Things That Matter

Video Of A Reporter Being Groped On Live Tv By A Passerby Goes Viral

Another day, another woman publicly degraded. If you’re a woman in America, statistically, you’ve more than likely experienced some form of street harassment. Although street harassment is an under-discussed and under-researched topic, thankfully, activists are beginning to shine a light on the pervasive practice that is part of the foundation of rape culture. 

Recently, a video has been making the rounds on social media that clearly illustrates the reality for many women. On Saturday morning, a video was posted to Twitter of WSAV reporter Alex Bozarjian being assaulted on live television. The video shows Bozarjian smiling in front of a crowd of joggers who are running the annual Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run in Georgia. Runners stream behind her, occasionally interrupting her reporting and making goofy faces to the camera. 

But things take a dark turn when one male jogger comes up behind Bozarjian and slaps her on the butt before continuing on his run.

Bozarjian is visibly rattled by the incident, her face appearing shocked as she struggles to regain her composure, stumbling over her words before continuing to do her job. A concerned viewer, Twitter-user @GrrrlZilla, recorded the incident and posted a video of it to her Twitter account. “We watch @WSAV in our house every single morning,” she said in a follow-up Tweet. “Their staff is like extended family to us. I’m furious about this.”

The video quickly made waves on Twitter, accruing over 11 million views, 6,000 retweets and 2,000 comments.

People immediately called for the perpetrator to be identified and charged with assault. Soon enough, Bozarjian addressed the incident on her own Twitter, posting a statement directed at the man who assaulted her: To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me. No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better. “

Even Robert Wells, the director of the Savannah Sports Council, responded to the video, publicly apologizing to her for her experience. “Alex, what happened today is 100% unacceptable,” he said Bozarjian’s tweet. “You have my assurance we will identify him.”

Soon, the jogger who assaulted Bozarjian was identified by internet sleuths as Georgia man Tommy Callaway, who spends his down-time as a youth minister. 

Savvy internet users discovered his identity by cross-referencing the number on his bib with the Run’s records. On Sunday, the Savannah Sports Council tweeted that they had identified the man and revealed his identity and information to Bozarjian and her news station. The organization also tweeted that they would be banning Callaway from all of their races. 

Additionally, a spokesperson from the Savannah Police Department stated that they talked to Bozarjian and are “definitely going to be working with her in any capacity on how she’d like to move forward with this incident”.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource center, 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. And according to The Office of Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct, there are a myriad of reasons women don’t report assault, the explanations ranging from the fear of the justice system to feeling that the crime was not “serious enough”

Considering the statistics when it comes to women reporting assault, the swift action taken here by officials and authority figures is encouraging. If more authority figures took the suffering of women seriously, there would be a lot less women that are too afraid to come forward with their own stories. 

The outpouring of support on Twitter for Bozarjian was truly inspiring.

People are finally fed up at seeing women being assaulted in front of their eyes and the perpetrators thinking they can get away with it unpunished. 

This person was filled with empathy for the reporter who was violated when she was simply trying to work.

As a viewer, it’s not easy to see a woman coming to terms with her own violation in front of thousands of people.

This person had a few choice words for the Twitter users who claimed that this stunt was “just a joke”:

It’s apologists like this that keep rape culture alive and flourishing.

Some people even took to the Twitter thread to share their own stories of street harassment and assault:

The silver lining to this is that at least people recognize how pervasive abuse like this is.

Arguably what’s most infuriating about this is the audacity of this man’s behavior 

People don’t commit acts like this on camera unless they’ve been getting away with similar behavior for a long time. To him, his actions are normal. 

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Women Talked About Being Sexually Harassed At Work And What It Was Like To Report It

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Women Talked About Being Sexually Harassed At Work And What It Was Like To Report It

Scott Olson / Getty

Sadly the reality of working alongside a harasser can be all too true for most women. Back in 2018, just months after the #MeToo Movement saw its rise an online survey launched by a nonprofit called Stop Street Harassment discovered that 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men experience some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. Those numbers became all the more alarming when compared to the workplace, in fact, the survey revealed that 38 percent of women said they experienced sexual harassment at the workplace. As NPR, pointed out at the time “these experiences are more likely to be assaults and the most severe forms of harassment”

Recently a post on Reddit highlighted the effects of harassment in the workplace and they were pretty surprising.

Check them out below.

He was fired for something unrelated to the harassment.

“When I worked in food, one of my managers would slap me on the butt or rub up against me every time he walked behind me. He also was constantly asking me what I saw in my then-boyfriend and how I could have a “real man” if I wanted. I just put up with it because the job was temporary and I would be moving in a few months. Before I left, it was discovered that he had been stealing money from the restaurant for a couple of years, totaling up to over $10k. He obviously was fired and my remaining months there were fairly pleasant.l” – bccdeff

“Yes. I spent a day and a half stewing about whether to report it to HR, because the HR person at my office has a grudge against me (confirmed by my boss). Eventually I did report it and she handled it professionally. However, since then I’ve been finding ways to avoid working in the warehouse with the men who I reported. They got to keep their jobs because there was no proof, it was a he said/she said situation. When I do run across the two guys they avoid me. Which I guess is fine, I’d rather not talk to them anymore. I just hope I don’t have to work in their building anytime soon.” –_ism

‘Yes unfortunately, and when I reported it the first two times it was hard but I had to do it. I was looked down upon after reporting it but I wanted not only for the harassment to stop but I also felt as though I was speaking up for the women who never felt they could speak up because they were told to keep their mouths shut. The third time it happened, from the same 65-year old old man asshole who had a daughter the same age as me, I went to a lawyer and made it clear to my boss that I went to a lawyer and spoke about what happened and how the company was trying to sweep the actions of this man under the rug. That talk with my attorney was enough to scare the shit out of the company and to finally take me seriously. I didn’t sue the company through many people told me I should, but I felt that the way I stuck up for myself was important. And the assholes at the company who were trying to cover up the sexual harassment are now afraid of me because of the statue of limitations. Good. They should feel scared for covering up harassment and illegal actions.” – RevlisNDlog

This one where it was her supervisor.

“It was my supervisor and yes I reported it. I was led into a small room with 2 dry HR reps who asked me a lot of questions and didn’t look at me. Two weeks later I was led into the same small room and told that after their “investigation” they had decided not to pursue any disciplinary action against my supervisor but I was “free to resign” if I still “felt uncomfortable.” Gee thanks, how kind of you!” – kishbish

This one where she didn’t feel safe enough to report it.

“Yes. Huge place, I was an intern and ironically I was there to work on gender equality. I didn’t report it and yes I regret it.” –AnanasBurn

“I have, and I did report it. They didn’t fire me for that; however, they waited for several months, wrote down everything that I did that might have been considered against company policy, decided that I still couldn’t fired, and then cut my hours from 40 a week to four, essentially making the job nonviable and forcing me to find another one.” – 1fthebeautifulpeople

“Yes, when I was working at a supermarket. One dude kept commenting on my appearance, asking if I had a boyfriend, asking for my number and trying to get me to go on a date with him. Another kept saying he “knew me from somewhere” and kept asking me where I lived (not only my city… but my street and house number too), my birthdate, my full name, etc. It was very creepy. I’ve also witnessed sexual harassment. I had to pay something at the city hall. Behind the main desks were people working on computers and papers. One of the women at the main desk was helping me out, and while she went to look for some things I had to sign, I saw this man harassing his coworkers. He nibbled on the ear of one woman, grabbed another by the waist, then told another to cheer up and nibbled on her ear too. Then he went and kissed the woman who was helping me out on the neck. I guess the woman must’ve seen my stunned face when she came back so she laughed and said: “oh he’s always that way! So funny that one, such a womanizer… He’s always doing those things, grabbing us, kissing us. The newer and younger girls are always creeped out, but I tell them how it is, that’s just how he is. You get used to it, he’s so funny.” – xSolcii

This case where she ended up getting fired.

“Yes. I reported it, no action was taken, and they later did not renew my contract (like a sort of soft sacking) ostensibly due to my needing a week off to have an operation. There was discretion in that policy ie they didn’t have to sack me, and they did renew the contract of a dude in my team who’d been off for longer than me and had worse performance figures. Shrug. I’m fairly sure I could have taken them to court and won (for the original sexual harassment and lack of action and later under the disability discrimination act) but I’m in the middle of my masters and work full time so the timesink was too much. A man at my current job made a comment to me in my first week about the size of his penis and I reported it, he was spoken to the next day (other women had reported him for similar stuff) and now he just ignores me even when we’re the only two people in the room, which is totally fine by me lol. I think it helped that my current supervisor is female.” – Mittenflap

“Yes. I was one of only a few staff members who had to interact with a locally-famous person who was responsible for securing donations we really needed. He was a sexist asshole but everyone expected me to put up with it because he was famous and it was “just a bit of fun!” worth eye-rolling and moving on. It was exhausting and painful. Also, I worked for a while at a company that makes large equipment for international sale. The “benevolent” sexism was constant, and belittling. The outright sexism was a career ender for women there. The company had consolidated some years ago and a number of people were laid off. When promotions and transfers were available, women were overlooked even if qualified and up-to-date in order to advance or rehire a man because “they had families to support” and we were expected to be understanding. So women stayed at the bottom rung and men were moved up and into better positions. This was only about 6 years ago, not in 1950. When I was in college, I worked for a coffee shop where the owner’s ridiculous sexism caused women to quit in record numbers. He believed that women were better cleaners/cooks at home, but not at work because they “didn’t understand business standards” and weren’t strong enough to mop/clean on an “business-sized level.” He also told girls who weren’t as pretty to work in the back when it got busy so that customers would be happier looking at pretty girls. Apparently, how the male employees looked didn’t matter.” – AtTheEolian

“A guy at an internship I used to have would make comments to me about coming and doing work on his lake house with him on weekends and that I could bring a bathing suit and go swimming. He was much older than me, probably 65+, and he talked about it a lot. I was 20 and I tried mentioning often that I had a boyfriend and declined his invitations. He would also try and create situations that would force me to work after 4:30 (when everyone else had left) and I would always refuse. He had been in the company a long time and the employees were at least 85% men. It didn’t feel like it was direct enough to report and the whole company had sort of a slightly sexist atmosphere so I didn’t think I would be taken seriously. It seriously creeped me out and I dreaded running into him at the office.”- tallhokiegirl

In this story, her boss sent her inappropriate text messages and now SHE’S considered a “trouble-maker.”

“My mentor reported it on my behalf. I’m working in a pretty sexist Asian country, so now I have the reputation of being a “trouble-maker”. I still can’t get a job in most banks. I used to have headhunters called me, and I even got a phone call from our competitor’s HR immediately after news got out that I was leaving. She told me she wanted to call me back as soon as she can schedule the time with the guy I’d be working under. When my mentor reported this, I had a friend from another bank ask me about the incident the very next day. Word gets around fast in finance. Never got a call back, can’t get replies either. I’m still in finance, but definitely in a less prestigious bank. Here’s the story of what happened with a link to the messages he sent me. And nope, don’t want to take this further. There are no sexual harassment protections in my country, and my parents are already fucking pissed about me “embarrassing” them by reporting this. Yes, my bank has been sued for gender discrimination and sexual harassment before. All the women had their reputations trashed even though they got a settlement. I don’t want that, I still need a job.”- bankergoesrawrr

“Yes, one of my bosses used to sexually harass me (and other women in the office) constantly. All the incidents were fairly minor and the other women and I would occasionally commiserate together and laugh it off. I was made to feel very uncomfortable, but I never reported him to HR because he was a senior administrator and I was a lowly underling and I am 100% sure that it would have been hushed up, with my dismissal quietly arranged shortly thereafter. And to me it wasn’t worth the inevitable media shitstorm that would have ensued had I gone more public.” – feanorhatesyou

This one that happened despite the fact that she thought her profession would keep her safe.

“I have been sexually harassed at more than one job. At my first job, it got really bad to the point of being sexual assault. I reported it and nothing happened. At 16, I didn’t have much of a home support system and I also thought I’d never work again if I sued, so I didn’t pursue it higher than telling the regional manager. At my second job, I was sexually harassed. A female manager overheard and reported the guy who did it to store management. That guy didn’t get in trouble; instead, I was told by the store manager that I needed to grow up. When I became a lawyer, I believed that I wouldn’t be harassed because surely they’d know better at a law firm. Wrong. At my first job at a solo practitioner firm, the guy would encourage me to date potential clients. At my second job at a different solo firm, my boss would make jokes about what a slut I was. I didn’t report him. There was no one to report him to. Instead, I’d tell him to fuck off. What was really bad about that experience was the secretaries, both women in their 50s, didn’t stand up for me. They acted horrified over my behavior in standing up for myself rather than the boss’ behavior. I was more mad at them as women than I was at him. As an aside, it’s really difficult to maintain a sexual harassment action in my federal circuit. I think it’s because they’ve seen so many of them. You basically have to be actually assaulted to maintain one.” – Maniacalmama

“Yeah but I was a waitress and they were customers. I didn’t report them because they were just stupid comments. My boss did regularly ban people from the restaurant who were super gross to us, though.” –mompants69

“I was an employee at McDonald’s – I was locked in the freezer, sprayed with a hose, my butt slapped with a towel, and porn was shown in the training room.” – FunkyRiffRaff

And finally, this one where the harassment got disturbingly graphic.

“I work as a waitress, so sexual harassment is unfortunately almost par for the course. One time, however, a coworker took it too far. He was always leering ate from the kitchen and saying degrading things under his breathe, but I kind of ignored them. Then, he started using the system we use for scheduling in order to send me messages. He said he wanted to “tear me up” and “have kids with me” and more things that just made me uncomfortable. I printed them, took them to my manager, and he was fired.A week later he threatened me because he knew I cost him his job, but in the end I was glad I did it. No one should put up with that at work.” – irish-ygritte

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Vanessa Guillen’s Family To Meet With Trump And Introduce Bill To Protect Military Personnel Reporting Sexual Harassment

Things That Matter

Vanessa Guillen’s Family To Meet With Trump And Introduce Bill To Protect Military Personnel Reporting Sexual Harassment

Army

Vanessa Guillen’s family participated in a live video with mitú. You can check it out below.

Update July 14, 2020: Pfc Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance and death have shocked the American people. The young woman was a soldier at Fort Hood when she tried to report sexual harassment attacks against her. The Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam is now pushing for a new bill to be passed to help other women in the military.

Vanessa Guillen’s family are preparing to meet with President Donald Trump, file the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill, and protest at the same time.

After Guillen’s remains were found following a search for the missing woman, the family got to work fighting to protect her legacy. Part of that is with the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill.

The bill, which the Guillen family attorney is hopeful about, will empower people in the military to seek justice for sexual harassment and assault. As it stands now, the way people report sexual harassment and assault starts with reporting it to the command chain. Advocates against sexual assault criticize this policy because it allows for the military to hide the allegations.

The #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill would allow military personnel to report these attacks to third parties. People, like Guillen, would no longer need to fear speaking up and facing retaliation. Instead, they would be free to contact law enforcement and have an investigation led by non-military personnel.

The family will be meeting President Trump, introducing the bill, and protesting in honor of Guillen from July 29-30.

Update: Human remains were found near Fort Hood Tuesday, according to several reports. The remains were found near Leon River in Bell County, Texas, and are likely Vanessa Guillen, according to family. Guillen was last seen on April 22 on the base and people have been searching for the missing soldier since.

Human remains have been found near Leon River during the search for Vanessa Guillen.

Human remains have been discovered in a shallow grave near Fort Hood, where Guillen was last seen. In response, Tim Miller, the founder and director of Texas EquuSearch, called off the search. The remains haven’t been positively identified as Vaness Guillen.

“If this can happen to my sister, it can happen to anyone else,” Vanessa’s sister Lupe said at a press conference. “My sister’s no joke. My sister’s a human being. I want justice and I want answers because my sister did not do this to herself.”

The remains were found 26 miles away from the location where the body of Gregory Wedel-Morales’s body was found. Morales went missing in August 2019 and the Army deemed him a deserter. However, the family is fighting for Morales to have a full military burial because he was not a deserter.

Update: Vanessa Guillen’s disappeared in April and there are still no answers. Investigations into her disappearance have not turned up anything but foul-play is suspected. Here is what we know so far about the case.

Vanessa Guillen has been missing since April 22.

The soldier was last seen on April 22 in a parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, at the Fort Hood military base. Guillen was wearing a black shirt, light purple leggings, and black Nike shoes. The personnel of Fort Hood have conducted several detailed searches on the base but have not found Guillen. It has been two months and there is still no answer.

Before going missing, Guillen did confide in her family about the sexual harassment she was experiencing.

Natalie Khawam, the Guillen family’s attorney, said that Guillen was afraid to report the sexual harassment she was dealing with on the base. According to Khawam, Guillen experienced two moments of sexual harassment from a superior. Once when she was showering and he walked in and the other time was a verbal attack with inappropriate language. These allegations are being investigated now.

Guillen’s case is gaining more publicity and the public demands justice for the young woman.

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@findvanessaguillen

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CBS News has reported that Guillen’s mother has demanded an investigation from the beginning but nothing happened. According to the mother, she asked Fort Hood officials to begin an intense search for her daughter when she went missing.

“They took too long to look for my daughter because I begged from the start for them to close the base and put their over 30,000 soldiers to look for my daughter and they didn’t do it,” she said in Spanish, according to CBS News. “Why put on a show now to say you’ve looked for a my daughter? Why now? I demand justice and I demand their respect and for my daughter as a a soldier.” 

Public pressure keeps growing with calls for justice for Vanessa Guillen.

The allegations of sexual harassment in the military are bringing up a past sentiment. The military first faced scrutiny for rampant sexual assault and harassment that came to light in the early 2010s. Women came forward sharing their stories and the nation paid attention.

Guillen’s case is putting the spotlight back on the military and sexual misconduct on bases. The lack of information after two months of pleas from the family to investigate hasn’t turned up any leads. People are demanding answers and justice.

Fort Hood officials are asking for anyone with information about Guillen to call (254) 495-7767. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information as well.

READ: NBC Says It Will Release The NDAs That Sexual Harassment Survivors Were Forced To Sign

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