In a shocking turn of events, a music festival in Gisborne, New Zealand witnessed a topless woman being grabbed by a male attendee at a New Year’s Eve music festival.
Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller, 20, from Portland, Oregon, was seen walking through the field with her breasts covered in glitter at the Rhythm and Vines festival in Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island, NZ when the unidentified offender ran behind and groped her; before shuttling off and perching himself on the grassy area nearby, according to a New Zealand Herald report.
However, Anello, who was accompanied by her boyfriend's sister Kiri-Ann Hatfield, gave it right back to him by walking straight to where the man was and pelting him with several punches in the face, while Kiri threw her drink at him.
People can be heard reacting in shock, with one woman exclaiming: “I got that all on video.” The footage was uploaded to Facebook but later deleted.
Watch the video here:
No apologies. No regrets
In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Anello stated how her actions have opened her to a barrage of bouquets and brickbats, but she regrets nothing that she did. "I stand by my actions and hope that I've inspired women to feel comfortable in their bodies, no matter how they look, and to stick up for themselves when anybody says otherwise, or tries to deny you the right to protect your own body," she stated.
Madeline added: "He grabbed my breast. I hit him. There was a lot of built up anger coming from harassment throughout the day. This happens everywhere, not just New Zealand."
Anello's boyfriend, Max Ashworth came out in support of his partner and defended her actions too, stating on Facebook: "What the f*** happened to treating people with love and respect? I'm so disappointed that people are still so ignorant here. P.S. she didn't let that ruin our night, we literally danced till sunrise and had the best night ever despite everything."
With #Metoo and #Timesup movement gaining momentum rapidly across the world, in Anello's opinion, it's time that people realize that what one wears has got nothing to do with sexual harassment.
"A human's body is their own, and nobody has a right to touch you without your consent, regardless of what they're wearing or the lack thereof," she added.
Anello further revealed that one day earlier, she had worn a sheer top, and even when clothed, she was sexually harassed by both male and female festival-goers.
In a video, Anello explained how the incident, unsurprisingly, is one among the many incidents that happen across the globe. She lashed out at commenters who suggested that she was 'asking for it' and 'promoting rape culture' by wearing just glitter to cover up her breasts.
One user wrote: "Well, that's what she gets when she wears something like that."
Another user added: "Well... when you are walking around naked, you're kinda throwing out a kinda vibe to sort of expect that."
Anello retorted by stating that she loves getting naked and the problem is not the clothing. Hence, stop victim blaming,' the 20-year-old told the camera.
Watch what she had to say about the incident here:
"Comments stating that I was asking for it ... are the ones promoting rape culture," she added further. "In the end, we are all born naked, and each human is uniquely similar to the next in that we all have a naked body. You don't look at yourself in the shower and say 'ew, disgusting' right?" she explained.
"So why should anybody say that to anybody else? A human's body is their own, and nobody has a right to touch you without your consent, regardless of what they're wearing or the lack thereof."
Anello also explained how she still hasn’t received a sincere apology from the offender.
Anello told the NZ Herald how the man laughed with his friends as the crowd riled up against him: “It wasn’t sincere at all. I had no idea who he was ... he just hid his face.”
Rhythm and Vines event manager Dan Turner told New Zealand Herald that they were 'incredibly disappointed' by the 'harassment'.
"We are incredibly aware of the issues that arise at music events, particularly in large crowds," he said.
"We want our customers to enjoy themselves in a safe environment and be able to express themselves in a way that is in keeping with other international European festivals."
The Rhythm and Vines festival in New Zealand boasts of being the 'first place in the world to welcome the first sunrise of the New Year'. Every December, around 30,000 revelers descend on the Waiohika Estate vineyard for three straight days of revelry.
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