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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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Credit: Screenshot via CBS/WBZ

A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.

In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.

It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.

But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.

“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.

Per Fontanez, the incidents escalated until the day in question when she was assaulted at the firehouse by Sanchez.

After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.

In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”

While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.

“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.

Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses. 

“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”

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Women Share The Moments They Regreted Staying Silent In Uncomfortable Situations

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Women Share The Moments They Regreted Staying Silent In Uncomfortable Situations

Ponomariova_Maria /Getty

Sexual harassment and assault of women is rampant across every country, culture, workplace, and industry. Sadly, it’s common for women to have to endure harassment and for comfort sake’s or a desire to remain safe, stay quiet. Recently, women on Twitter shared what it’s like to have to be quiet in uncomfortable situations they realize are harmful or unsafe.

 *Trigger Warning: the stories in this piece deal with sexual harassment and assault.*

They’re also sharing their personal, horrifying stories.

Check them out below.

“This is a terrible feeling. A couple years ago I went into a neurologist’s office for an EEG, which involved attaching dozens of electrodes to my scalp. The tech who was attaching them told me how silky my hair was. Began asking me questions about whether I was single, if I ever planned to have kids. Later, he asked me my weight. Told me I was too thin (I had a BMI of 22-23) and that men liked women with more weight on them. I was 33 years old, and for the first time in my life—after growing up in a highly abusive, silencing household—I spoke up. Told him how unprofessional he was being, and that I would file a complaint. He said, ‘Do what you need to do.’ And then I did. I filed that goddamn complaint with shaking hands. It felt awful and uncomfortable and I have no regrets about doing it. I hope it made a difference.” –ennovahs

“This is the worst part of being a victim. The urge to make it go away, you want to believe if you move on, you can’t be upset by it. But it doesn’t work like that, it just hits the snooze button. Enough shitty moments like that and your jenga tower comes down and you turn into a salty bitter person that loses faith in humanity and it’s so much harder to heal from later than if you do something and process it now, enforce your boundaries now. It also like, primes you to let it happen again the next time. You let this one slide, and then someone else does something else inappropriate later and it’s like “where do I draw the line? I didn’t say something that other time”. And then when you finally reach the limit, all the other times you let people violate your boundaries without saying something haunt you and you can’t tell if it’s your fault or theirs Take care of yourself by honoring and enforcing your own boundaries. Don’t create additional pain you’ll have to heal from later with your own self-betrayal. You are worth the effort it takes to file a report, even when it’s exhausting. Is there a way you could offer to help her file? Like figuring out how to do it and helping her fill it out? If she says no, that’s her right. But I feel like so often we get betrayed twice, once by others and once by ourselves.” –valicat

“I got felt up by my masseuse and then he asked for my phone number. I just froze said I have a boyfriend and went to pay. Later I was telling my friend about it in a haha can you believe that happened and my friend looked at me all serious and said, so you were sexually assaulted, tipped him for it then want to laugh about it. I started crying and then went through the hell of having to report him and getting his license revoked.” –pulchritudinousss

“We should complain, though. For our sisters. My company offered an in-house massage therapist. Nothing like saving up coffee breaks for a proper massage! But he was … personal without being sleezy, like, “Nice breasts for a woman your age” said in a neutral tone of voice. He also liked to be rough when massaging. I like a hard massage, but the other stuff wasn’t right. When he offered to give me massages as his private office (elsewhere in town), my gut instinct kicked in and I said no, and I also stopped seeing him at work. A month later, he was gone. Somebody else had complained. I was disappointed in myself for not speaking up. I hadn’t overreacted about him and it wasn’t just me.”-ThinkbigShrinktofit

“As a woman who kept quiet when people did or said things to me that made me uncomfortable until I was in my 40s (all in the name of avoiding confrontation, not upsetting the other person, wanting to be liked, etc.), it took one really bad experience to finally realize that enough was enough. People are going to be shitty and there isn’t anything I can do that will change how shitty of a person they are. But, I can actually start telling them how unacceptable their behavior is and if it continues to happen, remove them from my life. It’s been rough, trying to speak up when warranted. Sometimes, I come off as pretty harsh. But, people are starting to realize that I’m not going to allow that type of behavior anymore. It has cost me some ‘friendships’ but my life is actually much better off without them in it.” –idreamofgin

“Speaking from experience, I can understand your friend not wanting to do anything. I was getting a physical for the military. The last person I see is this old guy. We are told to strip down to our underwear. This guy is asking all these medical questions, poking and touching. Turn your head and cough stuff. I can’t remember how, but at some point he called me cutie. I later said something to the military person running the facility and it turned into an investigation into me. After being repeatedly told my entry would be delayed, but if I withdrew my “comment” I could ship for basic training. My experience is nothing compared with what a lot of what women go through in similar situations. Every time I hear of a rape, I think about how much more horrible it would be. Any woman that comes forward and presses charges is braver than I ever could be.” –Barbuckles

“Went to take my husband to work and the man at the check station pointed out my tongue ring and made vaguely sexual statements about it like how I ‘must be fun.’ Insanely inappropriate. I was a little bitch so I cried when I got home. I did report him but he still worked there through the season.”-hattallb1tch

Uncomfortable Situations
Five women of different nationalities and cultures standing together. Friendship poster, the union of feminists or sisterhood. The concept of gender equality and of the female empowerment movement.

“I had a similar experience. I’d been having intense lower abdominal/pelvis pains and went to get an ultrasound because my doctor was concerned. Went to the place and the guy was being super rough with the thing, and it hurt. I let out a gasp of pain because it had been painful even without someone mashing an ultrasound thingy right in the painful spot, like it felt like someone just stabbed me; and he just laughed and said ‘Don’t get so excited, I haven’t gone that low down yet.’ and winked. Turned my stomach. Like, okay I am no longer comfortable being in a room alone with you, with your hands at hip level. But he seemed so comfortable making such an inappropriate joke that it’s like… this shithead probably gets away with doing it all the time. My boyfriend was furious and just couldn’t understand why I was apathetic about it. It’s something you get used to. Those casual threatening sexual jokes.”- cinnamonbrook

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