Last week, the name Sharkeisha was trending on Twitter. And I’m sure many of you did the research and discovered the story behind the name. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, Sharkeisha is the name of a teenage girl from Houston who beat and kicked her former friend in the face, all over a boy.
We intentionally didn’t publish the story, despite some of your requests to do so, because it wasn’t a story we hadn’t seen before. Just because the video had gone viral didn’t make it anything more than gratuitous violence that we couldn’t justify further promoting on the site. I know some of you will argue that we’ve published viral, violent videos here before. (Remember the Ohio bus driver?) But we usually do so, to promote discussion, pose questions about morality or ask you what you would have done in the same situation. There was no need to do so with this ridiculous video, as we would hope that none of you all are out here fighting other women over a man or boy.
So why do I say all this? Because today we are going to talk about that story. And not from a standpoint that glorifies Sharkeisha but hopefully one that promotes sympathy toward the victim, the girl who was brutally assaulted and has had to relive the pain and humiliation of that day as video of the fight is being circulated around the internet. Her name is Shamichail Manuel. The 17 year old and her mother sat down with WEAR, an ABC affiliate in Pensacola, Florida to talk about how this viral video has made the incident so much worse. She told reporters, “I’m going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life.” Manuel also says that presence of an audience and the eventual cell phone video that ended up on World Star made her believe that she was being set up. She said the incident was “very hurting and crushing” to her especially since she considered Sharkeisha a very close friend.
Manuel’s mother, Olevia Henderson, expressed how she feels about her daughter’s abuse being shared across the internet. “The video’s just going, going, going. And they’re making jokes. They’re taunting. They’re glorifying the girl Sharkeisha but they’re taunting my daughter at the same time.”
Henderson shared an recent experience at the grocery store where the incident came back to haunt her again. “I was in the grocery store yesterday and the girl was checking out my groceries and the baggers were just laughing and talking about it. And I said that’s my daughter in that video and their whole facial expression changed.”
Surely, they probably wouldn’t have guessed that they would be in such close proximity to the mother but the fact that they were laughing and joking about it in public indicates that in sharing this video, people are forgetting that there was a real person involved in this incident. That was a real teenage girl being kicked in the face by someone she thought was a friend. It’s not something we should be so quick to share, make memes from or laugh at. As Manuel asked, “How would you feel if that was your daughter or your son and that happened to them? How would you feel?”
You can watch the full interview with Manuel and her mother in the video below. But I must warn you that it contains the most graphic scenes from the video and also images of the injuries Manuel sustained afterward.