Rape Culture

I saw a news story today that was sandwiched between a bunch of other stories and I almost missed it.

Daisy Coleman tried to kill herself on Sunday night and now may suffer permanent brain damage. 

It makes me sad that many of the people who read my last sentence don’t know who Daisy Coleman is. I’ll fill you in. In 2012 Daisy went to a party where she had a few too many drinks. She met up with an 18 year old boy, a football player. Daisy was 14. What happened next is a little unclear, but Daisy was left on her front porch in sub-zero temperatures and vaginal bleeding. Her mother found her there the next morning. 

Daisy recovered. She filed charges of rape against Matthew Barnett that were dropped 2 months later for no evidence.  The case was since reopened. The boy who was accused of raping her and ditching her (potentially to die) on her own front yard has gone to college. He plays sports. He tweeted something to the effect of, “If a girl’s name starts with A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z, she wants the D.”  That’s not a direct quote because I’m too lazy to look up the actual tweet, but that’s the gist of it. 

Meanwhile, Daisy has been harassed and threatened. She’s been called names in public and all over social media. A guest on Fox news famously said, “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…” He also questioned, “What did she expect to happen at one in the morning after sneaking out?” Her family moved out of the town where this happened to try to escape it all and their family home was actually burned to the ground. 

Stories like this make me feel so remarkably helpless. I get it. Going out and getting drunk with older guys is not a mature and responsible decision. I get that. Teenagers, however, DO that. It happens. She did NOT deserve what happened to her and she has certainly not deserved the last 2 years of HELL just because she dared to file charges and to be public with what happened to her. 

I am most ashamed of the girls her age who are bullying her and saying horrible things. It could have been you, I want to tell them. Non-consensual sex, rape, is just that NON-CONSENSUAL. She did not agree to have sex with him. According to her story and that of her 13 year old friend (who, actually was also raped at that same party by another kid) she was forced to have sex after she blacked out after having drinks served to her by the guys at the party.

And now she’s tried to take her own life and may possibly never recover from the attempt. Meanwhile, her rapist, Matthew Barnett, is off enjoying college and all that life has to offer. 

Who actually deserves to be raked through the coals here? Why are we blaming Daisy Coleman for Matthew not being able to keep it in his pants and for treating another human being like something disposable? Should it come as no surprise that the accused rapist is the grandson of a former Missouri House of Representatives member? 

It makes me sick. Why is not obvious that if someone harms you, you are the victim and you are not deserving of public shaming. If she HAD died in the cold, on her porch that night, how different would that story have played out? 


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