawful in that frame. Were any of the witnesses known to you? I would say it is worth calling the police and making an official statement.

    It is also unlawful for the bar to continue to serve alcohol and not eject someone who is so “obviously drunk” as the bar manager put it. So if you had more than one person witness that statement, it is definitely worth complaining to liquor licensing for an investigation. The bar from that point should have ejected the male on the basis of him being “too intoxicated” at an ABSOLUTE minimum.

    Basically, he was wrong, wrong and wrong. I don’t want to detract from rape culture AT ALL. Because it is wrong to do so. However, if the bar wants to play the drunk card, I say play it back, because they will be fined a substantial amount of money for allowing that behaviour under the “pretences” of drunken shenanigans.

    It will make them think twice before passing it off as drunken behaviour and next time that will treat it as a sexual assault, or risk a complaint that loses their license.

  21. Concerned says:

    I am a bit concerned.

    I have just heard from someone who was present working at the time that this account is skewed and not accurate. My source says the guy was ejected within 10 minutes AND reported to the cops.

    I have been actively pushing this out in social media based on the original account.

    ARE there any third parties without a vested interest in protecting the victim or the venue that can corroborate one way or the other?

    Make no mistake: I don’t think anything condones the guy’s behaviour, and I think the venue’s response has been lacking.

    But a fabricated account – or one of questionable legitimacy/accuracy – undermines the outrage somewhat.

    No-one should have to experience that intrusion/assault on a night out. But I am now unsure about the claim’s of the venue’s laxity.

    To repeat: I have a primary source, there throughout the incident, not involved directly but an observer to what was going on, who says this did not unfold in the way the OP has stated.

    • melbourne says:

      Hollaback! is not a place where we question the legitimacy/truth of a woman’s experience. Has it occurred to you that since the submitter has reported this to the police there may be details she cannot disclose? This is a space where women can share their stories about harassment and assault, experiences which are frequently dismissed as overreactions or lies or are discredited.

      It is up to the police to find third parties and determine what happened that night. This is a woman’s experience, one she has shared bravely and passionately, and we are not here to play judge and jury or question her account of events. Also, has it occurred to you that your ‘primary source’ may not have seen/heard/understood everything that happened? Why is your primary source’s interpretation of history more credible than this submitter’s first hand account?

      Our submitter’s experience is real. It happened to HER. She was assaulted and the manager did nothing. That is inexcusable. People can take action on her behalf based on those facts if they wish to do so. They have every right to.

      We are providing a platform for women to share experiences of harassment and assault which otherwise are not spoken about in the open. We operate based on the understanding that women tell the truth about these experiences – what is in it for us to lie?. We are providing a place for women to tell their truth, not a place for others to determine the truth.

      That is up to the police. Hollaback! Melbourne and more than 200 other people support this submitter and believe her. We’ve got her back. That is what this site is about. This is not the place for your doubts.

  22. Steve says:

    I hope you get justice, and that this kind of behaviour is stomped out of our culture one day.

    I also hope the accused are investigated fairly. I hope that the people suggesting to demand termination of this man’s employment, wait to see what the response is from authorities first, or at least ask for some shred of evidence before rallying the pitchforks.

    Good luck to you. I encourage people to stand against this behaviour on the spot, not just to rely on anecdotal evidence as absolute truth.

    • melbourne says:

      We doubt the bar will take any action against the manager in question until the police case is resolved – from what we’ve heard the culture of that bar is one which is dismissive of sexual assault and a deluge of feminist complaints is not likely to shift such a culture. I also doubt that in a low – profile case such as this the discussion on social media is unlikely to affect whether the accused is ‘investigated fairly’. I believe the police will have the facts and investigate impartially.

      What our submitter has done is highlight her individual experience with Troika Bar, and how they did not support her when she reported sexual assault. People have a right to be upset about that and activate on her behalf if they like. The police will not be trialling the bartender – they’ll be trialling the man who assaulted our submitter.

      Importantly – we are operating on the understanding that this woman’s submission is TRUE. See my response to the commenter above. What is in it for her to lie? Therefore people have every right to act on her behalf if they wish to do so. Rape culture is inexcusable. Not protecting female patrons in your venue is inexcusable.

      I think that by some ‘shred of evidence’ you mean this woman’s first hand account, and by ‘pitchforks’ you mean justice. Hollaback! Melbourne has not endorsed asking for the man to be fired – that is up to management and police. What is up to us is if we want to support this woman’s submission by taking her word as truth, and for some supporting her will mean acting on her behalf. And in that case, individuals take whatever action they deem appropriate for themselves.

      This woman’s ‘anecdotal evidence’ is HER TRUTH. Just FYI. And she did stand against this behaviour on the spot – if only others were willing to be great bystanders and intervene. And yes, we hope she gets justice too.

      • Steve says:

        Thanks for your reply, I do appreciate what this site is doing, I am merely suggesting people seek evidence before coming to a conclusion and setting out to destroy their reputation/ careers. I am not suggesting to not believe this girl, I encourage her support. Equally, every crime should be investigated thoroughly from an objective viewpoint.

        By “rallying the pitchforks” I refer to mob-mentallity. By “shred of evidence” I imply a fair investigation. Action on the spot- I am referring to bystanders who did nothing.

        • melbourne says:

          Hi Steve! We appreciate the support. The matter at hand really is the bar’s treatment of our submitter, and as to finding ‘evidence’ that is of a legal standing – I doubt it exists. But we have her word, and the person she was with has corroborated this with the police – that she was told, by the bar manager “Yeah, I saw it. He’s just a bit drunk, she’s making a drama. Call the police if you want, we’re not doing anything about it”.

          I think it’s impossible to objectively view the situation – but if we are going to believe our submitter, and her story was backed up by others and has been reported to the police, then we know she was treated unfairly by Troika Bar.

          And again I ask – what is in it for her to lie? Why would she use a small grassroots local activist organisation like Hollaback! Melbourne to lie? That wouldn’t make any sense.

          Also the claims about her being of the same party/she knew the guy/he was ejected immediately were cleared up in my response to Sharyn in the comments below, after I spoke with our submitter this morning. People who were there have either misinterpreted the situation or seen something different entirely. After she was dismissed by the bar manager she left the bar immediately, it is entirely possible he may have assaulted someone from his own group also and then been ejected/ or that the bar manager changed his mind and ejected him ten minutes later.

          All we have above is her experience, which is her truth. I understand concerns about ‘witch hunts’ and the such, but I don’t think they’re valid here – we have seen a complete lack of duty of care from the bar manager and that is the real issue.

          The real issue is that by dismissing her concerns and excusing his assault this bar is sanctioning street harassment, which is a gateway crime. It is playing in to a culture of accepting violence against women. That is what this discussion should be about – not who saw what.

          Thanks for your response Steve, and for your support of our submitter.

  23. Jason says:

    I left a message on Troika Bar FB page. Suggested Bar manager grow a pair – and referred them to http://myoath.com.au/
    This sort of reprehensible behaviour by BOTH the dirtbag who assaulted, AND the filth who made light of it is NOT acceptable. Real men don’t accept, condone or fail to intervene against, any forms of violence against women.

  24. sharyn says:

    i think the self-righteousness needs to be toned down a fair bit here before more than one innocent person’s livelihood and reputation are destroyed — for the benefit of those who weren’t in the bar at the time — and i’m pretty sure none of you were — let’s actually have some truth!

    I can’t believe that “melbourne” claims that hollaback is “not a place where we question the legitimacy/truth of a woman’s experience” — really — your inference then is that hollaback is a venue for unrestrained libel with no thought to the consequences — as a woman that contention disgusts me even when taken in this context

    here’s what happened on saturday — i know because i was there ….

    two people – a man and a woman – who were part of the same post-wedding party on their 2nd or 3rd venue – came into dispute while standing at the bar but out of direct site of the two barstaff – the woman accused the man of groping her and the man denied any such action

    the barstaff couldn’t take direct action as they had not witnessed the event – however as the “he said – she said” escalated the man was asked to leave — that’s right people — the man was kicked out!! so what’s the problem then? well – the woman and the rest of the wedding group – of which the accused groper was a part – continued to get more and more “upset” until eventually the entire group was asked to leave and the bar had to be closed early

    if a complaint was to be made to the police it was the responsibility of the “complainant” – not a staff member who hadn’t seen anything – and if she believed she had been assaulted then – damn yes – she should have called the police — if only someone from her own group had been willing to support her claim or intervene it might have been different — but no-one did — this is two people in the same group having an argument that other members of their group dismissed as drunken carryon — so what is a complete outsider – who didn’t even see what happened – expected to be able to do that the parties to the event wouldn’t do themselves?

    and before anyone feels like getting even more self-righteous on me about the above statement — i’m talking specifically in relation to saturday night — you don’t know what my broader feelings are on the issue and i’m not inclined to discuss them in this sort of environment.

    • melbourne says:

      Hello Sharyn,

      My name is Alanna and I’m the Director of Hollaback! Melbourne.

      There are a few points in your comment I am going to address personally. And a disclaimer, I have edited out parts of your comment which are overly insulting and rude to the submitter or negatively impact upon the tone of the discussion we are trying to have around street harassment.

      1. The commenter ‘melbourne’ is the official Hollaback! Melbourne. As such, our ‘self-righteousness’ comes from a place of having exhaustively researched street harassment, having a background in feminist theory, and having a history of activism against violence against women. We are certainly not self-righteous’ out of ignorance or rabid passion.

      2. Hollaback! Melbourne has not given definitive guidance to any of the other commenters who are supporting our submitter’s story. What they do is independent of us. The submitter has made a call for action – and people have responded. She has made this call across multiple platforms, and individuals are discussing it via the Hollaback! forum. It is important that everyone understand that the actions of the individual are separate from the actions of Hollaback!

      3. What Hollaback! Melbourne does, and the entire Hollaback! movement which is in more than 50 cities around the world, is provide a unique space for women to tell their experiences of harassment and assault in a supportive and understanding environment. That is the goal of Hollaback! – to create a community for women where we are bolstered by others support, and where we can discuss in a safe environment the experiences we are subject to at the hands of harassers. It would be well worth commenters having a good look around the site and understand what Hollaback! is trying to do before they comment. It therefore follows that ANY comments which negatively impact the creation of such an environment are unwelcome.

      4. Based on the aims of Hollaback! – and the knowledge that street harassment is the most common form of gender based violence and is the least reported – we take our submitters at their word. The stories our submitters submit may not fit your definition of ‘truth’ – but what someone experiences is true for them. There can be multiple interpretations of the same event, with multiple factors influencing what people see and how they interpret it. This submission is this woman’s truth, and it’s not up to any of us to question it. It is up to the police to make a legal judgement of what occurred, and for our submitter and her harasser to have their own ‘truths’ about what happened.

      5. There are significant discrepancies between your version of events and what our submitter experienced – she wrote that she was out with a small group of friends, independent of the large group. You claim the man and woman were part of the same wedding party. This leads me to believe that you may have witnessed something completely different entirely, or misinterpreted what happened. Especially since, based on information I have received but that we are unable to publish due to legal proceedings, you clearly do not have the full version of what occurred afterwards – which also does not match up with your version of events. Many of your ‘facts’ are incorrect – the submitter did indeed report it to the police, and her story has been backed up by others. And I ask you, what would her motivation be in lying? What does she stand to gain? Especially if she knew this man, as you are so quick to claim.

      6. It is not up to us to be judge and jury – you talk of the ‘innocent’ lives of the bartenders. If they really did nothing wrong, why not have confidence that the police will come to that conclusion and that they will be fine? Additionally, they have not been personally named. Why not look at it from the other side – if you did misinterpret what you saw (and I AM going to question your version of the truth since you have no problem discrediting other people’s stories) what about the innocent woman who was assaulted and then received no support from the venue. Does she not then have a right to take action and let others know what happened to her? And do this people then not have the right to take action in a way that is empowering to them?

      6. As to the accusation of ‘libel’ – Hollaback! Melbourne is well aware of defamation laws in Australia, and for it to be libel it has to determined untrue. Also, this concerns a business not an individual – if you wrote a negative review about on experience on Yelp or some other review site you would just be sharing your experience in a public venue/business. Since our submitter reported it to the police and was assured by them (I know this because I have spoken to her) that it was ok to name the bar in question on social media and Hollaback!, we are not concerned about libel. Also this is a local, not a national matter, and therefore it is unlikely to significantly impact the long term prospects of Troika bar. We are also not concerned about the ‘consequences’ because we stand behind the submitter and believe her. I put it to you – what are the consequences if we DON’T speak out about harassment?

      Now, we are trying to re-orient the discussion to one of support for the submitter (which is what Hollaback! Melbourne does) instead of a perpetuating this discussion which revolves around attempting to ascertain the ‘truth’.That is a matter for the police – as we have said multiple times. Therefore comments which are overly negative, victim blaming, question the validity of the submitters story, or imply that the submitter is lying about her experience will NOT be published.

      We stand behind our submitter, we’ve got her back. Rise up against harassment – tell us your story.

      PS. As a woman it disgusts ME that you don’t believe other women when they speak out about gender based violence.

      • sharyn roberts says:

        it’s too late at night for me to go into all your points – however…

        the guy was kicked out – that’s what nobody seems to understand

        • melbourne says:

          Hi Sharyn,

          Our submitter left the bar after she was told, by the bar manager “Yeah, I saw it. He’s just a bit drunk, she’s making a drama. Call the police if you want, we’re not doing anything about it”. He may have assaulted someone else afterwards and been thrown out. Or possible after a few minutes the bar manager realised how wrong he was, and then had him ejected. But I have spoken with our submitter and I can assure you he was not thrown out on her request/on her behalf.

          The point is that the bar manager did not support her – that Troika Bar does not act instantly to protect it’s female patrons. That they were dismissive. Our submitter was harassed and then dismissed by the establishment – she has a right to activate people on her behalf and raise awareness about how Troika Bar handles harassment, and how they respond to women who are harassed.

          • Debra says:

            Hollaback-Your clarity in discussing these matters is so impressive. Excellent work!

          • melbourne says:

            Thanks Debra!

          • Nonrev says:

            Regardless of whether this assault was witnessed or not by Troika staff, the Troika Bar has a duty of care to ensure that its patrons behave in an appropriate manner. They displayed negligence at the time, and should have taken action then, not ten minutes later.
            Elsewhere in these posts are references to other bars where women have been assaulted. Perhaps this website could “name and shame”, and publish a list of “bruiser bars” where groping is implicitly condoned, or at least get woman who have been groped to tell all their woman friends to avoid these places at all costs.
            It is well known that these places rely on a large female contingent to survive. If these bars eventually expire because of a lack of female patronage, and are driven out of business, then this will send a strong message to the industry that these types of assaults will not be tolerated.

          • melbourne says:

            Hello Nonrev, thanks for your comment.

            It certainly would send a strong message if that happened – but we certainly don’t want to drive anyone out of business. We would like those bars/pubs/clubs which are unwittingly promoting a culture which makes women unsafe to examine their actions and actively work to educate staff and make sure they promote a space where women feel encouraged to report assault. Hollaback! Melbourne doesn’t actively launch boycott campaigns, but in this particular instance people felt strongly and activated on her behalf. Also, when something like this happens and goes viral the cultural pressure may send a strong enough message to businesses.

            The purpose of Hollaback! Melbourne is not really to name and shame – rather we just provide a place for women to tell their stories about harassment, which can be both cathartic and empowering. If it is important to our submitters to tell where their experience happened because it is relevant – which has happened in only a handful of submissions – then that is of course fine. We never name individuals (unlikely to happen anyway because street harassment is perpetrated by strangers) but we name businesses because it is a women’s rights and public health issue.

  25. e says:

    Thanks for writing this post…

    I was just talking to my husband last night about how sick I am of this kind of attitude towards women.

    I am an attractive woman in the most boring and obvious way. Blonde hair, big boobs, even face, blah blah. Everywhere I go, people, and particularly men, stare at me as though I am an object for their sexual consumption.

    It’s disgusting and quite honestly, it makes me not want to leave the house.

    For a short time, a couple of years ago, I put on some weight (about 15 kilograms) in recovery from joint surgery. An unexpected side-effect was that I wasn’t harrassed as much as I used to be (not stared at as unflinchingly, not yelled out at, not followed as much).

    It was great. Then I lost the weight again when I returned to my normal level of physical activity and now the harrassment is back. It’s awful knowing what it feels like to not be subjected to it (as much) for a little while, and then having to go back to how it was before.

    It makes me want to put the weight back on (and compromise my health) just to be able to go out and do anything without constantly feeling like I’m being watched… assessed… objectified.

    All this adds up to something I’d like to say to men: looking, glancing briefly, checking someone out is fine. We all do it, people are attracted to other people and this is a highly visual process. I get it. I do it to.
    BUT… there is a huge difference between glancing at someone, and staring, unabashed at them, making them feel like an object under your assessment for consumption.

    Try to remember that women are people, not just objects to be fucked. Women have human consciousness – even the boringly pretty blonde ones – and they fucking hate to be made to feel like this. Just as you would.

    • melbourne says:

      What a fascinating and upsetting experience e, thank for sharing it with us, and if you would like you can submit it at http://melbourne.ihollaback.org/share-your-story/ , I’m sure there lots of women who can relate. A quick note – women experience harassment across the board – it’s what is so remarkable about street harassment. It occurs across all cultures, against all different ethnicities and physical appearances. What street harassment all has in common is that it is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men, against women. I’ve been different weights over the years – and I get harassed at all of them. Crazy.

  26. Cammie says:

    I think it’s a really important point that women who are overweight, not blonde, not white and not even faced are also harassed.

  27. Paddy says:

    The key concern for the bar was not your right to be safe from sexual assault but to make money from a large group of drunks. The only way to sort them out is to do exactly what you have done, go public and punish them in the only way they will understanding, their wallets.

  28. [...] To be constantly subjected to “low level” violence like groping and cat-calling is to be constantly reminded that we are vulnerable, and that at any moment we could be overpowered and raped. These acts exist on a continuum of violence that serves to maintain the status quo where women live in fear. [Hollaback Melbourne] [...]

  29. Jon says:

    This makes me filthy mad. Won’t be going to Troika again.

  30. [...] of the controversy that occurred afterwards you can read her moving call to arms and the comments here. So how did this story become so public? Well our submitter activated all her social media [...]

  31. matt J says:

    i used to work in a bar in melbourne (which i wont name here) and intervened in a situation of violence that was very close to being serious physical assault on a female patron Luckily the man was ejected from the venue at my say so by security and with the woman’s permission the next day i was called into my manager’s office and told that ejecting patrons is “not my job” and “it is the role of security” let’s get this straight, i didn’t hit, restrain or so much as raise my voice, i simply asked the male what was going on and if the female was alright and separated the two whilst calling security. The manager told me that if i did something like that again (stand up for a female patron) i’d be fired. so i quit because that shit is absolutely appaling and such a blight on our bar culture in melbourne and a disgusting example of violence towards women. With that in mind i am not at all surprised the incident at Troika bar occurred and the manager’s stance on it. I fully support the OP and indeed any woman who stands up to culture in this way. THey have my complete and utter support.
    ps.. Troika bar are in violation of their liquor licensing laws if they allowed a drunk and disorderly person to remain on premises even prior to this incident.

    • melbourne says:

      That is AMAZING bystander intervention, Matt J. What a great example of doing the right thing, despite your management’s attitude. I hope you’re proud of yourself – we certainly are!

  32. Phil says:

    In a few years time my daughter will be going to clubs in Melbourne. The awareness that there are still men with attitudes like those discussed here running those clubs is of great concern. And knowing that patrons are likely to simply stand around without intervening is no comfort either.

    Surely we’ve made some progress in the years since I used to go out to clubs? Seems to me like we might have gone backwards!

    All power to Hollaback! in providing a place for women to speak out about such treatment.

  33. Carol says:

    What can we expect in a country where the alternative PM is a machismo, posturing, musclebound Catholic with his policy foot firmly on the throats of women everywhere?

    What can we expect when a supremely competent woman is harassed every day in Parliament, pelted with mud by the Murdoch press and held accountable for the alleged crimes of her boyfriend from 20 years ago?

    What happened in the Troika Bar is a metaphor for what is happening to women all across Australia. When the new Pope is installed and Abbott’s hotline to the Vatican is ringing off the hook with instructions (“Remember, Tony, the only good women are nuns”)to keep women down, the groping, physical and political, will only get worse.

    I did not know about this site, but I love it now. Thank God we still have The Age in Melbourne, which shares our values and highlights a shocking story like this one.

  34. Andy says:

    Good on you Hollaback. Troika’s Facebook response mentions how shocked and devastated they are at the public response with no mention of this poor girl whose story they are happy to cast doubt over. If ‘sexual assault is a serious matter in our community’ then bars have to accept they are PART of the community. It’s not just a matter for police, it’s a matter for all of us. If the owner ‘couldn’t stomach anyone else being hurt’ he acknowledges that this girl was hurt, in which case he should of called the cops himself, or just thrown the guy out. You dont need empirical evidence or a full scale investigation to ask a drunk person to leave a bar. If a woman says shes been groped, she has. End of story.

    I would of liked to see Troika take some responsibility here, even if only to say they would look into staff responses to these kind of situations. Not just a story of how devastated they and the customers whose party was ruined are. Shame.

  35. [...] We really believe women should be able to feel safe. All the time. The hollaback movement wants you to know that you have the power to end street harassment. [...]

  36. [...] the controversy over Troika Bar and the young woman who received no help from a bar manager after she reported an indecent [...]

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