Why Maryville Citizens Defend Rapists
Fourteen-year-old Daisy Coleman was raped and left for dead in freezing temperatures. Despite strong evidence, charges were dropped. And, large parts of her community bullied her. Some told her to apologize to men involved in the attack.
What’s wrong with these folks?
I’ll get to that question in a moment. First her story:
Nearly two years ago, Daisy went to spend the night at her 13-year-old friend’s house. The two were sneaking booze and watching scary movies when Daisy texted a 17-year-old friend of her brother’s – a guy her brother had warned her about. She says,
I was not interested in Matt romantically. I considered him my older brother’s friend. I trusted my older brother. I trusted Matt.
Matt Barnett came over and helped Daisy and her friend sneak out of the house and into his basement. Then Matt and four friends offered her a tall shot glass that they called the “bitch cup.” She drank and passed out. Evidence strongly suggests that she and her friend were then raped.
Daisy didn’t regain consciousness until she awoke on her snow-covered front porch in the middle of the night. She was weak and could have died, but she meekly scratched at the door. She recalled,
I had to be carried into my mother’s bedroom, in complete and total confusion. I was freezing and sick and bruised, my hair in icy chunks weighted against me. When my mom gave me a bath, she saw that I was hurt down in my privates.
Before the rape, life had been great. She was a varsity cheerleader, competed on a dance team and had lots of friends. After the rape her community turned on her and life became “a long, reckless winter.” A few lines from a piece she wrote for XO Jane:
Days seemed to drag on as I watched my brother get bullied and my mom lose her job. Ultimately our house burned to the ground.
I was suspended from the cheerleading squad and people told me that I was “asking for it” and would “get what was coming.”
At a dance competition a girl wore a T-shirt she made. It read: “Matt 1, Daisy 0.”
On Twitter and Facebook, I was called a skank and a liar and people encouraged me to kill myself. Twice, I did try to take my own life.
I sat alone in my room, most days, pondering the worth of my life.
I saw myself as ugly, inside and out… I burned and carved the ugly I saw into my arms, wrists, legs and anywhere I could find room.
The justice system turned on her as well. Bruising, a rape kit, confessions and Matt admitting he’d deleted a videotape all pointed to sexual assault. Yet two months after the incident the prosecutor claimed a lack of evidence:
(The boys) were doing what they wanted to do, and there weren’t any consequences. And it’s reprehensible. But is it criminal? No.
Sheriff Darren White maintained there’s “no doubt” a crime was committed but says Daisy should move on.
Like the Steubenville rape it took Internet vigilantes, calling themselves Anonymous, to bring the case to light, for which Daisy is grateful. Now that the entire community of Maryville, Missouri is being called on the carpet, the case has been re-opened.
Why did so many turn on Daisy? The problem is rape culture.
In a rapist-protecting culture attackers feel entitled, people don’t speak out against them, and perpetrators are protected.
Matt’s family is powerful in his home state of Missouri. His grandfather is Republican Rep. Rex Barnett. Matt was also a popular football player. And a winning team makes the school — and it’s students — look good.
It’s common to attach ourselves to powerful people and against the powerless. Probably because powerful people can help us and the powerless can’t.
Not all of Maryville’s citizens defended the rapists, but too many did. Some even initiated their own attacks on a young girl.
Sucks when our empathy, our morality and our very humanity are so easily thrown out the door.
Related Posts on BroadBlogs
When Rapists are Heroes
Rape Culture and Penn State
Cheerleader Ordered To Cheer Her Rapist, and Other Stories
Posted on October 23, 2013, in feminism, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged Daisy Coleman, feminism, inequality, Maryville, Matt Barnett, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.