MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: The disappearance of billionaire heiress Eliza Fletcher has dominated headlines for a couple of days now as authorities continue to search for her. However, her early morning abduction has sparked a debate about "women jogging at 4 am."
The Memphis Police Department arrested and charged 38-year-old Cleotha Abston with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence following Fletcher's mysterious disappearance on Friday, September 2. Memphis police revealed early Sunday, September 4, how the 34-year-old teacher was out on a routine, early morning jog near the University of Memphis at around 4.30 am on Friday when she was "abducted and forced into" a mid-sized, dark SUV. Authorities have since located the vehicle and are continuing to search for Fletcher.
Feminists on social media were enraged at those saying Fletcher shouldn't have been out jogging that early, saying women "should be able to run at any time of day."
"Let’s change the narrative from #ElizaFletcher shouldn’t have been out at 4:30 am to this man shouldn’t have been out looking for a woman to snatch at 4:30 am. Stop blaming the victim," one tweeted.
"Seriously, Amen. Men are like “just realize we treat you as prey, and if you don’t behave as prey, you asked for it”. Stop. being. Predators," another agreed.
"Women should be able to run at any time of day, wearing whatever they find comfortable, and not be subject to violence. Victim blaming #elizafletcher is just making it clear to everyone in your life that you are not a safe person to be around," someone else opined.
"When women wore black dresses at the Oscars for the #metoomovement, someone close to me said 'but did you see the types of dresses they were wearing,' and this is the type of undercurrent that still exists: that somehow women ask for mistreatment," another alleged.
Others, however, did not agree that women could do as they pleased without facing real-world consequences in certain situations, considering there are "bad people out there."
"In a perfect world, that would be nice. Criminals, however, don’t think like that," one responded. "They’re opportunists inherently looking to harm innocent people. In light of that, we (men and women) either adjust our behavior for maximum safety or assume some personal risk. It’s a sad reality."
"Women too often ignore their gut in dangerous situations or put themselves in dangerous situations," another offered. "There are clearly bad people out there and women can still be empowered and do things in a safer manner. The world is violent we won't be saved by ignoring that."
"He [Abston] is a compulsive criminal who just got out of prison for doing the same thing to somebody else. We have to ask ourselves the safest way to do things," a comment read.
"Bad people exist. We all know that. We should NOT ignore the fact she put herself in a dangerous situation. Memphis is a ghetto, very dangerous. She shouldn’t have been jogging in the dark without a gun or bear spray. TN is a constitutional carry state. No reason to be unarmed," another chimed in.
Police described Fletcher as a White woman with blonde hair and green eyes. She stands about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and weighs around 137 pounds. The Memphis-based educator was wearing a pink athletic top and purple running shorts and tied her hair up with a matching headband. Fletcher's family has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to her return. It's worth noting that Eliza Fletcher's grandfather was hardware tycoon Joseph Orgill III, who founded the private family business, Orgill Inc. The company employs about 5,500 people and does $3 billion in sales annually, per its website. The investigation continues.