Ex-stripper Sasha Chambers says she was treated worse in WA mines than in strip clubs

The objectification of women working at WA’s mining sites has been described by a former stripper as worse than what she experienced as an adult entertainer as another woman bravely recounted how she was drugged and raped by two “predators” at work.

The extraordinary stories aired in a 60-minute report on sexual misconduct in the industry, following Walkley Award-winning reporting by Caitlyn Rintoul of The West Australian, which exposed the rampant problem and sparked an investigation parliamentary.

Among the shocking stories that have emerged is that of Astacia Stevens, who claimed that while working for contractor Macmahon at a site in Fortescue, a superintendent promised to investigate her truck. transport who would have almost “gone away” if she had sex with him.

Ms Stevens also alleged that at a Rio Tinto site, where she worked for contractor DT Workforce, a superintendent told her she would have to kneel if she wanted to get ‘her shirt’ – a permanent job with the mining giant.

“If you want to get on the trucks, you have to get on your knees,” she said.

“Once you get on the trucks, if you want to get on the water cart, you have to get on your knees.

“You want to get on the shovel, you get on your knees.”

After rejecting her boss, Ms Stevens was harassed, abused over two-way radio, embarrassed at staff meetings and ordered to submit to unsafe work practices until he finally fired her.

Ms Stevens told other alleged horror stories.

“I have seen women waking up on paths, women who have woken up behind dongas and don’t remember anything…I have had women who have spoken to me about waking up in their beds with people sleeping with them, which at the end of the day is rape, and it happens way more than anyone realizes,” she said.

Another woman, Sasha Chambers, who worked as an operator of multiple pieces of equipment at a mining site for six years, said the objectification of women went beyond anything she had seen in the entertainment industry to adults.

“I’ve never had any exposure to the penis as a worker in the adult entertainment industry, let alone in any other industry,” she said.

“Why is mining different? »

What I remember is that I was assaulted and I couldn’t move, I was catatonic.

Ms Chambers said: ‘When I was a stripper, we had the power to take care of our bodies and make sure no one was allowed to touch them.

“We don’t have the power here…we’re going to talk…’see you later, where’s your evidence, where’s your evidence, where’s your witnesses’, the witnesses won’t show up because they’re too scared, they don’t want to talk, so you’re on your own.

Bronte Glass, who has worked in mining for 22 years, said she was drugged and raped by two men while working as a sub-contractor for MACA in the Goldfields in August last year.

“There are predators in this industry,” she said.

Ms Glass said she had an allergic reaction to a meal and broke out in hives before two mine site staff told her to take five diazepam tablets.

She said she protested because she had an allergic reaction in hospital, but was ordered to do so. Then she said she remembers two men who came into her room and attacked her.

Camera iconLast year, Bronte Glass was a contractor for MACA – a company supplying production staff to a Gold Fields mine site in WA. It was a job she loved until it all went horribly wrong. 60 minutes Credit: 60 minutes/provided

“What I remember is I was mugged and couldn’t move, I was catatonic and I was pushed all the way to the top of the bed and what I remember is that flashes went off like someone was taking pictures,” she said.

That night, one of her co-workers found her drugged and incoherent, and her room was unlocked. The next day she was placed in the back of a car, driven for six hours and flown to Perth. But she still doesn’t know why.

She said she later found bruises on her upper thigh. Her work colleagues noticed that she had quickly fallen out of favor with managers and alleged that they made her look like the “crazy girl” and made it “hard” for her to stay.

It took weeks for WA Police to visit the site, it was reported, and when they reported it to the Department of Mines, an investigator allegedly told them they had investigated the incident.

“He told me he interviewed everyone there and ‘these two guys, they’re good guys,'” she said, adding that she was “the victim of shame” before him. say the case was closed.

Contacted by 60 Minutes, they said they could not comment as the investigation was “ongoing”.

Rio Tinto told the inquest in August that it had substantiated 29 cases of sexual harassment and one case of sexual assault in its FIFO operations since the start of 2020.

Astacia Stevens started 12 years ago as an itinerant worker at remote mining sites in the Pilbara region of WA.  She says that at first life was good, but it wasn't long before she fell prey to some uncontrollable superiors.  60 minutes
Camera iconAstacia Stevens started 12 years ago as an itinerant worker at remote mining sites in the Pilbara region of WA. She says that at first life was good, but it wasn’t long before she fell prey to some uncontrollable superiors. 60 minutes Credit: 60 minutes/provided

BHP said in its August submission that it had substantiated 73 reports of sexual harassment and terminated 48 workers as a result in fiscal years 2019 to 2021.

Macmahon told the committee in November that five of 11 sexual harassment complaints last year resulted in dismissal, two of which were reported to police.

That same month, Woodside told the inquest he had fired a dozen workers after confirming 16 incidents of sexual harassment over the past five years.

The investigation is due to report on April 28.

In a statement on Sunday, the WA Minerals and Energy Chamber said its “member companies reaffirm their unwavering commitment to eliminating all instances of sexual harassment and assault in operations around the state.”

“We apologize to anyone who has experienced this type of behavior,” chief executive Paul Everingham said.

“We are grateful for the courage of those who have come forward to report it, and we are reinforcing our commitment to creating safe environments in which people can feel comfortable making such reports – especially as it clearly there are people who haven’t felt that in the past.”

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