A Fox affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee is under fire from social media users after one of its headlines made an alleged sexual predator look like the victim.
A story about the incident appeared on WHBQ-TV’s website last Thursday.
“Two students have been issued a juvenile summons after a stabbing at a Memphis school,” the story read.
“According to the police report, a student pulled up a girl’s dress inside of a classroom at Central High School. The victim then grabbed a pair of scissors. She tried multiple times to stab the student before she connected.”
But it was the headline that grabbed the attention of a lot of social media users: “Teen stabbed with scissors after pulling student’s dress up at Memphis school, police say.”
While both students were charged by police, the male student was issued a juvenile summons for sexual battery as opposed to the female student, who received a juvenile summons for aggravated assault.
However, the first paragraph of the story doesn’t mention that sexual assault was involved, simply mentioning the stabbing.
Furthermore, it was clear who instigated the attack, and (just to play amateur Perry Mason here) I think the former charge is a lot more likely to hold up in court than the latter, given that the young woman could very reasonably claim self-defense.
Twitter users took the station to task:
"The male student was issued a juvenile summons for sexual battery. The female student was issued a juvenile summons for aggravated assault." He only had to be treated by the school nurse. Hardly sounds like aggravated assault. Maybe he'll think twice before doing that again.
— Lisa Cally 🤷🏼♀️ (@LCally6) May 4, 2018
She defended herself against sexual assault.
— Michael Slavitch … .-.. .- …- .. – -.-. …. (@theeked) May 6, 2018
That girl should be getting praised for defending herself and getting support from her family and friends. Instead she’s been arrested and vilified. This is not just bad for the girl in question, it’s a horrible lesson for girls, and boys, everywhere.
— Ca Dozo (@Cdozo) May 7, 2018
Good for the female student.
Shocking mysogonistic headline.
— Uffculme Allotmenteer (@petebestuk) May 7, 2018
Of course, those who talk about “mysogonistic” (sic) probably shouldn’t be too surprised. For all of the left’s #MeToo strutting, there’s also a strain of moral equivalence when it comes to crime and criminals, particularly when the criminal can be portrayed as just a mere passenger to his circumstances.
That’s why it’s odd that anyone would look at what we currently know about the story and think the victim here is the guy who got stabbed because he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman. In the media’s world, self-defense is bad, moral equivalency is good.
While self-defense is particularly bad when it involves a gun, scissors are also pretty bad. After all, why physically injure this poor young lad when he’s simply suffering from a case of anomie?
Therefore, while there are plenty of stories about #MeToo on its website, when WHBQ was confronted with an incident where a young woman struck back against an abuser in apparent self-defense, the station’s news department reverted to apparent victim-blaming.
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