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”.
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.
Toxic masculinity might not always be so easy to report. Sometimes, because of how outlandish, how underhanded it is, we often struggle to report it as women. After all, fears of being too outspoken, or “dramatic,” or sensitive loom large.
Recently women on reddit decided to speak out about the things men do that scare them that men might not often realize.
The responses to the Reddit post were pretty eye-opening and relatable.
“Getting really intense about our relationship/ friendship really early on. A lot of guys turn women into this kind of fantasy thing that’s supposed to make them whole/ help them change or whatever. Sir I am the main character in my own life, not just a supporting one in yours. When you put that pressure on me right away abs without reciprocation, I know that I don’t actually matter, you’ve been taught that women serve you.”- clarkthecatismyguy
“I have gone on a lot of dates in the last few years and every single time the reason for me having doubts and calling things off has been this exact thing. I always feel like the side character in the conversation, while simultaneously carrying the conversation (not always but a lot of the time). A lot of effort with very little pay off. They’ll never ask questions, just waiting for me to react to their ‘wild’ stories and them trying to ‘educate’ me on things they like because I’m so unenlightened. Then after the date, instantly saying they’re very interested in me when they know literally nothing about me, due to not asking a single question about my own interests or life. It’s like… what planet are you on? What do you think you even like about me? You don’t know me.”- OtherSideOfTheTune
“Messages you on a dating app commenting on having found your profile and that they are in the same location as you, they can see you but you can’t see them. I had a guy do this on a fully packed train I was on to go to work. I’m not an anxious person but it felt really uncomfortable.”- elgrn1
“English isn’t my first language so I can’t really generalize this but asking if I need a ride and keep pestering me when I decline.
I used to walk home from school when this old man literally parked his car in front of me while I was crossing a small parking lot and asked if I needed a ride. I lied and said the house at the end of the block was my house. He did it a bunch more times until I had to change my walking route. It was a longer way but I felt safe again.”- Scarlet_B9
“I had to walk the long way to and from school because there were a series of assaults on schoolgirls. It’s so unfair; rapists rape and we’re the ones who have to adjust our behaviour.”- allhailtheboi
“A man chased me out of a bar and into the street one night to get my number. I’d like to say that’s the worst part of the story, but it’s not. He wasn’t chasing me to get my number for himself–he was doing it for his friend. They were both in their early 30s.
Literally none of that is okay. Don’t chase people. It’s not cute. I blame romcoms for people failing to see how uncomfortable this makes women.”- RoeRoeRoeYourVote
“I took the light rail from school to home and this one guy decided he was going to sit next to me on a decently empty light rail. I was just minding my own business. He started asking pretty personal questions. I ended up learning he was in a relationship!! (So was I at the time). He literally missed his stop to get off at the same stop as me and wanted to walk me home. I wasn’t comfortable with that for obvious reasons so I told him he can go that way to take the light rail back to his stop because I gotta go this other way, and he wouldn’t leave until I gave him some sort of contact info.
This is only one of many instances I dealt with men going out of their way to make me feel uncomfortable on the street or on public transport, it’s extremely awkward and quite scary while it’s happening since you don’t know who these people are and how they will react if you don’t smile, nod and act friendly until they’re gone and leave you alone.”- katsaurus
“I want to add strangers offering rides. Has happened to me so many times. A guy once watched me walk past his car at a cross walk and when his light turned green he had followed me, like had to do a U turn to get to where I was to offer me a ride. I’m obviously not going to get in a car with a stranger so they’re either stupid or dangerous.”- SailorSpoon11
“I had a mild creeper problem with a guy I worked with. Too vague for me to go to HR about but serious enough that I got a new position in a different lab.
The final day of the job I was leaving, dude showed up while I was testing at our new site, which wasn’t staffed yet and where we didn’t spend much time. 3 story building, nobody else would be there until the next day. He worked night shift and it was maybe 11am. The only way he could have known where I was was if he’d been watching me or if my shift partner had told him, I never found out which.
There was only one door to the lab and he was blocking it. I thought he was there to kill me. He’s 6’4″ and I’m just under 5’3″.
He congratulated me on my new job and then left a “goodbye gift”. It was the gift he got from me from the office secret Santa, nine months earlier, which he had not unwrapped, and had then wrapped again, to look like a different gift.
Then he left and I used the lab phone to call first my husband and then an off duty coworker I trusted and told them exactly what happened in case I didn’t make it home, then called the south site security guard to escort me to my car. I still didn’t call HR because the guy knew where I lived. I went to my new job and he didn’t talk to me again and I was never on site alone again.
I had a lot of nightmares about it and I still panic if someone blocks a door.”- techlabtech
“While talking online and I say “I don’t know about meeting up” and their response is “You are more likely to be raped by someone you actually know in person”
“I’ve been approached several times in public by random men who say they want to be friends with me. One leaned in really close to have a conversation and asked me where I was from and where I live. Another grabbed my hands and remarked on how soft my skin is. Another one literally locked arms with me and dragged me to a coffee shop to “get to know me” and then later told me to come with him to a more private place for a view of the city. I weakly joke about it sometimes but in the moment it really does make me nervous. I don’t know if I just look really unimposing (I’m an Asian woman but I’m taller than average?) but I’m not sure why it happens. Regardless, please don’t just grab random women, even out of friendliness, and respect personal space.”- kerbula
“Asian woman here too. This happened to me a lot in NYC. A few times I got so sick of it I’d scream at them in the middle of the street and make a scene. They usually skitter away immediately. I hate to do that, but it’s just infuriating.”- foodsexreddit
“It’s so creepy. Most recent time that happened I was just taking a walk by myself to unwind from confinement and this dude just catches up with me and says he want to be my friend, just asking a bunch of personal questions and wanting to know exactly where I live. Eventually I told him I’m married and he said “oh I just want to be friends”. I was originally gonna go the same way he was going but ended up taking a different path.”- naughtydismutase
“I’m a bartender, and it’s amazing how tactless people can be as they get drunker. They just want to keep me by them by asking me question after question, so I have to cross the line into being rude if I want to put a stop to it. Sometimes, people come up with actually some pretty silly things to ask me, and it can be fun to engage them. But I absolutely HATE:
is this your only job? Where else do you work?
do you live close to here?
oh you’re closing huh? When do you usually get out of here?
when do you work next? Do you normally work on this day of the week?
what are you doing after this?
I don’t think ppl always realize how they sound when they ask me these questions but I’ve honestly been asked them so much its ridiculous. And honestly, threatening undertones aside, they’re the most utterly boring questions you could ask someone. The worst of the worst of small talk. How some men manage to be both unnerving and bore me to tears at the same time is utterly fascinating.”- FudgeJudy4booty
“Or following me to do it. I’ve had several guys stop me in the street and explain they saw me 5 blocks back and have followed me all that way to talk to me. I guess they think it’s a compliment they were that committed to come after me. For me it’s terrifying and unhinged.”- Own-Bridge4210
“The maintenance guy at a condo I now rent out still thinks I’m a rude bitch for not wanting to talk to him first time we met, which was me alone walking a puppy at a park across the street from the condos. Never properly introduced himself or anything, just starts asking me if I’m new and which unit I moved into.
Alarm bells were flying off in my head at this guy who was clearly over 20yrs my senior asking where exactly I live and then he got extremely butthurt over me ignoring him and walking away.”- Ixi7311
“Any time someone tries really hard to convince me he’s a “nice guy”. Every guy I’ve met that desperately brings it up every chance he gets isn’t usually very nice. It always makes me wonder what are they trying to hide? Like why do I have to think you’re nice? Prove it with your actions, don’t tell me repeatedly.”- ElectricPinkMango
“I had a taxi driver hit on me, question me about my love life and ask for my number. I was literally locked in a moving vehicle with the guy, how are you supposed to feel safe saying no?! Luckily, I think he was just a nice clueless guy so I felt safe enough to negotiate and take his number instead of giving mine out.”- ineedapostrophes
There’s no doubt that sexual harassment can have quite an impact on a victim.
In 2014, a research study surveyed 17,335 female victims of sexual assault who said in the most serious experiences of sexual assault that they had endured many felt emotions such as “anger, annoyance, and embarrassment.” A terrible thought considering that the people who inflict these feelings often walk away from the experience without so much as a second thought.
Women on Reddit have spoken about these experiences that have affected them for decades.
Here they are below.
“I was 7 when some weird-ass guy wanted me to show him the girl’s changing room at the swimming pool. Luckily I had the common sense to go looking for my teacher. I was 11 when the ‘normal’ harassment started with guys twice to thrice my age tried to hit me up and go out with me. The very first guy I remember trying to chat me up in the bus tried to convince me to tell him I was 18, when it finally sank in that I wasn’t lying when I said I was 11, he had the graciousness to go completely white in his face and flee the bus at the next stop. I was 13 when a guy at the bus stop tried to convince me to go on a love-week-end to Paris with him. He was easily 40.” –BerriesAndMe
“Why are there so many perverted men out there??? Every single one of my friends has these crazy stories starting from like eight years old.”- kisscuddle
“13 or 14. Guy in his early 20’s comes to me, asks if I’m a virgin because he only dates virgins. Me being a shy timid person just stared at him and couldn’t form any reply. Just froze on the spot.” –Countess_Yiffy
“All these stories start when girls turn 12-14, and that is so sad.
Most of us didn’t feel “sexy” at this age. What is more, some girls don’t know what is “sexy” is. More, 12 years old girls feel shy about their bodies: their breasts start growing (to be honest, it’s painful), and the first period can be a shock. It’s a very delicate and susceptible part of a women’s life.
And these jerks think they have privilege says how attractive we are —making us feel that we are dirty and it’s our fault. Hate it.” –Jan_Levinsson
“I was 5. Was standing on jungle gym on the playground And an older boy came up to me and grabbed my spandex and underwear and stretched out my underwear and looked at my privates. I did not know how to use my voice or stand up for myself. I climbed off the jungle gym and sat under it and cried. I remember feeling so embarrassed and violated. I never told anyone. Just remembered that and will probably talk to my therapist about it.” –siennasolo
“I was 12, at a BBQ my parents were having. I was in a bathing suit because we had a pool. A friend of a friend of my dads said he’d like to leave his wife there and take me home instead. I didn’t say anything because I was so ashamed. I put clothes on and stayed in my room the rest of the party – even though an adult overheard him and he was forced to leave.” – sassylittlespoon
“I remember when I was 9 or 10 I went to the beach with a new two-piece swimsuit that I was super happy to wear because it had sparkles and made me look like a mermaid. It was one of those where the bottom part had a skirt attached so I liked to twirl to see the skirt twirl. Some dude went “Do that again, sweetheart!” and then whistles and said something about “legs for days” I remember being really embarrassed and ashamed and didn’t want to tell anyone because my parents would make it a big deal, and then it would be my fault for ruining the beach day for my brothers.
“At 12, playing in the pool. A man probably in his 40s/50s kept staring at me intensely and made a comment like, “Wow, look at how hot that girl is!” My mom overheard and immediately said, “That’s my daughter and she’s fucking 12, what is wrong with you?!” I don’t remember what happened next. But I’ll never forget the way that man looked at me, and how my stomach dropped to my feet and my face burned. I felt so ashamed.” –offendingpastry
“About 12. On my period, looking and feeling like Shyte. Simply walking home from the shops. Was wearing jeans and an oversized T-shirt. This asshole and his late 20-something year old friends start hooting their car, and hanging out the windows while catcalling me. Ignore it. When they suddenly come around again and drive slowly past me and they keep saying how sexy they think I am. I had a moment where I though “ oh god this is how people end up getting kidnapped. There are four of them, and one of me. Even if I run I won’t make it very far.” I started walking faster, and eventually, I assume that they got bored, and sped off. I basically ran home. I have similar incidents but this was the one that came to mind first.” –indigoshaman
“I had one instance last year, I was out for a run, it was dark but I always ran in a safe small neighborhood. A pickup truck drives by and I hear the driver say something then all of a sudden the truck came to a halt and just sat in the street waiting for me to catch up. I saw what was going to happen so I stopped on the sidewalk a bit way back and hid in the shadow of a tree until the truck finally drove away. And they were mad cos they squealed their tires and everything. I’m glad I stopped. I was so scared of what could’ve happened, I ran so fast home and stopped running for a bit because of it.” –APainInWomensClothes
“Mine was also at 12 years old. I was walking home from school, wearing normal jeans and a t-shirt. [I hate that I feel the need to explain what I was wearing]. A truck slowed down to keep pace with me, and a man yelled, “I’d like to bend your ass over the hood of my truck!” Another man laughed from inside the truck. I didn’t quite understand what that meant, but I figured it must be a pervert thing. I got scared they might try to grab me, so I ran into some random person’s backyard, since I figured they couldn’t drive through there. I told my dad what happened, and he was furious.” –TheOtherZebra
“I was 7. I had this beautiful dress that had a full circle skirt and I spun around in it because how can you not when you’re 7 and you love your dress?
My uncle’s friend(M, 50s) was there and he told me to spin again because he could see my underwear. I remember just feeling so gross and afraid. I told my mom and she was livid. We left and I was never allowed near that man.
I also couldn’t wear that dress afterwards without thinking about how that incident made me feel. It definitely took a little bit of my innocence away.” –
“When I was seven I was walking by some older kids (early college) at a pool. I was adjusting my swim suit straps by sticking my fingers under them and lifting them up, so you could see skin but not in my top. I remember one of the girls went really loudly “OoOoO showing off for the boys” and the boys started whistling and jeering. I was so uncomfortable and embarrassed I hid behind some pool hosing until my mom came to get me (she left me at the pool at the YMCA while she pretended to work out for two hours).” –retroverted_uterus
“That happened to me this year, I’m 25. I was on the bus on the way to church and a man sexually harassed me. He included crude comments about the pattern on my dress. It broke my heart.” –MaroneyOnAWindyDay
“My dad told me not to eat bananas like a whore when I was 11-12. I was very confused and didn’t make the association with bananas looking like dicks until many many years later.” –Idk_whats_real
“I was 9 or 10 and a neighbor kid (7 or 8M) grabbed my ass one day while I was out playing kickball with the other neighbor kids. I didn’t know what to do so I just went inside. Didn’t even finish my turn. Did what I could to avoid him until we ended up in school again. Looking back, hate how young this happened at on both our ends. About the same age, one of my dads friends made a comment about my chest and how much I looked like a boy and how he couldn’t wait to see what I looked like in a few years. Again, just avoided him after that. On a much better note, I (27F) recently have found myself managing a bar where it’s all regulars. One of them, R (M30), told another regular, D (M60), that we were going to hook up and D asks, “Yeah, but does she know that?” and got R to back off without me having to say anything to him. It’s honestly some of the alliances that really make a females life easier.” –BeanieBlitz
“Seven or eight? My sister (1 year older) and I had just gotten furry boots for Christmas and were wearing them out. Three teenagers on bikes stopped us and started going off about how sexy we were in those boots and wouldn’t let us pass. I remember being confused and scared. My sister who was blonde, always got the worst of it though. She was raped at the age of 16 and was never the same since, that led to a downward spiral and eventually her death last year.” –Scoobymaybe
“A step cousin asked to see what color panties I was wearing. I was probably 6.
I was a waitress at 15, a man I was serving said “I should be in prison for the thoughts I’ve had about you” Never forgot that one.
Edit: I have worked in restaurants since then and have enough stories to write a book. I’m 30 and I own the restaurant now. This shit does not fly with me!” –meatmama
“I was 12 and was babysitting my younger brother (11yrs younger than me) and took him to the park and someone apparently assumed he was my son and told me to keep my legs shut next time. I had to ask a friend what it meant. It mostly just made me afraid of being a teen parent, and being publicly shamed. Edited to add: wow, this is clearly a common experience for so many people- sorry to all of you who have also been victim to people’s weird obsession with teen pregnancy and who feel their only possible course of action is to slut shame children!” –Peskypikachu
“I insisted I have my own room and that I didn’t want to share a bed with my mum, so she put me in a room with her scuba diving friend that was renting the room next to us. She obviously trusted him or something to put me in there. He would make comments about how I would grow up to have a nice body – a remark that I never understood because I was 7! I ended getting molested by that son of a b*tch and I never grasped what he had done until YEARS later. Now I distance myself from older men. I grew up being wary of others.” –hafyu
“I was 8, I was helping my younger cousin on to her tricycle so I picked her up and as I was bent over from picking her up some creep on a bike whistled at me and yell “aye mami”. I was in pink shorts and a matching Winnie the Pooh shirt. My dad chased him down the street with a bat.
 I just remembered this one. Another time was when I was 9 and my cousins and I were swimming in a river in between two hills. Our parents were on one hill BBQing and the other was too steep for anyone to climb up so the only way you could get to the side facing the river was by going over the hill from the other side and hope to God you wouldn’t slide down the hill and into the rocky river. Anyway my cousins and I are splashing each other and being kids. I see something out of the corner of my eye and see this big fat white guy looking at us through binoculars. So me being a kid thought him having binoculars was cool so I yell and point “HEY LOOK HE’S GOT BINOCULARS!” And once I said that took off pulling his pants up. When I was like 17 or 18 I realized he was jerking off to us playing in the water in our swimsuits.
 for those that are confused as to why I put the guys race in the story, that is how my 9 year old brain chose to remember him. We lived in a mostly Latinx community so seeing this random pale white guy was not a common occurrence. The only white people I came across as a child was when we went to different cities or the teachers at school. Take it as you will.” –princesspotato92
“I was 7 years old, I was at a place called “Health World” it was an exhibit about the human body, that was really popular at the time. There was also a large group of highschoolers there with their school at the time. 6 boys, tried to gang rape me in one of the exhibit halls when they thought no one was looking. They were all 15-17. It started with them making comments about my skirt (“That’s a short skirt, Little Mama”) and one of them backed me into a wall. It was a blur from there. I remember someone saying “HOld her down, make sure she can’t fight.” and I started screaming for my mom and my cousin.
The difference of time, between my mother stepping away to get my cousin from a trash can (she threw up), and them trying this was like five minutes. They dropped me, before they could get my clothes off but I remember very vividly how horrible it was. I felt so violated and scared and dirty…
I repressed how violent this encounter actually was, until my ex-bff’s mom slut shamed me saying “You must be a little slut, after all those boys couldn’t keep their hands off you at that musuem.” (and yes they were punished but a teacher tried to actually defend them and tried to say it was my fault… Until my mom pointed to me, sitting on a chair in the corner, in my little pink skirt, my Little Mermaid T-shirt and my pink Winx Club sneakers. He still tried to keep defending it even when my mom pointed out “SHE’S SEVEN YEARS OLD. HOW IS IT TO ANY OF YOU, THAT TRYING TO GANG RAPE A SEVEN YEAR OLD SEEMS LIKE IT WAS A PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE THING? IS THIS WHAT YOUR TEACHING THEM!?”)