Carpark wars: The treatment of women

This isn’t about a carpark, it’s about the way you’re treating me because I have a vagina.

Something happened to me recently that’s taken a while for me to come to terms with it and talk about with others because it affected me so deeply. I feel like I have a responsibility to tell you and we can decide as a community, if this is the way we treat our women.

Firstly, dear reader, you need to know I made a mistake and I’m so sorry for it. I was in Braddon visiting one particular real estate agent and I parked in the wrong agents’ private parking spot.

This is a communal carpark with assigned spots. I was in a rush, focused on the one thousand other things on my to-do list and I’m really sorry that I got confused and for 10 minutes, while I popped upstairs to drop off keys, I occupied a spot that I shouldn’t have.

That real estate agent also works at the agency that owns the car spot and spotted me leaving.

He aggressively told me I couldn’t park there unless I had business with his company. I explained I had made a mistake. I wish it had stopped there. Instead, this is where I started fearing for my safety.

He insinuated that because I am a female it was no surprise to him that I’d made a mistake like that. He intimated me; he got up close to my car and face, and spoke to me in a tone and with language that is completely inappropriate.

He used force to hit my car and intimidate me as I attempted to navigate my way out of the carpark as he stood obstructing my car.

It was horrible and I wondered as I drove home, in shock, whether he would have treated me like that if I were male?

I wish his business had a better dispute resolution process. After I drove home and settled, I decided I wanted to call and let his company know the type of impression he is leaving on the community.

I told the receptionist I wanted to provide feedback on an employee after an incident in the carpark. I was put through to him.

On the phone he was condescending, almost amused that I attempted to voice my concerns. I was told there was ‘no-one else available’ to talk too. It seems everyone else in the office was ‘overseas’. I was told my concerns regarding the incident must have been clouded, confused.

There was no number, email, address or name I was offered to voice my concerns too; nor a date when the rest of the staff returned from being ‘overseas’.

I could talk about the damage to the car; I could name your business or your first name that I learnt when I was patched through. I could tell you how teary or jumpy I’ve been since the incident. How my partner asked me all night whether something was wrong and I couldn’t even tell him about it because I felt belittled and powerless.

Let’s be clear this isn’t about a carpark; it’s about the way you treat a lady.

There is no confusion that just because I am female, you are a superior driver. I don’t believe I am clouded in my judgement that your reaction to me parking in your business spot was an overreaction.

There are two words I want to leave you with – perspective and respect.

Perspective: How lucky are we if the biggest problem in a day is confusion regarding a car spot. I have people close to me who would dream to have problems as simple as that.

Respect: May we respect each other, respect that sometimes we all make mistakes; and respect that aggression and intimidation are not tactics to use during discussions.

May we teach our daughters that they are valued, strong and have voices that deserve to be heard.

Thank you for hearing me out, if only this was just about a carpark.


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