Suburbia Southampton – Sexual Harassment Acceptable?

Hello,

On Saturday night, two friends and I headed out to our favourite Indie club – Suburbia. Cheap drinks deals, music you can request and cheap entry.

This Saturday was a very different and very negative experience, however. It was ‘Single Pringle’ night (presumably because Valentine’s Day is coming up) but said on the event page that everyone is welcome, and the night started out okay. Although, we did notice that the clientele were a little older than usual.

I can honestly say, I’ve never experienced anything as bad in a club as I did on Saturday. Generally, you might get someone come up to you and try and chat you up but with a simple explanation of ‘I’m not single’ or ‘I’m not interested’, these people tend to back off and there’s no harm done.

On Saturday this wasn’t the case. One man in particular, followed my friends and I around all night, even after being repeatedly told to back off. He had also been harassing other women in the club, invading their personal space, but us he followed around all night. At one point, we came out of the toilet to find him waiting outside.

He was not the only man unable to understand ‘no’ that night either.

One man sniffed my friend, another kept poking and grabbing at her waist. Of course, we tried moving around the club to different spots but as it’s a fairly small club this wasn’t entirely effective. I would also point out that we all stayed together which is so important on a night out – especially for women. One girl was completely wasted and an older guy was attempting to lead her off somewhere while her friend looked on and then wandered off. This shocked me so much. If my friend were in that state, I would not take my eyes off of them, and for sure I wouldn’t let them go off with some random guy. If you are that random guy, maybe be aware that if she’s drunk out of her mind (could barely keep her eyes open in this case), drugged or barely conscious – she’s not consenting.

Eventually, we had to leave. We complained to the security guard, who went to talk to the guy who had been following us around all night and ignoring us when we told him to go away. However, after a quick chat, the man was quickly let back in (if he had even been kicked out in the first place). It was at this point that we left. Had he realised who had complained and been inclined to try something, the security guard would have been at fault for failing to deal with the complaint appropriately if something had happened.

At any other club, security is always on the look out and take these matters seriously. We were taken for a joke just because the man was a regular (as we later found out).

For anyone waiting to comment, ‘but what were you wearing? Did you smile at any of them? Were you dancing provocatively? It was single Pringles night! Of course you’d be hit on!’ Just don’t.

1. I can wear whatever the hell I want, clothing isn’t an excuse for harassment of any kind, and in no way is it consent.

2. No. Even if we had been friendly originally, telling someone to back off is a pretty clear indicator that you’re not interested.

3. I’m on a night out to listen to good music, have fun with my friends and enjoy my night. A sway of the hips and accidental (or intentional) eye contact is not consent. I’ll dance how I want to, ‘provocatively’ or not – harassment is never the victim’s fault.

4. Being single, and maybe even desperate, doesn’t give you the right to harass anyone, especially if they’ve already said repeatedly, ‘Go away. I’m not interested’.

I won’t be going back to Suburbia, as this really highlighted for me the kind of consumers they value. The safety of those in the club were completely compromised and our complaint (which many other women in the club could attest to) went essentially ignored.

Look after each other on nights out, stay safe, and avoid this place like the plague.

Zola

Xoxo

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