BY TAHLIA PRITCHARD
Trigger warning: This article deals with an account of rape/sexual assault.
You’re out with your friends. You’ve had a few too many drinks. You’re unsteady on your feet, and someone offers to take you home. Gratefully you accept. You’re found later that morning in freezing weather, and later discover someone has raped you. No, this isn’t the plot line of some sick, twisted movie – this is what happened to one teenage girl.
When the Steubenville case broke, many were horrified at the overall coverage of the case. For those unaware, in August 2012, a 16-year-old girl from Steubenville Ohio went to a party, where she became intoxicated and later left with a number of popular football players. The players then took her to two more parties, by which point she was unconscious. There is photo evidence showing the girl being carried out of a party by her hands and ankles, clearly passed out. Two of the football players later raped her. What made this case even more horrific, is the public then threw their support behind the players, with high school students and community leaders taking to social media to shame the girl, saying she consented to the events that took place that night – because she was too drunk and hadn’t said no.
Recently another case has broken out in the media – that of Daisy Coleman, from Maryville. One night in early 2012, Daisy, then 14 and her friend, 13, left her house to join some older boys at one of their houses. Daisy and her friend (now identified as Paige), had been drinking alcohol, and upon joining a bunch of popular guys, were given more to drink. According to Daisy, Matthew Barnett, the guy that had picked them up and drove them to his house, handed her a drink filled with clear liquid. And that’s the last she can remember.
Daisy was found later that morning by her mother. She was barely conscious, sprawled out on the porch in freezing weather. She took her daughter to go have a bath, and found evidence around her genitals that something had occurred. Upon taking her to the hospital it was clear what had happened – Daisy had been raped.
Barnett was arrested but said that the sex was consensual. Daisy’s friend told police that Daisy hadn’t been coherent and had to be carried out to the car, in tears. As the case continued to develop, Daisy’s mother got a call from a woman warning that online threats had began to build up against Daisy. On twitter one male wrote that he hoped Daisy ‘gets whats comin.’ Daisy was suspended from the cheerleading squad, and at a dance competition a girl arrived wearing a homemade shirt: Matt 1, Daisy 0.
Daisy’s friend Paige was also raped that night. However later on, the case was simply dropped due to ‘lack of evidence.’ The community of Maryville then rallied around the perpetrators. Daisy’s mother was inexplicably fired from her job. Daisy was the victim of vicious social media attacks. The Coleman’s house was later burnt down. Because Daisy, like the victim of the Steubenville rapes, was drunk, she ‘deserved what was coming.’ Despite the overwhelming evidence, the parents of one of the teenage boys, still had the nerve to tell a newspaper that ‘our boys deserve an apology, and they haven’t gotten it yet.’
This is absolutely disgusting. How on earth are we living in 2013, and still making excuses for boys/men who rape women? ‘They made a mistake,’ ‘She never said no,’ ‘It was consensual, regardless of the fact she was incoherent.’ Fuck. Off.
Kids and teenagers make mistakes, sure. Rape is not a ‘mistake.’ The majority of 16/17-year olds know that rape is illegal and not okay, and their age is no excuse or justification for their behaviour. These young men are not even close to being innocent in any of this. This is not a drunken mistake of boys being boys. It is rape. It is illegal, it is disgusting and it is wrong.
Introduce me to a young adult who hasn’t accidentally consumed too much alcohol one night. Regardless of the amount one has to drink, this NEVER means they deserve to be taken advantage of. It is a scary world we live in, if an individual has their safety compromised just because they’ve either accidentally over-stepped the boundaries of how much alcohol they consume, or because they’ve had their drink spiked. Maybe teenagers and young adults are drinking too much. Maybe they need to be a little more careful. But in no way does this EVER constitute rape being okay. There are many men, boys, women and girls out there who are drinking and not raping/getting raped. Being drunk is not an excuse. Being drunk does not equal consent. Intoxicated women (or men) are NOT asking for it.
In regards to the Daisy Coleman case, the Sheriff Darren White said while it was clear a crime was committed – ‘We did our job. We did it well. It’s unfortunate they are unhappy. I guess they’re just going to have to get over it.’
The case has been brought to light again, after online hacker group Anonymous demanded an immediate investigation into why the case was dropped, and why Barnett and the other unnamed male who raped Daisy’s friend, have remained unscathed from any convictions.
You can read about what happened, in Daisy’s own words here.
It’s time to realise that being drunk does not equal consent.
It’s time to realise intoxicated individuals are not ‘asking for it.’
It’s time for young adults or teens to stop getting away unscathed due to poor or corrupt investigation.
It’s time to stop making up excuses for rapists, regardless of their age or how promising their futures were.
To conclude, a quote that was found via Tumblr:
If you rape someone, it doesn’t matter that you’re only 16.
If you rape someone, it doesn’t matter that you cry like a child in court.
If you rape someone, it doesn’t matter that you had a promising future.
if you rape someone, it doesn’t matter that your life is destroyed.
If you rape someone, it should haunt you for the rest of your life.
You raped someone.
You deserve every ounce of justice we can place upon you in court of law. “