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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