Devastating truth behind woman's 'intimidating' experience in dark Woolworths car park

An Aussie woman has shared her disturbing experience while walking alone at night, and it reveals a disturbing truth about our society, experts say.

Jeannine Baird (left) and a dark carpark (right).
Sydney woman Jeannine Baird has revealed how a group of young men deliberately tried to intimidate her as she walked to her car in a dark Woolworths car park. Source: Facebook/Getty

An Aussie woman has slammed the behaviour of a group of young men who harassed her as she walked to her car in the dark in a “deliberate attempt to intimidate a lone female”, and experts say the incident demonstrates a bigger problem in our society. Jeannine Baird has written an open letter online saying she was repeatedly wolf-whistled and called out to after leaving a concert.

The Sydney woman said she was walking across a dimly lit Woolworths car park in Cronulla Mall, in Sydney's south, following a recent Brass Monkey concert when the group of men targeted her. “I am under no illusions that it was my dress or my physical attributes that caused you to behave that way,” she wrote to the young men on Facebook.

“I was completely covered, wearing a hat and scarf (over my outfit). I had on jeans and low block heeled shoes. I have greying frizzy hair.”

Baird, who accompanied her post with a photo of herself so “there will be nobody blaming me or attempting to imply I was somehow enticing you to behave that way”, claimed after getting to her car, she drove around to have a “motherly conversation” with the group but they had left.

Stating she was “old enough to parent” them, Baird then reported the matter to Sutherland Police in the hope CCTV would reveal their identities. She said she hoped other women feel brave enough to make statements if they have experienced similar situations.

Addressing the men, she wrote: "I pray your mums, sisters, and future girlfriends, wives and daughters never experience anything like this, or worse, and that you become able to speak up in future when one of your mates decides it is funny to whistle at a woman by herself, when you are in the safety of your mob."

To other women, she said: “The more we call out their attempts to embarrass or frighten us, the more ridiculous and cowardly their behaviour will become. We women have a right to feel safe, in any context we find ourselves. On streets, in venues, in our homes and schools and churches and clubs.”

Social justice campaigner Janine Hendry, who founded the March4Justice movement — which aims to transform social attitudes and work towards women's equality — told Yahoo News Australia the motive behind such problematic behaviour was men's desire to seek power over women through intimidation.

“For some young men it’s learned behaviour, socialised behaviour from their peers or from their family environment,” she said. “Ultimately, as with sexual assault, it’s about power. Rape is not about sex, it’s about power and control.

“Young men egg each other on. It’s social behaviour, someone in the group has decided it’s funny. They are not thinking through the consequences.

Janine Hendry stands in front of a colourful background.
Melbourne activist Janine Hendry says male harassment of women is all about power. Source: Supplied

“This happened quite late at night... they are making a woman not feel safe in their own space. It’s about controlling how people feel, and it comes from when men feel very disempowered in another area of their life.”

Hendry said there is also a disturbing trend of men committing violence towards women in Australia, with horrifying figures showing 35 women have allegedly been killed by men so far this year.

She said gambling, intoxication, easy access to porn and high-profile misogynists on social media often “embolden these young men at a time of their life when they are the most insecure”.

“They do not see it as abuse or the precursor to sexual violence,” Hendry said.

Melissa Perry, CEO of White Ribbon Australia, told Yahoo News there was no place for this kind of intimidating and predatory behaviour in our society and women had the right to feel safe walking through the streets of cities, towns and suburbs at any time of the day or night.

“White Ribbon Australia supports men and boys in developing healthy masculinities and positive, supportive relationships with their male peers,” she said.

“Sadly, the events in the open letter speak to the sense of male entitlement and privilege that allows men’s violence to exist and thrive.

“This isn’t something new, but the emergence of the so-called online influencers like Andrew Tate are filling the void in the narrative because ‘good men’ are failing to stand-up and call out of misogyny, harassment and sexism where they see it.”

Woman's legs walking at night.
Women should be able to walk anywhere at night without fear of harassment, Melissa Perry says. Source: Getty

She said men had to be part of the solution in order to end gender-based violence and this included making it clear that sexist or derogatory language towards women was not ok.

“Domestic homicide or sexual assault are extremes, but incidents like this, where a group of guys are making derogatory comments towards a woman, reinforce harmful attitudes and behaviour,” Perry added.

In the comments on Baird's Facebook post, one person wrote: “As a mother of a son, I hope he would NEVER behave like this. No woman should feel scared or intimidated in our country walking alone.”

Another added, “So perfectly said. I’m sorry you were put in this situation, thank you for standing up for yourself and all women. I pray that one day a post like this never has to be repeated, because everyone has learnt to live respecting each other and their right to feel safe.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.