A 22-year-old student was disgusted to find her fellow university students had branded her a ‘bike’ during a conversation she’d been accidentally added to on Facebook.
Eleanor Henry found herself quickly removed from the conversation after being accidentally added by one of the men – but they had not realised she could see the messages sent before she was added.
Some of the messages included suggestions that Eleanor be brought on a holiday to Thailand as the men ‘needed a bike’. They also suggested that one of the men ask her to show them where she urinates from, because it ‘works 9/10 times’.
Pictures of Eleanor were also sent back and forth within the conversation.
When Eleanor discovered all of this, she was horrified. According to an interview with Daily Mail Australia she felt ‘dirty, embarrassed and so, so offended.’
‘My stomach dropped and I felt really sick, to the point where I felt I needed to close my blinds and hide under my blankets,’ she said.
‘After speaking with my sister I began to feel angrier and more passionate to evoke change.’
After a phone conversation with her sister, Eleanor decided to post the conversation – which she had not had the opportunity to reply to as she was so promptly removed – to Facebook.
Upon sharing screenshots of the conversation, she wrote: ‘Let’s all wave hello to my fellow peers at Melbourne University.
‘This is why I’ll die a feminist. It’s 2016. Let’s get back to that conversation on equality.’
According to Eleanor, around 98% of the responses were supportive and she was shocked to find three of the men had responded to the post also.
While two of the responses had consisted of ‘relatively heartfelt apologies’, one left Eleanor feeling rather concerned.
‘I understand why you might be upset but that was all said as a joke and no one was taking anything seriously in that group,’ the message from one of the men read.
‘I don’t think posting something like that publicly will do anyone any good. If you were so offended I apologise.’
He also said people may have taken their conversation ‘out of context’, to which Eleanor couldn’t quite believe – stating that it was ‘clear as day’.
Eleanor felt it was obvious that the apology was not sincere, and that he was merely apologising because he’d been ‘caught out’.
‘I’d strongly suggest ceasing contact with me,’ she said. But the man refused – eager to get his ‘point’ across.
‘We are all close mates, we say random stuff. Do you not say weird stuff to your best mates? It’s just unnecessary to build a scene, but up to you. I just wanted to tell you from our point of view.
‘Because when someone from outside sees stuff like that it looks wrong.’
Eleanor stated that the whole ordeal was in fact wrong – whether the man liked it or not.
Eleanor hopes that from posting screenshots of the conversation online, she has brought awareness to these sorts of online issues, and that it will encourage others to understand that this sort of behaviour should not be written off as ‘boys being boys’.