Adonis Diaries

Sexual harassment at Brick’s bar in Hamra

Posted on: November 10, 2015

Sexual harassment at Brick’s bar in Hamra

Thurayya Zreik posted on FB

I would like to share an incident that happened with me at Brick’s Hamra.

More shocking than this incident, I would like to detail the appalling reaction and response of the management.

On Friday November 2015 at around 8.20 PM, I walked into Brick’s Hamra to say hello to a girl I knew. On the next table was a young man, who, as soon I walked in, turned to me and yelled something along the lines of “Hey baby” / “let’s get together” / “give me your number.”

His advances were quite loud and offensive, and could be heard by all in the bar. However, I decided not to respond after my girl friend informed me that he was with her group of friends.

The second time he yelled at me, he was equally offensive and obnoxious, and this time I asked him to please stop. By the third time, I had had enough. I turned and yelled back, at the same volume, that I was not his “Baby,” that he was disrespectful, and I demanded that he stops harassing me (تلطيش).

At this, he began to yell back, calling me, among other things, a “bitch,” a “stupid bitch,” a “f–king bitch,” and other variations of the word “bitch”, telling me to “shut the f–k up” and “get the f–k out of his face.”

Nobody reacted to the very loud, very audible torrent of abuse he was hurling at me. I continued to yell in defense of myself, as I was being insulted and threatened by him because I had told him not to harass me; which I see as a very reasonable and justifiable request on my part and definitely not one that warrants that level of verbal abuse.

He got up, and made motions towards me, warning me to “get the f–k away” before he “slapped the f–k out of me.” As he approached, I slapped his arm away to push him back. At this, he proceeded to slap me hard in the face and throw a lit cigarette at me, also in my face.

Again, at this point, nobody from the staff to the manager (who was a woman, if I might add) made any movement to intervene. Luckily, I am fit and sprightly, and know how to stand for myself, so I was able to pin him back in a chokehold.

Still, nobody moved, until the manager sauntered over at a pace so slow it was nearly comical, and took me away, telling me to calm down. A member of staff removed the aggressor, allowed him to take a walk around the block, and then let him back in.

During the time that the aggressor had left, I sat in tears of rage for ten minutes, listening to people telling me to calm down, that I should accept that he didn’t mean it, and insinuating that I didn’t think he was cute or funny because I had to have already been in a bad mood before I walked in, which is why I reacted the way I did.

It seemed like people, including all the women, found it genuinely hard to believe that what happened could be offensive and that loud public harassment is not a cause for being incensed in and of itself.

It was almost as if I wasn’t threatened, verbally abused, or hit in the face in public for asking someone not to harass me.

I decided to leave after the aggressor returned and began to tell me he was “f–king sorry, okay?!”

I returned to Brick’s later that night because I had decided to speak to the manager about the poor and inexcusable response of the staff to this incident, and I thought it was important to do so in order to avoid the same thing happening to another woman customer. In response, she told me the following:

1. That she did not act because she assumed I was friends with the young man, which is both:

A) a poor management decision, because it is not in any management job description to make assumptions about the relationships of customers; and

B) totally irrelevant to the fact that someone was being an aggressor

2. She told me “But he said sorry, you just didn’t accept his apology”

3. She also informed me that it was, in fact, my own fault for being in a bad mood to begin with

4. That if I didn’t like what he was telling me, I should have just ignored him instead of making a scene

(NOTE: I find it interesting that loudly yelling harassment in public at a young woman does not constitute a scene, but her legitimate resistance to it does)

So, it is for this reason that I have decided to boycott Brick’s, and I hope that you will join me in my boycott and maybe even share this and engage in some wide public shaming over social media smile emoticon I am sure there are plenty of bars in Beirut that are safer environments for women.

Update: someone from Brick’s has contacted me and it seems like they are planning on dealing with the situation more appropriately.

بريكس خاضع للنظام الأبوي
لا_للتلطيش #

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November 2015

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