I know we’re tired of hearing about this because it’s a hard and horrifying subject, but we need to talk about it. Don’t worry, it has a quasi-happy ending.
In January 2012, two teenage girls were raped by high-school football players. Daisy Coleman (who voluntarily shared her name) and her friend were raped by Matthew Barnett and his friend Jordan Zech while intoxicated. Not only were these girls raped, but they were videotaped as well. At the end of the night, Daisy’s unconscious body was dropped off on her porch like unwanted newspaper. She was left to freeze that night, unaware of the magnitude of events that would follow.
What happened in Maryville, Missouri almost two years ago mirrors exactly what happened in Steubenville, Ohio. A girl (in this case, two) gets raped by sports players, and even though there is an alarming amount of evidence that points to rape, the town proceeds to turn against her.
The case never went to trial for several disappointing reasons. First of all, Matthew Barnett is the grandson of Republican representative Rex Barnett. Second, persecutor Robert Rice stated that the rape kits, interviews, and Zech’s admission that he deleted the video of that night were not enough to convict Barnett of sexual assault. What is enough to convict someone of sexual assault? It seems to me that in order to have a fool-proof trial, one must get raped directly in front of the judges. And even then, who knows. Maybe you were asking for it.
Law enforcement official, Sheriff Darren White stated that, “there’s no doubt a crime was committed,” but that “I guess they’re just going to have to get over it.”
Daisy’s family was not just going to “get over it”. By relentlessly pursuing justice, they faced harassment both in person and on social media. Matthew and Jordan’s friends started using the hashtag #jordanandmattarefree, posting:
@shelbgolightly: “F*ck yea. That’s what you get for being a skank sorrryyy…”
The family was driven out of town. Daisy was kicked off of the cheerleading team “for her role in the night’s events,” and one of the boys’ families wanted an apology from Daisy for what their son has “been through”. Daisy’s mother was fired from her job. Daisy tried to commit suicide twice. The Coleman’s house mysteriously burned down and investigators still haven’t figured out how or why.
However, the story spread on the internet, and caught the attention of a few Anonymous-linked Twitter accounts including @YourAnonNews and @YourAnonCentral. Individuals from all over started the hashtag movement #Justice4Daisy. Activists and hackers from across the nation that work on social media have brought the issue to light.
By furiously demanding for action and investigation of the dropped charges as well as targeting county prosecutor Robert Rice, Anonymous finally got some results. The city of Maryville began drowning in e-mails, calls, letters, and social media comments on the case. On Tuesday, Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder called for a grand jury to convene in the Daisy Coleman case. Governor Kindler stated:
“I am disappointed that Attorney General would wash his hands of the matter through a brief statement by a spokesman. The appalling facts in the public record shock the conscious and cry out that responsible authorities must take another look. I call on Attorney General Koster and Prosecutor Rice to join me in asking that the Circuit Court convene a grand jury to review all the evidence, hear all witnesses, and issue a decision as to whether charges should ensue.”
Now that there is pressure on the state of Missouri to respond, let’s hope that justice is served. After nearly two years, it’s about time someone paid the consequences for their ugly actions.