Karina Vetrano was raped, beaten, and strangled to death off a weedy path in Howard Beach, Queens on Tuesday. She was out for her regular jog and wearing normal running clothes.
But commenters all over social media are claiming Vetrano brought the attack on herself by jogging in “tight clothing.”
The 30-year-old was a speech therapist, hostess, and writer. Her father—who found her dead body—is a retired FDNY firefighter who worked on 9/11.
She was found with her pants lowered around her knees, with smashed teeth and multiple bruises.
But the horrific crime had hardly been in the news cycle for a few hours when a heated debate flared up on Facebook, Twitter, and comments sections of articles between people laying the responsibility on Vetrano for “dressing provocatively,” and those accusing them of victim-blaming.
In a statement to the press on Wednesday, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that Vetrano’s father “asked her not to run this path, not without him”:
“If you’re a runner you understand that you run every night as part of your routine, so she went, and said she’d be all right.”
That may have helped spark the debate to begin with, but it took on a life of its own soon enough.
Facebook user Carlos Alvarado writes:
“This is exactly what Donald Trump Jr. was talking about women have to stop thinking they are not participating in provoking these attacks sexual assault will always be here it is your responsibility to be aware it is stop jogging or going to the dam gym half naked go back to where people worse sweat pants to sweat.”
But user Tammy Giacomantonio hits back at Alvarado:
“So what you’re saying is men are SO dumb they’re unable to control themselves…..No. Stop victim blaming!!!”
On another thread, Sharjil Za writes:
“I always see attractive women running with their headphones on in secluded areas! How stupid can they be? It’s unbelievable!”
Anthony Cucuzza definitely doesn’t agree:
“Really? Blaming the victim?”
On Twitter, user Allison Kilkenny plainly says what she thinks of those who think Vetrano “brought it on herself”:
“Father warned murdered jogger against using path without him.” Oooo, victim-blaming and creepy misogyny. Efficient.
— Allison Kilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) August 3, 2016
Meanwhile, comments sections are proving to be a real battleground, including a Daily Mail article on the subject of the victim-blaming trolls.
Commenter Humananomoly writes:
“The ultimate point is, don’t make yourself a target to people who feel no mercy, guilt, or regret. That is what happened in this situation and many others that make the news.”
But anytownUSA takes exception to Humanomoly’s advice:
“I also see women jogging in tight sweatpants. However, not once in my life have I ever thought of harming them in anyway. If for any reason you feel this lady is anyway responsible for what happened please kill yourself now. Society would be much better off without you.”
A 2013 report by the Department Of Justice states that less than 14% of rapes occurred in open areas like public parks and greenways, and that 78% of sexual assaults against women are committed by a person the victim knows.
Source: independent journal