21-year-old waitress Emelia Holden took swift action when a man recently groped her during her shift at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s in Savannah, Georgia.
Emelia Holden had just finished taking an order when a male customer walked behind her and grabbed her buttocks. According to her interview with People Magazine, Holden initially thought that the customer was one of her friends:
“When I felt that happen, my first thought was that it was one of my friends … it was a really intimate touch. His hand went further than it should have so I was thinking, ‘There’s no way a stranger just did that.’”
Surveillance footage of the incident shows a man, 31-year-old Ryan Cherwinski, grab Holden’s backside as he walks past her. Holden then spins around, grabs him by his collar, and slams him into a counter.
Holden told People:
“I looked at him and I said, ‘You don’t touch me, motherf—–!’ I didn’t even think, I just reacted. I don’t know how I reacted the way I did. I’ve never done that before.”
After throwing the assaulter to the floor, Holden asked a coworker to call the police.
According to Holden in her interview with People, Cherwinski told police he was simply trying to get around her:
“The guy claimed that he was just trying to push me out of the way and, ‘Oh, I barely touched you.’ Once the police saw the video, they immediately arrested him. There was no doubt that he did it.”
Cherwinski, who lives in Palm Bay, Florida, was arrested and charged with sexual battery for the incident.
In addition to expressing her satisfaction with Cherwinski’s arrest, Holden expressed surprise at her ability to physically handle the much larger man. In an interview with Inside Edition, Holden said:
“I honestly didn’t even give it much thought. I just did it. I didn’t even know I could do that. I don’t care who you are. You have no right to disrespect me.”