news

Madeline was groped at a music festival. Yet she's copping public hate for her outfit.

Twenty-year-old Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller was welcoming the new year the same way as many as her friends: by attending New Zealand music festival Rhythm and Vines.

But her fun memories with her friends have now been marred by controversy after video footage of her ‘attacking’ a man who had groped her breast went viral across the globe.

You see, Madeline and a friend, like many of the other 25,000 revellers at the festival, had decided they would go topless during the three-day festival. Thanks to a service offered by a vendor on-site at the festival, the women had their nipples covered with flesh-coloured pasties, and the rest of their chests coated in glitter and jewels.

Dress up night tonight!!Dress to impress ⭐️???? [email protected]_foss

A post shared by Rhythm and Vines (@rhythmandvines) on

The ‘glitter boob‘ look has become increasingly popular among festival-goers the world over and is hardly an uncommon sight. But one man thought that Madeline’s bare chest was an invitation to have free reign of her body.

In the video, shared on Facebook by fellow festival attendee Giann Reece, the man can be seen running up behind Madeline and her friend, Kiri-Ann Hatfield, and groping her chest.

madeline festival groping
The man can be seen grabbing Madeline (L) in the video. Image via Facebook.
ADVERTISEMENT

Madeline and Kiri-Ann both turn abruptly, following the man back to his seat, throwing a drink on him before hitting, slapping and punching the man in retaliation.

madeline festival groping
Image via Facebook.

Many have said the man's actions didn't justify her violent response, while others have blamed Madeline for wearing an outfit that "attracted that sort of attention".

"As much as I believe that touching someone without their consent is assault, but seriously, why is this woman topless. Why wasn't she charged with indecent exposure?" one person shared on Facebook in response to the video.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Maybe she should out some bloody clothes on!" another wrote.

LISTEN: As parents, should we teach our daughters to be violent if they're groped? We discuss on our podcast for imperfect parents. Post continues after.

Other comments labelled Madeline as a "fool" and an "attention-seeker" and others told her to "keep her shirt on" to avoid being touched unwillingly.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, the 20-year-old has defended her actions - both to go topless and to confront her attacker - saying that her reaction was a result of being continually harassed throughout the three day festival.

"There was a lot of built up anger coming from harassment throughout the day," she said.

"He grabbed my breast. I hit him."

madeline festival
Madeline, pictured with her boyfriend Max, says she does not regret her actions. Image via Facebook.

"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."

Despite being faced with abuse from both men and women over her choice in attire - even while wearing a sheer T-shirt - Madeline refused to change after the attack and continued on with her New Year's celebrations.

"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," she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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."

Madeline's friends were also quick to praise her stance - and her actions - on social media.

madeline festival
Madeline said she had been harassed throughout the three-day festival because of her outfit choices. Image via Facebook.

"So proud of my friends sticking up for themselves!" friend Melanie Appleton wrote on Facebook.

"If you honestly think that she deserved to be touched for wearing a common festival costume done [by] professionals then actually delete me because you can't fix that level of stupidity.

"Look but don't touch."

Madeline's boyfriend, Max Ashford, called his girlfriend an "inspiration" and "the most bad ass girl I've ever met".

Madeline's story isn't the only harassment tale that's come out of recent music festivals: a 32-year-old man has been charged after he allegedly grabbed a woman's breast in a mosh pit at the Falls music festival in Tasmania.

Two other women also reported being assaulted by men at the same festival.

LISTEN to the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud, where Mia, Jessie and Holly discuss their 'words' for 2018:

00:00 / ???