Tammy Bruce: Washington Post turns to victim shaming in Virginia high school rape case

Now you can listen to Fox News articles! In a vile turn of events, if you were to read the Washington Post’s coverage of a Virginia high school girl’s rape, you would think you had been dragged by your hair back to the 1950s. On October 25, the news outlet published this headline: “In the case at the center of a political firestorm, the judge finds teen committed sexual assault in Virginia school bathroom.” WASHINGTON POST FACT-CHECKER ADMITS HE REPEATEDLY PUNTED MCAULIFFE’S COVID CLAIMS THAT GOT ‘FOUR PINOCCHIOS’

In a Washington Post report about a judge who ruled that a teenage boy sexually assaulted a teenage girl in a bathroom in a Loudoun County, Virginia high school, author Justin Jouvenal, who describes himself as a “Justice Reporter” on Twitter, decided that including the victim’s sexual history as “new details” in his report was somehow appropriate. Providing the reader with elements of the victim’s sexual account implies she can’t be trusted. It wasn’t rape—it was a lousy bathroom date! She wanted it. She’s a tramp who provoked it.

Tammy Bruce

Rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with humiliation and control. For over 50 years, we have ensured that society understood that no woman wants to be raped or ‘asks for it.’ We are not responsible or at fault because a violent freak decides to be used as a piece of meat and attacks. And yet, the Washington Post chooses to re-animate the misogyny of smearing a rape victim with precisely the implication that the girl may have been the problem. Jouvenal’s piece had to be seen and approved by at least one other person in that newsroom. Did multiple people at the Washington Post support the smearing of the victim because of Democratic political concerns? And this is a story about the judge finding the attacker the equivalent of ‘guilty’ in juvenile court. We also know that the young man had transferred to the victim’s school as other sexual assault charges against him are pending at his previous high school.


Lending credence to the sexual assault history of the victim being the point of Jouvenal’s ‘report’ is revealed in his promotion of the story with a dramatic tweet announcing “new details” in this “firestorm” of a case. He wrote, “A teen testified she met a classmate for consensual sex in the girls’ bathroom of a Loudoun County high school before, but in a May encounter, she was sexually assaulted. New details in the case at the center of a firestorm.”

And why would this story cause, in the words of the headline, a “firestorm?” The perpetrator had access to the girl’s bathroom, where he assaulted the victim because he self-identified as a “gender-fluid.” Suddenly, the issue is a problem for the left, with discussions and debate in the community potentially undermining ‘woke’ policies being implemented in schools nationwide.

This repulsive Washington Post/Jouvenal “blame the victim” spin did not go unnoticed in the New Media realm. The article has received extraordinary backlash on social media and elsewhere. Critics were clear that the only reason to include a sexual history of any woman or girl while discussing an assault is to cast doubt on their credibility, resurrecting the monster of victim-shaming. Also of concern is that Jouvenal’s piece had to be seen and approved by at least one other person in that newsroom. Did multiple people at the Washington Post support the smearing of the victim because of Democratic political concerns?


Americans have spent over half a century educating society and the justice system about how no woman deserves to be raped, asks to be raped, or wants to be raped. We know this, Jouvenal knows this, and so do the editors at the Washington Post. We then must conclude that they didn’t care about the implications because something more important to them than a teenage victim of rape was at stake. They needed a distraction and a warning that there would be a price to pay if one dared to challenge the Democratic leftist agenda in schools. As many Harvey Weinstein victims were advised, shut up and take it! For the cause!

The political fallout in the Virginia governor’s race has done real damage to the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who had previously been governor and is running again. McAuliffe caused alarm when asked about growing outrage at school woke policies and the teaching of critical race theory. He noted, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” To saIt would be an understatement to that it didn’t go over very well mouseover; at a rally for the McAuliffe campaign and as this Louden County high school rape was making national news, former president Barack Obama dismissed parents’ concerns about that situation and other school controversies, saying, “We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony, trumped-up culture wars.” Democrats are happy with themselves for figuring out how to use Trump in little puns, while American parents are getting arrested for demanding accountability about rape in schools.

That’s not exactly a strategy that’s going to win people over. The Washington Post’s decision to target a rape victim illustrates, in part, why American trust in media is near an all-time low. Gallup reported earlier this month: “Americans’ trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly has edged down four percentage points since last year to 36%, making this year’s reading the second-lowest in Gallup’s trend. In all, 7% of U.S. adults say they have a great deal and 29% a fair amount of trust and confidence in newspapers, television, and radio news reporting.” Victim-shaming rape victims for political expediency isn’t going to help these numbers.

Tyson Houlding
I’m a lifestyle blogger with a passion for writing, photography, and exploring new places. I started this blog when I was 18 years old to share what I was learning about the world with family and friends. I’ve since grown into a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer with a growing audience. I hope you find inspiration and motivation while reading through my work!