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Girls & Women

On New Year’s Eve, Two Female Festival-Goers Refused to Tolerate Sexual Assault

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We’re only a few days into 2018, but women are already making their stance clear — they will not tolerate sexual harassment any longer.

On New Year’s Eve, several women at various music festivals in Australia and New Zealand reported being sexually harassed and assaulted during the celebrations, according to the Huffington Post.

But far from being damsels in distress, two women took action.

According to the police, one female concert-goer at the Falls Festival in Tasmania teamed up with her friend to find her alleged attacker and turned him into security herself, ABC News reported.

And in New Zealand, Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller, an American tourist, chased down the man who groped her at the Rhythm and Vines festival and slapped him in the head — the entire incident was caught on camera and has since gone viral — the New Zealand Herald reported.

Take Action: Tell World Leaders to Redouble Their Efforts By Amending Laws to Prevent Sexual Violence

“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,” Anello-Kitzmiller told the Daily Mail Australia. Anello-Kitzmiller was criticized for being topless at the festival, but said that her outfit choice does not excuse sexual abuse.

“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,” she continued.

Read more: Over 300 Women in Entertainment Say ‘Time’s Up’ on Sexual Harassment

Both women have been commended on social media for standing up to their harassers.

But while these two women were able to hold their attackers accountable, multiple reports of harassment and assault were made at various New Year’s Eve festivals in Australia and New Zealand and are still being investigated.

Still, Paul Piticco, co-producer of the Falls Festival, said the reports indicate progress.

"These incidences have been happening at mass gatherings for years and we are encouraged by the fact that this unacceptable behaviour is being identified and people are coming forward," Piticco said in a statement. "It takes a lot of courage [to come forward] and we are happy to be seeing a cultural change where victims feel comfortable to report."

Global Citizen campaigns in support of the fair and equal treatment of everyone. You can take action here to urge countries to improve their efforts to prevent sexual violence.