WELLINGTON: A woman who was filmed attacking the man who groped her at a music festival has defended her actions, and the outfit she was wearing.
Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller, 20, was wearing a skirt and only glitter covering her chest when she was groped by a fellow reveller at the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisbourne, New Zealand.
The American-born woman and her friend Kiri-Ann Hatfield followed the man, threw a drink in his face, and proceeded to punch him.
Now Anello-Kitzmiller has spoken out to defend her response, claiming that no one has a right to touch her body, regardless of what she chooses to wear.
“I stand by my actions and hope that I’ve inspired women to feel comfortable in their bodies, no matter how they look,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
“He grabbed my breast. I hit him,” she added. “There was a lot of built-up anger coming from harassment throughout the day. This happens everywhere, not just in New Zealand.”
“A human’s body is their own, and nobody has a right to touch you without your consent, regardless of what they’re wearing.”
Her boyfriend praised Anello-Kitzmiller on Facebook, sharing a photo of the happy couple alongside the caption: “You are such an inspiration and the most bad-ass girl I’ve ever met, love you!”
Despite what happened, Anello-Kitzmiller says, the incident didn’t detract from her enjoyment of the event, and she remained topless for the rest of the New Year’s festival.
Anello-Kitzmiller says it wasn’t the first time she witnessed harassment at the event, claiming she was abused by both male and female festivalgoers the day before the incident when she was wearing a T-shirt.
Sexual harassment at festivals has been making headlines of late. Last year, Sweden’s largest music event, Bråvalla, was cancelled following a string of sexual assault and rape complaints.
Organizers of the four-day camping event announced they were cancelling the 2018 event after police received four rape and 23 sexual-assault reports at the festival in July. This has prompted the first-ever women-only music festival. Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare is organising the “man-free” event, named the Statement Festival.
“Together we are making a statement against sexual assaults by creating a safe space for women, nonbinary, and trans people that want to attend festivals and feel secure at the same time,” the radio host tweeted. “We don’t think this is too much to ask for!”