Waitress who fought back against man who groped her speaks out

A waitress who fought back against a man accused of groping her while she was on a shift has spoken publicly about her reaction.

Emelia Holden, 21, says she did not give it much thought when she lashed out at the man who can be seen touching her backside last month at a pizza restaurant in the US.

“I just did it. I didn’t even know I could do that,” Ms Holden told Inside Edition.

“I don’t care who you are. You have no right to disrespect me.”

A man touched Emelia from behind while she worked. Photo: News Dog Media

Surveillance footage of the incident, which took place on June 30 at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s in Savannah, has now been shared widely online.

In the video Ms Holden appears to have finished taking an order and walks to a counter before a man can be seen touching her backside.

She does not stand for his actions, grabbing the man by his shoulder, throwing him into a counter, and yelling in his face.

“I don’t know how I reacted the way I did. I’ve never done that before,” the 21-year-old told People. 

A 31-year-old man was arrested following the incident. Photo: News Dog Media

Many who have seen the video have been praising her actions, with numerous Facebook users telling Ms Holden she is their “hero”.

 “You have given me strength to defend myself no matter what!” one person wrote.

“Thank you for the zero tolerance message,” said another. 

However, not everyone agrees it was the right way to react. One social media users labelled Ms Holden‘s actions as “a bit excessive”.

Photo: Facebook/Emelia Holden

A self-defence expert, named Jennifer Cassetta, also said earlier in the week that this reaction wouldn’t work for everyone.

“In martial arts, you’re trained to try and defuse a situation, versus being the first one to attack,” Jennifer tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“However, some situations call for you to be preemptive.”

She added it is best to assess the situation before reacting if you have a moment to do so. 

According to Inside Edition, the accused groper was believed to be having dinner with his wife at the time of this incident.

The 31-year-old man faces charges of sexual battery.