Emelia Holden, 21, didn’t hesitate to take matters into her own hands when a man groped her during her shift at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s in Savannah, Georgia on June 30. Emelia Holden, 21, a server at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s in Savannah, was putting menus away on June 30 after taking a customer’s order. In the security footage, a male customer, walking behind her, reaches out and gropes her as he passes by.
In surveillance footage of the incident, 31-year-old Ryan Cherwinski is shown grabbing Holden’s backside as he walks behind her. Holden immediately turns around and grabs him by his collar and slams him into a counter.
Video of the incident was posted on Reddit this week where it garnered more than 4,200 comments. The title of the post read: “My cousin takes down this pervert down for grabbing her a–. He is later arrested in front of his wife and 2 kids when the cops arrived.”
After defending herself, Holden instructed a coworker to call the police. Cherwinski, of Palm Bay, Florida, was arrested and charged with sexual battery, a Savannah Police Department spokeswoman tells PEOPLE.
“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,” Holden says, adding that customers nearby gave her high-fives.
She says that she was pleased when police arrested her attacker.
“It actually made me really happy,” she tells PEOPLE. “I knew something like that would happen eventually. I’m just happy that it was handled.”
Since footage of the incident was posted on Monday, it has amassed more than 80,000 views on YouTube. Holden says she never expected her act to garner so much attention, but she’s glad that the situation could inspire women and girls everywhere.
“I’m not glad that it happened, but I’m glad that it’s had such a positive outcome,” she tells PEOPLE, revealing that she’s received dozens of Facebook messages with praise from women everywhere. “I’m glad that other women can see this and know that you can stand up for yourself. You also have the right to wear whatever you want without having to worry about being groped.”
She adds: “It’s nice to know that I have empowered other women.”
In the wake of the incident, Holden has been using the spotlight to benefit a local animal shelter through a GoFundMe page