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Johannesburg - Dragged into the bathroom, forcefully undressed and his private parts laid bare, all with the aim of “proving” his manhood and age.

This is the traumatic experience that Andrew Diale alleges he went through at the hands of three male colleagues at Mugg & Bean at Bracken City in Ekurhuleni recently.

Diale whose short stature has led to people making fun of him all his life, said he fell victim to colleagues who set out to prove that he was, in fact, the man he claims he was.

He said the experience started with one colleague touching his head.

“I told him not to put his hand on my head. He touched my head again and I took it off. He said to me, ‘You are difficult, I will show you.’”

“So when one of the guys came down the passage, another guy asked him to help drag me into the change room. One of three guys left and the two were left to undress me - even the underwear. After they undressed me, they started laughing and after what seemed like forever they left the change room,” he said.

Before this, he said his colleagues had often asked him prying questions about his age, manhood and accusing him of lying.

Diale said he had been left traumatised and has not been coping since the incident took place on January 13.

“My soul is broken. I feel humiliated but most of all this has made me doubt myself as a person, as a man. No one has the right to do that to me.”

Franchise owner George Ferreira, said while he became aware of the incident after Diale reported it to him, he was not told the “whole story” and the severity of what occurred in the changing room.

“He didn’t tell the whole story, he just told me that they tried to take him into the changing room and tried to do that (undress him).

“He didn’t tell me that they actually did it; that’s the way I understood it. When I heard of the incident I got hold of these guys, all three of them and I gave them a stern warning,” he said.

Ferreira said the men involved in have signed warnings.

The way they (male employees involved) said it, they were joking and that they left him in the bathroom, but this is not a joke,” said Ferreira.

Pressed on why he thought the warning was sufficient given what occurred, Ferreira said he would call all the employees concerned again into a meeting to get the full details of what transpired that day.

Diale said he was considering laying a charge with the police as he is haunted by what his colleagues did to him.

Sunday Independent