I worked at a cafe where most of us were pretty teen girls. There was an older cook in the back who I thought was pretty cool. One day he was obviously drunk, and all of the servers knew, but no one did anything about it. I think my manager was just desperate. I went in the back to dump out the mop water and he followed me, making sexual comments. When I bent over to poor it out, he took out his phone and took a picture of me bending over. I was in shock, I dont even remember if I asked him to delete that. The work environment was to program us into never making a scene, always smiling, doing anything to make the customer happy, and pretending that everything was pleasant. From prior experience, like almost being blinded by chemicals (breaking OSHA regulations for eye wear) and having to go through extensive eye tissue treatments from corrosion,I am certain my female boss would not have done anything, and would pretend nothing had happened. Other girls have told me of similar harassment from him, and one of them told and nothing was done about it.
Today my friend called me stressed and crying. She was in a café and her parents had gone off to buy something and a man started taking pictures of her and her legs. He caught her looking and winked at her. Her parents said that he probably wasn’t because his family came after. As if having a family excuses such behaviour or dismisses the chance of it. My friend was only wearing a denim dress, not revealing but showing her legs on a warm day like everyone else. Why can’t we embrace and celebrate our unique bodies without getting harassed? My friend was distraught and she had no one and the worst part of it is that we are both 12.