We at the Mercury had kind of hoped that the days of blaming women for the behaviour of men, or resorting to calling women sexually degrading names if they dared to speak out, were behind us.
After all, it’s the age of the #MeToo movement, where people from all around the world have shared their stories of sexual molestation, indecent assault and harassment because of their sex.
Surely we have turned a corner as a society? Surely there’s enough people willing to denounce such conduct that those who think differently (ie, misogynists) will just keep their damaging and outdated opinions to themselves.
Alas, we were wrong.
No sooner had Corrimal Bowling Club president Max Hobbs been found guilty of indecently assaulting a female staff member in August, our court reporter was hit up by some of his supporters, eager to trash the reputation of his accuser.
“If you print this [his conviction] you’ll be condemning an innocent man,” one supporter said at the time, despite being in court when the magistrate said the case against Hobbs had been overwhelming.
When it became apparent to the supporter that the Mercury intended to run the story, and any subsequent ones, including his sentencing, the man turned his attention to denigrating the victim.
Read more: Max Hobbs sentenced over indecent assault
The same happened the following day when the story aired.
“If you took the time to investigate this matter you would have found this was a grave miscarriage of justice,” one person wrote.
However, probably knowing that wouldn’t work on us – “we’d prefer to go with the judge’s decision thanks” – the person then took aim at the victim’s credibility by slut-shaming her.
They then tried to justify their dig: “I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, just goes to her integrity. Just saying I know whom I would trust with my life.”
Yeah mate, but how about who you’d trust with your daughter?