On the Bullying of Jolene Doherty

A video is doing the rounds at the moment, showing a schoolgirl verbally abusing, then punching a taller schoolboy who looks slightly older, in the face.  The video was recorded it would seem by one of her friends, who calls her “Jolene” in the video urging her to hurry up and hit the boy, because she needed to get home.  The boy, although upset and shaken does not retaliate as she attacks him.  The girl in the video has been named as “Jolene Doherty” on social media sites, although several posts suggest that this may not in fact be her real name – while the location has been identified as Wishaw.

The video starts with a standoff between the children, while the person holding the camera urges “Jolene” to “hurry up and hit the boy” as she needed to get home.  ”Jolene” appears then to psyche herself up, calling the boy “a spastic” while the boy watches her warily – his glasses in his hand before the attack begins after an inaudible mutter is taken by “Jolene” as being “cheeky”.  Several punches later, during which the boy announces that he “doesn’t hit lassies”, Jolene walks off.

The video itself is quite shocking, although anyone who casts their mind back to their schooldays will remember some similar incident of violence between children.  It is certainly not good, but neither is it an unusual occurrence   Children are frequently attacked verbally and physically by their peers and the routes to and from school are the most common places for these to happen in the liminal spaces between school and parental authority.

My first thought on seeing the video was that I wanted a whole lot more context before starting to judge a single snippet.  It is a long time since I was in High School, but none the less I still remember disputes being settled by challenges to fight and it seemed to me very much like that was what had happened in this case.  The set up of the confrontation, the prior removal of his glasses and the assumption on the part of her friend that “Jolene” was planning to hit the boy suggested to me that this was a confrontation by prior arrangement.  There was directed anger in “Jolene’s” voice – this was no random or opportunist attack.  But why this confrontation was happening was unexplained by the short video footage.

The video went viral and the mainstream press picked up on the issue.  A report in the Sun, quoted another parent in the school expressing fears for her own disabled child, and it became a social media truth that the boy who was attacked was also disabled – possibly prompted by “Jolene’s” use of the word “spastic” – a common term of abuse for people with learning difficulties.  Whether that is actually the case is unclear.

It was also reported that the boy who had been attacked was 12 years old and that an 11 year old and a 15 year old had been reported to the police and that a referral had been made to the childrens’ panel. As indeed is appropriate when one child is violently attacked by another.  Its certainly not right, but children fight and as fights between pre-teens go, I’ve seen far worse attacks on far more physically vulnerable children than the that shown in that video.

As the video made its way round various social media sites a hate campaign for “Jolene” began.

The first site to be set up “Jolene Doherty is a Coward” quickly became a magnet for bullies.  The admin of the site who had  set it up to use this to promote awareness of bullying found themselves quickly inundated with comments leaving threats directed at “Jolene”.  Inadvertantly they had found themselves the conduit for bullying at a whole new level where  violent threats and insults abounded,.

The next page to be established “Jolene Doherty is a Cow” started the quick descent.  While still claiming to be an anti-bullying page, and with a cover picture which stated “stop bullying”, it was not only the comments, but also the contents of admins posts which were insulting and violent.

Following that, the next page, Hatred of Jolene Doherty was more explicit in its bullying intent, although still with a cover photo demanding that people stop bullying, its tagline urged people to find the “bitch”

Then it came to the full on bullying as “Jolene Doherty Haters Only” was established.  With a picture which was proported to be Jolene herself, its tag line advocated gun violence towards her, and ridiculed her clothes – a common feature of teen bullying.

Just some of the insults and threats from those pages are below….

horrible wee girl, disgusting wee lassy, wee boot, wee skanky cow, wee tramp, wee skanky chav, dirty wee midden, little evil witch, shes two foot tall, a face like a well scelped arse, [she has] facial Down syndrome, horrible wee bastard, pathetic wee nasty lassie,  dirty wee cow bagggg hairy lookin for tramps arse,  little bitch, wee skank, mutant, skelly eye, mad wee reprobate, pure vile wee creature, she-troll, little madam, skinny little bitch, Nasty horrible wee bitch, Nasty disgusting peice of work,  Little scummy rat, sick twisted little loser, little inbred mutant, nasty dispicable horrid little child, vile rat, dirty wee skank, wee feanin bastard,  wee cow slut,  sick twisted skank,  wee fuckin shite, wee black hoor eh a dug, Feral scum, fuked up mongo

People like this should be stoned to death, She should apologise then kill herself, I will hunt her down and destroy her, Hope you get run over by a double decker, punch her in the face….mabye with a chair, head kicked in,  ripped her face off, roundhouse her upwards right in her cunt, woulda made her chew the kerb, KNOCK THE LIVING DAY LIGHT OUT OF HER, punched her fucking head in, break her legs, deserves a cactus rammed up hur holes, kick up the hole, get that wee belters fanny smelt, i would give a good kicking, kick in the cunt, swift kik tae the fanny, batter her until she is black n blue n cripple, whoever leathers her gonny film it, she fuckin takes it up the arse, SEARCH AND DESTROY HER FACE, knock this bitch out, strike her right in the fucking jaw, Ca wait ti see the news one day saying that she’s been murderd or she’s took the easy way oot the wee bitch.., jolene should be shot, hope somebody pours petrol on her and sets her alight, skud her wae a hammer, 

It is notable how many of the insults refer to disabilities by people seemingly outraged at violence directed towards a disabled child; the gendered nature of both the insults and the threats also comes through.  I doubt, somehow, if this attack would have garnered the attention that it did, had the aggressor been a boy, and a taller boy to boot.  It would have been seen as regrettable, but normal fisticuffs, of the kind that gets overlooked everyday.  A boy being hit by a girl on the other hand is deeply transgressive.

Rumours also circulate on those pages.  Rumours that her father has been attacked, that the windows of the family home have been broken and that she did not attend school today. The latter I can well believe.  As the video shows, children can be cruel to one another …but adults can be far crueller.  

The victim of the videoed attack is  the only one of this whole sorry piece that comes out of it with any shred of dignity.  I am still no wiser to the backstory which led to the videoed confrontation.  It may well be that there is indeed no backstory, that this is simply the targeting of a vulnerable boy and she is simply a bully – I still don’t know.

What I do know is that she is far from being the only one.

Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on the or join the discussion on the Second Council House of Virgo facebook page. .
16 comments
SheDeservedIt
SheDeservedIt

Those who commented on facebook against her and her flawed character are not misogynistic or bullies. In fact, she is a bully that attacked a boy so she is misandristic. She attacked him because she knew that he won't hit her back because she's a girl. The fight wasn't arranged either. In fights between bullies and victims, there isn't a duel where both agree, it isn't more arranged than a rape. And finding a "trace of anger" in her voice is meaningless, bullies have anti-social personality disorder, they're full of anger, contempt and rage against people who they find weak. There aren't excuses for this behavior.

Mhairi McAlpine
Mhairi McAlpine

So you think that comments like "hope somebody pours petrol on her and sets her alight" are quite acceptable and not a form of bullying? Or all the sexualised insults fair game and not misogynistic? You suggest that there is no excuse for bullying behaviour, and then go on to excuse it. If you want to take a stand against bullies, you need to consistantly oppose bullying from whatever quarter it comes from

Karma
Karma

lets just say if she didnt do it in the first place this wouldnt be happening its called Karma and its fucking glorious

Mizsca
Mizsca

I don't see anything that excuses the bully's behaviour in this article, but I do see condemnation of grown adults (yes adults) using ableist, misogynist and quite disgusting language to indicate their feelings about the situation. We have all seen these comments. The perpetrator, regardless how disgusted we are with her behaviou is a child. The childrens panel deal with this sort of thing all the time, and are qualified to do so. Members of the public calling for her to be beaten, calling her a "spazzy" and saying she "needs a boot in her cunt" is not going to help the victim in all of this who presented himself with courage and dignity in the face of a cruel wee girl perpetrating violence against him. If anything the only good to come out of this video is that this young man can be held as a great example of how young men *should* behave. If anything it shows how children like this bully come to be when some sections of the public have such horrific vile views in the first place, it's no wonder our society is producing "Jolenes" when adults express such vile behaviour. Fulty expresses these sentiments quite well.

Fulty
Fulty

It's the exact same thing that happens every time there's a publicized incident. Like how we all want to see a murderer killed, and to say we're no better than them for that is ridiculous. Eye for an eye is the way of the world. Generally speaking the only people who stand on the moral high ground are people that it doesn't even remotely affect, such as you. You said it yourself, you DON'T know the back story, so what gives you place to stand on any ground, let alone the high ground. This existence of this "article" undermines your whole point. Live it. Be related to either party. Be there at the time. Before it, after it & then, MAYBE your opinion will be worth the space it takes up on the internet.

Cheryl McGeough
Cheryl McGeough

I am absolutely disgusted after reading your article. I live extremely close to where this incident took place. You make excuses for this girl and her actions towards this boy. Yes the boy does in fact have autism! There's some truth to what you didnt know. I am sickened by you article. Yes these hate pages are a step to far. hat happened is not like any other alteration in a play ground!! she picked him because she has an advantage over him plain and simple. if it where any other alteration in the play ground there would not be this much disgust in the video. In my opinion research should be on on a story before someone writes about it. Dont just watch the video and make up your 'if's, buts and not sure's' . All i can say about this piece of writing is that it one keen writer with the skills to do their writing.

Amanda Young
Amanda Young

May I ask what the bloggers credentials are and where they live? Is he from Scotland? North lanarkshire? Or even Wishaw where the video is shot? Does he know the family or families involved? Why does he feel the need to blog about this? Before the blogger asks the same questions of me I will answer them. I am the aunt of the boy in the video. I live in Wishae where the video was filmed. The boy most certainly DOES have autism but attends the same mainstream school as the girls involved. You say the boy appears to have his glasses in his hand indicating that this was perhaps a pre arranged meeting. I can assure the blogger and any readers that my nephew often takes his glasses off through eye strain or when he is under stress. He is the most loving, quiet boy you could ever meet and as his aunt I disgusted by the whole situation but so proud of the stance he took. He has been brought up to respect the female generation a credit to his mother. I will not comment more on this subject as I feel keeping a dignified stance far outweighs anything else.

admin
admin

Thank you for taking the time to comment and provide more background to this incident. I am originally from Scotland, but now live in Greece. I know nothing of the children involved or their families other than the video (which I have seen, but decided not to link to) and the comments made on various forms of media. I felt the need to blog about this as the response to the incident demonstrates how bullying starts, with feelings of self-righteous superiority, and how it can escalate. As a relative of someone who has suffered bullying I am sure that you can appreciate how harmful it can be, and am sure that you would not approve of the insults and threats that people have made towards the girl in the wake of this incident. I hope your nephew is recovering, and as I said, he came out of this with dignity, which is a lot more than can be said of either the girl or many of the people commenting on the facebook groups.

TGR
TGR

"It would have been seen as regrettable, but normal fisticuffs, of the kind that gets overlooked everyday. A boy being hit by a girl on the other hand is deeply transgressive. Second Council House of Virgo (http://s.tt/1yzve)" No. This isn't about gender. Stop trying to twist things as you feminists always do.

admin
admin

Of course there is a gendered element to this - look at all the misogynistic insults and threats which reference her anatomy. If this had been a bigger lad hitting a smaller one, there is no way it would have got this level of coverage. It would have been shrugged off as "boys will be boys", a bit of a telling off from the school who dont really want to get involved in out of school issues and consigned to school folklore as "dinnae mess wi the big man".

admin
admin

Its not entirely clear whether the boy does have learning difficulties or autism. Several comments. proporting to be from people who know the children personally assert that he does not. The term "spastic" is used tho as a term of abuse at disabled people, but is also used more widely as an insult to imply that someone has learning difficulties, and is therefore inferior. In the same way that "mutant", "mongo", "retarded" and "facial Downs Sydrome" have been aimed at the girl.

Jolene
Jolene

The word "spastic" was used as it now turns out the young lad does indeed have learning disabilities, I think autism, so I think this word was used to refer to this.

TGR
TGR

Grasping at straws to push your agenda.

raddledoldtart
raddledoldtart

After "Reality TV" series featuring the travelling community giving a level of "fame" to the surname Doherty, I would suspect that there is an element of anti traveller racism involved in the comment threads

admin
admin

I haven't seen anything explicitly implying that she is a traveller or any anti-traveller comments, but its certainly possible. There is anti-Irish racism on those pages - which refers to her surname as being "fenian" name tho.

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