A boy who lifted the skirt of a female student was stabbed by his victim — and both teens are in trouble.
According to local news station Fox 13, a male student at Central High School in Memphis, Tenn., pulled up the dress of a fellow schoolmate during class, and she, in turn, grabbed a pair of scissors and tried to stab him multiple times before causing injury. The boy, who told police that his actions weren’t meant seriously and that the victim was never exposed, was issued a juvenile summons for sexual battery. His victim was given a juvenile summons for aggravated assault.
Some on Twitter called the injury an act of self-defense.
That's a weird way to say "Sexual assault victim uses self-defense to escape her attacker" https://t.co/yprnnfO2YT
— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) May 6, 2018
I was called “fat” in 3rd grade. I gave that bully a black eye. Never wore skirts as a kid.
Who’s to say what else this kid did to her…
What’s happened to her
And this kid wasn’t stabbed
She did use scissors but not even an ambulance was needed.
She defended herself
— Rosary Solimanto (@RosarySolimanto) May 7, 2018
He touched her body without her permission and laughed. He deserved it.
— NotFeelingParticularlyCivilMom (@Civilmom) May 7, 2018
You pull my daughter skirt/dress up at school then she stabs you with scissors, oh well..
— Ashley Ja'Terria (@All_N_Yo_Tweets) May 5, 2018
We were on a field trip and this punk ass kid kept pulling on my skirt, I told him to stop multiple times- he kept doing it. I told him “I have scissors in my purse” he told his parents I was threatening him for no reason. Yes he was white. https://t.co/gOcEqvRFyx
— MRS B (@allejandrajoyyy) May 6, 2018
Others felt the punishment was disproportionate to the crime.
Well he is the victim of a stabbing and she is the victim of a lifted skirt. He started it, she finished it with a pair of scissors.
— Nostradummarse (@nostradummarse) May 7, 2018
I don’t think stabbing someone with scissors is deserved from pulling up a girls dress. I don’t support either sides in this. Guy shouldn’t have lifted her skirt and girl shouldn’t have stabbed him
— Storm (@Storm_The_W0lf) May 6, 2018
If I had a pair of scissors, and a boy was trying to flip up my skirt/dress in the classroom, I'd be going after him too.
If he didn't quit it, I'd keep after him until he did.
— L. Tock (@LTock) May 5, 2018
A representative from Central High School did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
Given the unknowns of the case — the children’s ages and the history of behavior between or independent of the two teens — it’s tough to assess the outcome. “Any victim’s reaction is informed by their entirety of their life story and how they assess their safety at the moment,” Laura Palumbo, communications director for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. In other words: Was the girl reacting to a lifetime of abuse either by this boy, at home, or otherwise? Was she in fear for her safety?
“Oftentimes, victims of sexual crime just want the behavior to stop, which drives much of their decision-making,” she says. “That’s often the case for kids, many of whom experience sexual harassment as young as in elementary school, in the form of unwanted touching, groping, comments, or policies such as dress codes that place responsibility on girls to not dress provocatively.”
It would be ideal, adds Margaret L. Signorella, PhD, a professor of psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Pennsylvania State University, if schools had detailed, education-based systems for handling these types of cases, versus universal zero-tolerance rules, because both the parties miss a learning opportunity. The girl may believe that defending herself isn’t worth the trouble (although it’s unclear whether her response was appropriate). “Likewise, the boy could walk away feeling as though he’s the victim here, and that’s not a positive message,” Signorella tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“The boy’s intent has little to do with the outcome, as that’s not how we define sexual harassment,” notes Palumbo, “and we don’t always have the language in the criminal code to describe it. That’s why schools should consider what’s not only illegal, but what’s making kids feel unsafe and disrespected.”
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