Pregnant teaching assistant led gang attack with her stiletto heel on male night-clubber
Here's an example of a story that doesn't give readers the information they need to make an informed judgement. It's clear what the Mail's angle is going to be: the headline genders both the victim (male) and the attacker (pregnant, stiletto). The subhead adds that the woman "avoided jail" despite admitting her crime. Readers are encouraged to conclude that the punishment was too lenient for such a gory crime; and that it was lenient because
committed by a woman.
The problem is that it's impossible to piece together what actually happened from the Mail's report. One minute we are told that the defendant, Joanne Armstrong, "led the assault"; the next that "she ‘wound up’ four or five unidentified thugs who followed the victim, knocked him to the ground and savagely kicked and stamped on him." A couple of paragraphs later, the assertion has acquired some caveats, and Armstrong now "appeared to be the ‘instigator’…, witnesses said."
The "unidentified thugs" disappear from the story instantly. Who are they? Did Armstrong know them? Why did they allow themselves to be 'wound up' on her behalf? The headline and intro both describe the incident as a "gang attack", and the word 'gang' has strong connotations of organisation and planning. But Armstrong did not know the victim and may not have known the members of the 'gang' she was leading. So what in fact provoked the attack? It's impossible to tell. The only clue in the Mail's report is this half-sentence:
she got ‘very drunk’ before becoming ‘embroiled’ in one of a number of violent incidents unfolding at closing time
which raises all kinds of questions. What were these 'violent incidents', and what caused them? How did Armstrong become 'embroiled'? Why did she end up 'leading' an attack on one particular man? We are not told.
told some of the arguments used by Armstrong's lawyer to keep her out of prison. These are gendered. She is "the ‘primary carer’ for her two young children" (note the so-called quote marks) and "at the time of the attack Armstrong was in a ‘heightened emotional state’ - ‘reeling’ from the recent death of a friend and an argument with her boyfriend." The commenters naturally interpret this as typical female sleight of hand, feigning hysteria and using the welfare of her child as emotional blackmail. They also call for her to be sacked from her job, and criticise her for getting very drunk while she was pregnant, even though the story makes clear she has already been sacked and didn't know she was pregnant at the time of the attack.
ABH? If that had been a male teaching assistant - not there are any of them I suspect - he'd would almost certainly have been given a suspended sentence.
- aberrant_apostrophe, Reading, United Kingdom, 22/10/2012 14:40 Rating 54
Armstrong was herself given an eight-month suspended sentence. Pompous user name.
I will have to get myself some kids, parking close to the supermarket door, bumped up the housing lists, called to the front of the line at the airport and now it is a get out of jail card. What happened to sexual equility?
- yes but, Dewsbury, 22/10/2012 14:36 Rating 81
A very Mailite list of grievances.