Surveillance footage of a waitress being groped while she was in the middle of doing her job — and then subsequently grabbing the offending man by his collar and throwing him violently against a counter — has gone viral as women across the world applauded the server for her fearlessness in confronting her harasser.
“I looked at him and I said, ‘You don’t touch me, motherfucker!’” recalled Emelia Holden, 21, in an interview with PEOPLE magazine. “I didn’t even think, I just reacted. I don’t know how I reacted the way I did. I’ve never done that before.”
After she forcefully subdued the groper, a man later identified as 31-year-old Ryan Cherwinski, Holden refused to let him leave the scene while a co-worker called police. Cherwinski, who has two daughters and a girlfriend of 11 years, was subsequently arrested and charged with sexual battery, according to a Savannah Police Department spokesperson.
“The guy claimed that he was just trying to push me out of the way and, ‘Oh, I barely touched you.’ Once the police saw the video, they immediately arrested him. There was no doubt that he did it,” said Holden.
“I’m not glad that it happened, but I’m glad that it’s had such a positive outcome,” she added, noting that she had received countless messages of support as a result of the video’s viral popularity. “I’m glad that other women can see this and know that you can stand up for yourself. You also have the right to wear whatever you want without having to worry about being groped.”
Watch Holden’s fierce takedown of Cherwinski below.
Read the full story at PEOPLE magazine.