In particularly disappointing news this Wednesday, October 9th, it’s been reported that sleazy men continue to meet to the standard they’ve set for themselves, I’m afraid.
This time, the gross behaviour has gone down a few minutes into an international flight. As opposed to the standard setting of a bar, an office, the street, on public transport (etc, etc).
As CNN has reported, 24-year-old Jessica Van Meir was travelling between London and Washington DC over the weekend when a group of passengers decided to harass her via the in-flight messaging system.
Van Meir left her seat to head to the bathroom and when she returned, saw a wave of messages fill her screen.
The comments are said to have come from passengers sitting in the row behind Van Meir. They referred to her as “tidy babe” and said things like “welcome to hell” and “you are now in the danger zone”.
The usernames of the men behind the messages included “big d*ck swinger” and “dirty mike”.
Van Meir told the passengers that she was an employee at a “law firm that specializes in online sexual harassment” and proceeded to inform them she would be reporting them to Virgin (the airline she was flying with).
The paralegal, who was travelling for business, informed flight attendants of the behaviour of the men behind her. Staff then proceeded to intervene quickly, speaking with the harassers. The messaging is said to have stopped after this.
Chatting with CNN, Van Meir shared that she was “appalled and disappointed that someone would be so disrespectful and entitled as to send me messages on a flight when I’m traveling on my own just trying to enjoy my flight peacefully and not be harassed by anyone.”
But sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence in the world of women. Men like the ones on this flight feel it’s their right to insert themselves into spaces in which they’re not welcome.
They don’t think about whether or not the person on the other end of the interaction is enjoying themselves.
They don’t care that they’re causing discomfort or even fear.
They just act however they damn please, and believe they’re permitted to because their warped sense of entitlement tells them so.
Which is how we end up with a figure like 85 per cent of Australian women stating they’ve been sexually harassed at some point in their lives (according to a 2018 study by the Human Rights Commission).
“I would hope that other people who face this kind of harassment can feel confident in reporting it and feeling they are not alone and not at fault,” Van Meir continued in her comments to CNN.
In the wake of the incident, Virgin has also issued a statement:
“We want all of our customers to have the best possible experience when they fly with us, and have zero tolerance for any disruptive or inappropriate behaviour. We’re grateful to our cabin crew who supported our customer following this incident and would like to apologise for the distress caused.”
The company has said they’re reviewing their entertainment system to avoid a repeat of this situation. But we’re hoping we can just expect people to figure out that it’s not okay to intimidate anyone with inappropriate behaviour, ever.