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Mom speaks out about breastfeeding in public after man verbally assaults her at Torrington Target

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TORRINGTON--A mother is sharing her story after she was verbally assaulted while breastfeeding her 4-week-old baby at a Torrington Target on Monday.

Jessie Maher, of Canton, recorded the incident and posted it on Facebook. FOX 61 reported on it Monday night, about 11 hours after the incident occurred at 11:30 a.m. At that time, just over 1 million had viewed the video. By 6 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 3.5 million had seen the video.

Maher spoke to FOX 61 on Tuesday about the incident. She said she was horrified by the man's behavior.

"Because I'm feeding my baby, this man is going crazy," said Maher.

Maher said it happened while the man was ordering food in the dining area of Target. She could see the man look at her and get visibly angry. He then walked over to employees and asked for a refund.

Maher said, "He was coming back, that's when he started screaming at me."

He called her "nasty," "disgusting" and a "whore," Maher said.

In the video you can see several Target employees and a shopper step in to help. You can hear the shopper say, "I's okay. You shouldn't be ashamed at feeding your baby. If he doesn't like it he can go."

It was Maher's friend Lisa Falkner who encouraged her to stand up for other moms and post the scene on Facebook.

Falkner told FOX 61, "This stuff happens all the time. Not to the level it did with her and the aggression, but comments and nasty looks, that kind of stuff."

Heather Santoro, also the mother of a newborn, was upset after seeing the video clip.

"It's every breastfeeding mother's worst nightmare. You just don't want to have that conversation. Sir, get out of the pre-historic era," Santoro said.

Santoro said she carries a copy of the Connecticut state law--which states that mothers are allowed to breastfeed in any public place or workplace--around with her in case she's ever questioned. However, she wasn't surprised to see how the Target employees handled the situation and calmed the man down.

"I’ve breastfed in there before so many times in the exact spot Jessie did," she said.

Maher was also happy with the reaction she got from employees and fellow shoppers.

"Everyone ran to my aid. They were there just to help us and it was awesome. We need people like this," Maher explained.

 

Falkner made a stop at Target on Tuesday with her little girl and posted a video of it on social media, saying, "We're here today because...I want to thank the employees involved yesterday."

Falkner and Maher also plan to meet with the shopper in the video to thank her with a gift certificate.

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