A 23-year-old woman who claims she was grabbed by a guy who demanded to be addressed as “daddy” during an Australian mining conference has written about her incident on the front page of a local newspaper.
Amber Lilley, Deputy Editor of the Kalgoorlie Miner, claims she was grabbed and sexually propositioned by a guy at an event at a busy bar after the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, last week. Ms Lilley published the charges on the front page of The West Australian on Tuesday, adding that she felt “weak, startled, and appalled.”
‘A mine worker informed me he had a rager against me because I was wearing R.M. Williams boots and made an obscene gesture,’ Ms Lilley wrote.
He then told me to ‘call him daddy,’ before touching me as I moved away through the throng, and he followed me.
‘I was surprised and outraged that this could happen in a room full of individuals, many of whom I knew or knew about.’
A complaint has been filed against the individual with his business and the West Australian police.
The 23-year-old said she was treated with “utmost professionalism” during the conference, but sexist behavior was pervasive at after-hours activities throughout the week. Ms Lilley added that guys would use the term “off the record” before making disparaging remarks about her and other women.
‘Those remarks included how beautiful I looked in my clothing, how maybe I should do skimpy bar work, how appreciative women should be for their present position in the sector, and how there aren’t many female industry executives,’ Ms Lilley wrote.
The young journalist advocated for industry-wide change, arguing that it would require a “relentless” effort to unearth a deeply rooted culture of sexism in the mining industry.
It comes after a state-run investigation into sexual assault and harassment against women in the FIFO (fly in, fly out) mining sector showed a culture of sexual assault and harassment.
The investigation received over 100 submissions and investigated some of the state’s largest mines as well as government regulators.
Rio Tinto was found to have dismissed at least 12 employees in the previous 12 months for sexual harassment or assault, while BHP fired 48 employees for improper behavior during a two-year period. Ms Elizabeth Mettam, the inquiry’s chair and Deputy Leader of the WA Liberal Party, told parliament that the report titled ‘Enough is Enough’ had 24 recommendations to safeguard female employees.
‘The extent and depth of the situation astonished and outraged me well beyond imagination,’ Ms Mettam wrote.
‘This demonstrates an industry failing to safeguard its employees and raises serious issues about why the government was not more proactive in this safety problem.’
‘The only effective method to combat this heinous behavior is to bring it to light, to speak about it, to point it out, to expose it, to rage against it, to prosecute and to punish it.’
Several women’s accounts are included in the study, including one who was “knocked senseless in her donga and awakened to discover her slacks and undies around her ankles.”
Another lady who had a near-miss with a big truck while driving was told she needed to have sex with her supervisor in order for the safety probe to ‘go away.’
The same lady was advised she needed to ‘get on her knees’ to acquire ‘her shirt’ – a word used to denote a permanent position with a mining business. In an effort to combat sexual harassment, the Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy issued an industry-wide directive on May 23 limiting employees to four alcoholic drinks and zero shots per day on lodging sites.
Rob Carruthers, CME policy and advocacy director, said the rule demonstrated the industry’s commitment to make labor “as safe as possible at all times.”
‘It’s also critical that there be industry-wide guidelines that can be applied at any business to drive healthy behaviors and create a culture of moderation,’ Mr Carruthers said.