Shortly after Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller was assaulted at a New Zealand music festival over New Year’s, a video of her reaction went viral.
The footage shows the 20-year-old’s attacker and fellow Rhythm and Vines festival-goer, running up and groping her breasts. It also shows Madeline and her friend Kiri-Ann Hatfield turning around to confront the man, yelling and hitting him.
In the days that followed, while some chose to debate her outfit, many of us had another thought on our minds: what would we do in that situation?
Listen: Should we encourage our daughters to retaliate with violence if they’re groped? Post continues after audio.
It might not be something you’d ever considered, but each year there are reports of assaults at festivals, including at least three at this year’s Falls Festival in Tasmania. Add to this the fact that one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime, and it’s worth knowing what to do.
With this in mind, Mamamia spoke to Senior Sergeant Brett Meadows of Victoria Police’s Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Team. He told us that while there was no “best” way to respond to a groping attack of this kind, whether at a festival or another public space, there were some things he advised doing to stay safe and hopefully see the person involved charged.
Prioritise your own safety
Snr Sgt Meadows emphasises your own safety is the number one thing to prioritise in this scenario and encouraged anyone assaulted to ensure they are in a safe position before the consider taking action against the person responsible.
“The first advice is to move away… make some space. If you are in a crowd, call out, you want people around to know something inappropriate has taken place,” he says, adding this could be ‘that bastard just grabbed me’.
“That should stop the behaviour.”