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I woke Sunday morning with a clear idea of what I wanted to write about for this blog; I’d had a bit of an annoying family happening the night before that I wanted to vent about, but things don’t always go to plan and a text from my friend yesterday afternoon got me so riled that I completely changed my mind and decided to tackle a different subject instead.

The text

So what was this text? My friend and I had been texting away and I remembered she’d had her work Christmas do earlier in the week – so I asked how it went. “Yeah good thanks, although I think there was a competition to see who could touch my arse the most. Really Awkward!”

WOAH – WHAT?

Let me just clarify this to one and all, THIS IS NOT OK.

Anything that involves touching someone in an inappropriate way and making them uncomfortable – is not OK. I don’t care what gender is involved in the scenario: man touching woman, woman touching man, man touching man, woman touching woman; if you do not have the whole-hearted permission from the person you are touching – back-the-fuck-off!

The work Christmas do

A time for letting down hair after a hard year’s work and drinking bars dry (why not when work is paying, right?), Christmas parties are renowned for inter-office flirtation, close dancing, dark corner kissing and next day regrets. A time when false confidence rises and common decency gets left at the door. People are less careful about their behaviour and things they normally know to be inappropriate – are now nothing more than ‘a bit of a laugh’.

Respect

When alcohol is involved it’s easy to forget about personal space, filtered use of offensive language, and how to respect each other; but this should not be an excuse.

A persons’ body is theirs and theirs alone; and not the right of anyone who wants to have a go – no matter the time, the place, what they’re wearing, or how much either party has had to drink.

‘It’s just a bit of fun.’ These are not the magic words that make poor behaviour ‘all-good’, these are the words of someone not taking responsibility for their actions, trying to worm their way out of apologising for being offensive; because then it’s the (for want of a better word) victim’s  own fault for not having a sense of humour and taking it as a joke. Grow a pair and apologise (like you mean it)!

In the case of my friend, it’s not funny to make someone feel uncomfortable by putting them smack in the middle of a game that they didn’t even know they were playing – especially when it involves their body. This is sexual harassment, a violation and just plain wrong.

Unfortunately my friend didn’t feel like she could stick up for herself at the time and still doesn’t feel that she can speak to her HR department about it without ‘kicking up a fuss’ – even though she has every right to.

We should all be aware that this type of behaviour (no matter the setting) is not on and we are well within our rights to make as much fuss about it as we want. These people need to know their conduct is not acceptable – how can anything change if no one speaks up?

Your body, your rules.

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4 thoughts on “When is ‘just-a-laugh’ not OK?

  1. If certain behavior makes one uncomfortable in this case I agree this is sexual harassment and it must be dealt with asap. Encourage your friend to speak up and if necessary have someone she respects (you if you work at the same company) go with her , sometimes just the company alone gives you the courage to speak up. I am big honoring personal space and I agree Your body your rules, you invite who you want in your space not let someone invade it.

    • Unfortunately I don’t work with her (otherwise I’d have dealt with it on the night!), but I will encourage her of course. Glad you agree, terrible when some feel they can assume what someone would ‘be-up-for’ because for example of the way they dress. Thanks for reading.

      • Good writing and a good post … I used to believe how we dress is what get people to feel comfortable to take chances. For example if a woman wears a short dress doesn’t mean she is asking for it, I seen too many guys drool at a woman wear anything so that tossed my theory out the window so to speak. Does that mean not to be careful of course not but no man no woman no one has the right to put their hands on you say things to make you feel uncomfortable period.

  2. Pingback: A minimalist Christmas this year | Lisa Tiller

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