A female FIFO employee has revealed the sickening sexual harassment she was subjected to by her male supervisors while working in the mining industry.
Astacia Stevens, 33, shared her shocking experience with a Western Australian Parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment of FIFO workers in the sector.
She claims she was subjected to unwanted touching and sexual harassment, where her refusal to engage in degrading acts only resulted in her being bullied.
While attempting to switch roles at mining group Rio Tinto, the mother of two claimed a supervisor unzipped his pants while the pair were in a car at the scene.
“He wasn’t wearing any underwear and said to me ‘if you want your (Rio Tinto) shirt, get on your knees first,'” she claimed in her submission to the investigation, The Western Australian reported.
Astacia Stevens, 33, alleges she was subjected to unwanted touching, grooming and sexual harassment as a female FIFO employee
She claimed that when she refused the man’s request, he promised her that he would make sure she wouldn’t find a job.
The same supervisor then began following her on the mining site, intimidating and abusing her over the work radio.
She claimed that women in the industry got the impression that “the best way to get ahead is to get your knees dirty.”
Another male manager went out of his way to make Ms Stevens feel uncomfortable by constantly grabbing her bottom and making sexual movements, she claimed.
She said she was working for hospitality and cleaning company Sodexo at the time when the supervisor started making unwanted advances.
“He would often grab my ass and stuff his colon into my lower back as if he were going to try to ‘ride me,’ he would laugh when he did, and he often did it in front of other attendees,” she said.
When she was interested in switching roles, the manager told her to “show her special favors,” which she believed were sexual acts.
Shockingly, Ms. Stevens claimed that some of the female miners were drugged and sexually assaulted while on the scene.
Witnesses exchanged testimonies in an investigation into sexual harassment experienced by FIFO workers (stock from mine site in Western Australia)
“I know this because female colleagues often said to me, ‘I did drink, but I didn’t drink that much, but I don’t remember anything about waking up in that man’s bed,'” she said.
Ms Stevens said many female FIFO employees were too afraid to speak out and often nothing was done when they did.
The mother said she had to go to the community gym as early as 3 a.m. on the spot to avoid the attention of male colleagues.
“When I left the gym, men left at exactly the same time and I saw them following me,” she said. ABC reported.
“I felt safer getting up at 3 a.m. when no one else was awake to go to the gym.”
In another allegation by Ms Stevens, she said that while working as a contractor for Macmahon Australia Mining, she was nearly entangled in an accident involving her truck and another vehicle.
“The chief inspector of Macmahon who led the investigation suggested that if I had sex with him, he should stop the investigation,” she said.
Deputy Liberal leader Libby Mettam called for a parliamentary inquiry and said the testimonies of witnesses were “horrific allegations”.
More witnesses are expected to tell their stories in the coming months.
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