Unwanted touching is unfortunately something that many women deal with on a regular basis. But one waitress in Savannah, Ga., wasn’t having it when a customer groped her in a restaurant.
In CCTV footage that’s now gone viral, Emelia Holden can be seen taking orders at Vinnie Van GoGo’s, a pizza restaurant, when a man walks past and casually puts his hand on her backside. Holden, 21, grabs the man by his shoulder, throws him to the ground, and yells in his face.
Police were called and the man was arrested, according to the Daily Mail. He spent two days in jail and then was released. “I just did what I felt was best. I took the guy down and had my co-workers call the police,” Holden said. “As soon as the cops saw the CCTV footage, they immediately arrested the man. He sat in jail until Monday, so in my opinion, he got what he deserved.”
You can watch a video clip below to see how Holden handled the situation.
Holden also advised other women to not be afraid to fight back. “’All that I want from my experiences is for women to know that it’s okay to stand up for yourself,” she said. “You have every right to wear what you want and you most certainly have every right to defend yourself.”
Jennifer Cassetta, a self-defense expert and creator of Stilettos and Self-Defense, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that this reaction wouldn’t work for everyone, although it clearly did for Holden in this situation. “In martial arts, you’re trained to try and defuse a situation, versus being the first one to attack,” Cassetta says. “However, some situations call for you to be preemptive.”
While Cassetta stresses that she would never judge a person on their reaction to being targeted, she says she teaches something different in her classes. Before Cassetta teaches her students the possible physical responses they can consider after being groped, she covers emotional and assertion techniques. “Steps could include grabbing the person’s hand, holding it, making eye contact, and in a strong tone, saying ‘Get off me. Do not touch me,’” she says.
If you have a moment to assess the situation before reacting, it’s best to do that, Cassetta says, pointing out that it’s best to do this in a public place rather than in a dark alley. If you’re in the latter situation, and you react physically, you have to be prepared for a fight, she says. It’s also important to try to figure out if the person you are dealing with is mentally unstable or on drugs. “Those are things you have to be careful of,” Cassetta says.
And, of course, you are 100 percent within your rights to call the police or ask someone else to do it for you.
Holden later made it clear on her Facebook page that she wants to put the whole thing behind her. “I appreciate all of the kind words from everyone but I’d also appreciate it if people would stop tagging me in the video,” she said. “I know what happened, I was there.”
She also encouraged people to donate to her cat rescue fundraiser.
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