A guide to keeping one's hands to oneself

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On the eve of the Oasis Ball, a number of young women from the local industry have come together to call out unacceptable behaviour at industry events.

Bombarded by opinions, hashtags and a 24/7 fake news cycle, it's easy to dismiss controversy and yearn for simpler times. But it's time to step up. Something that can't be ignored is the predatory, and quite frankly repulsive, treatment of people (but, let's be real, mostly women) and a general lack of accountability for this behaviour.

Like any other industry, the marketing world has not been clear on how to handle harassment and deplorable behaviour at industry events, balls, award shows or office Christmas parties.

So, what does our industry look like in a post-Weinstein world? Well for one, with the Oasis Ball and Campaign Brief Awards coming up, it means we all have a good opportunity to make things right.
This is not new news. Sexual harassment and assault have always been sexual harassment and assault, and have always been wrong. What's changed, and should continue to evolve, is our ability to speak out about it. And so here we are.

When confronted with an accusation, many will claim ignorance, or a misinterpretation of their actions. Throw alcohol (and other substances) into the mix, and suddenly you've got complete inability to be held accountable for any behaviour, no matter how reprehensible.

So, let's start taking responsibility for our actions.

If you really don't know what we're talking about, here's a series of handy tips for not harassing anyone at the upcoming, and all future, industry events.

1. Don't ogle at people's bodies, no matter how much of their skin is showing. People dress up to feel glamorous and confident, not for your voyeurism. Just look people in the eye for a regular amount of time. Easy as.

2. Don't be a dick on the dancefloor. They are for dancing, not groping and grinding on people, or following people around.

3. Don't cop a feel as you weave through a crowd. We both know exactly what you're doing.

4. Don't follow someone around and try to pick up under the guise of a job offer.

5. Don't whip your wobbly bits out and show a group of people in the foyer. No one cares that you took Viagra earlier in the evening.

6. Don't corner your former account manager, get way too close and hold onto them as you slobber weird compliments into their ear, despite them actively trying to get away from you.

7. Don't pressure someone into kissing you who repeatedly tells you they aren't interested and then follow them into the bathroom when they refuse.

8. Don't take a strapless dress as an invitation to motorboat someone you don't know at an after party, and then tell their superiors they made it up.

9. Don't grab someone by the arse and whisper into their ear all the things you'd like to do to them, call to apologise the next day, and then do it to someone else at the next event.

And for those of you intimately familiar with these situations, don't do it again. Yes, these are all real incidents recounted by the people who experienced them.

If anything like this happens to you, you can speak out, and speak loudly. The good old days are over. Don't say you didn't know.

For confidential information, counselling and support, call 1800 RESPECT

6 Comments

another one said:

I'll add one to the list.

10. If you're bringing a client along to the event, don't condone them inappropriately hitting on a junior staff member and pass it off as good for business.

RedFalcon said:

Well written.

Important information.

Read, learn, practice.

Don't do it.

Ex-AdWoman said:

If I name them all do I get a prize? Like my career in advertising back?

I just can't understand why all the women keep leaving advertising. said:

Don't go to said award night and hit your work colleague up for a threesome with your new girlfriend, because the two of you have been talking and they've decided, you're the lucky winner to be chosen to go home with them.

Don't offer to share a cab with someone and then drunkenly attempt to sexually assault them in the back of said cab, while saying all the boys in the agency are having a bet on who can be the one to @&$; you first.

Don't go to a function, have a few too many and leer at the woman you've known since she was a junior, who up until that point has viewed you as a mentor and father figure and belch that you've always had a thing for her.

Don't pressure the junior to sleep with a client because it'll be good for business, he's pretty hot anyway and who cares if you've got a boyfriend, he should understand that career comes first.

Man, I could play this game forever. It rips my heart out that 'advice' like this even has to be posted. I can't wait for the reckoning to hit the ad industry. I'll be the one with popcorn and a big grin.

Cheese said:

Big props to the authors of this piece and to Campaign Brief for getting behind them.

Non plussed said:

In all the years I've been going to the Oasis Ball, I've never heard or seen any of this stuff go on. At the end of the day, it just comes down to simple manners.

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