What the woman wore

Yet again, when a woman says she was sexually harassed, the court wants to know about her outfit. Vivienne Dye says Commonwealth Bank manager Michael Blomfield sexually harassed and bullied her before she lost her job, but his lawyer wants to put the blame for the harassment on the victim – or, rather, on her cleavage:

Ms Dye accuses Mr Blomfield of attempting to kiss her, making sexually suggestive comments about his own prowess and leering at her breasts at the office party. A photograph of Ms Dye with colleagues tendered during the hearing shows her wearing white jeans, a pink scarf around her waist and a white top Ms Dye agreed was ”very low cut”.

”Would you agree that anyone, male or female, if [they] saw you from the front that night would hardly fail to notice your breasts?” Mr Gray asked.

”No, I would not.” She denied her G-string had been visible above her trousers at the back.

”At least one person pointed that out to you,” Mr Gray said. ”No,” she replied.

Right, so when underwear sneaks above the top of your trousers, as it sometimes does, that means it’s ok to be sexually harassed? And because she was wearing a low-cut top, then she was clearly asking for it?

Some men will leer at breasts whether they’re in a bikini or in a skivvy with a cardigan over the top. Waitressing as a uni student, I lost count of the number of “respectable” middle-aged men who wouldn’t be able to pick my face in a line up, but they could recognise my boobs despite them being under a t-shirt. At one point when yet another customer asked my boobs for a coffee, I asked if he wanted breast milk with that. He went red and scurried away, but I bet he just found another cafe where he could ogle breasts.

8 responses to “What the woman wore

  1. This annoys me so much – whatever we wear we are vulnerable to harassment. If it’s too hot then we’re sluts who are asking for it – not hot then who would anyone want to harass us anyway? We must have imagined it! Dress like a bloke and you’ll get harassed for dressing like a bloke because you’ve sent out a signal that you’ve decided not to conform – youz dangerous.

    There is also a big difference between “noticing” and openly leering as a form of intimidation.

    • I don’t wear revealing clothing, yet the number of male co-workers I’ve caught trying to look down my top is amazing. And not in a good way. My male friends don’t carry on like that, but perhaps that says more about being able to choose your friends but not your colleagues.

  2. Having been blessed(cursed?)with a set of “big ones” I have endured various degrees of harassment since puberty (from looks, comments, jokes and even touches).

    They are a DD and simply can not be hidden(and why the hell should I have to cover up under layers just because I have breasts – if I were a guy I could go shirtless?) and yes people do notice them – but that does not give them the right to comment and they sure as hell are not an open invitation to come on to me!

    Thankfully now I no longer work with others or hit the clubs the harassment is much less (due to being able to pick the kind of people I hang out with – those that enjoy my mind and company not just my breasts)

    The thought that in 2009 a woman is still considered to be “asking for the attention” because of what she wears is more than pathetic – it’s totally sad!

    • I’ve also got a pair of knockers (that are slowly but surely heading for my ankles), but my small-and-perky-breasted friends experience the same leering. When it’s someone in the street you can just keep walking, or look down at their crotch, then up at their face and say “you know, some women don’t mind a small penis – not me though” and then keep walking, but when it’s work colleagues it’s pretty disgusting. And I don’t think there are too many steps between leering at work boobs, to believing that if a woman wears a short skirt or has the girls out then she’s asking for it, to raping a woman because you feel like it.

  3. LMAO at the ankle comment!
    Yes, that’s exactly what worries me – “she asked to be stared at” “she asked to be touched” “she asked for the personal comment” “she asked to be raped” all by how she dresses – it’s amazing isn’t it … yet it is still accepted and should she speak out she is put in the position of having to justify the clothes on her back.

    I’m enjoying your blog by the way (and Lindas who posted above me) I’m new to this whole blog world and I am enjoying the chance to express my opinions and read others 🙂

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