14 October 2013

Boys will be boys, right?

On Friday, the Kansas City Star ran a long piece about a 14-year old girl, Daisy, in Maryville, Mo., who, while drunk and not able to consent, had sex with a high school senior, while another boy video taped the act. 

 The boy and his friends, who also assaulted Daisy’s 13-year-old friend, dumped Daisy on her front lawn, where she remained, passed out, in below-freezing weather, for several hours until her mother found her. She also had abrasions around her genitals. With the video and a number of accounts and other evidence, the boy was charged with sexual assault.

Unbelievably, over the next few weeks, threats were made against Daisy’s family and many people rallied around the football player, who claimed the sex was consensual. Daisy’s mother, a veterinarian who had moved her family to Maryville after her husband was killed in a car accident, lost her job because her boss said if she pursued civil charges, it would unduly stress out her fellow staffers. 

After two months, the assault charge against the football player was dropped, even though Missouri felony law states if someone is incapacitated from alcohol, then the sex is non-consensual. Daisy had a blood alcohol level of .13  several hours after her last drink--served to her by the boy who had sex with her. Additionally, a sexual exploitation of a minor charge against the boy who video taped the sex act was also dropped. Even a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a minor by leaving her in freezing temperatures was dropped. 

Maryville is a small town with a few prominent families who run the town and the football player just happened to be in one of them. Plus, as newcomers, Daisy and her family had no clout in the town. They had no one to advocate for them, even though the sheriff and the doctor who treated Daisy felt her case was legitimate.

After the dismissal, life didn’t get any easier for Daisy.  She continued to be called a “skank” in tweets. She transferred to a different school, and eventually the family moved out of Maryville and back to their hometown.  But the story doesn’t end there. The Maryville house Daisy’s mother put up for sale was torched. Daisy had tried to kill herself two times. 

The boy who raped her? He’s at college and seems to be carrying on just fine. The Kansas City Star reprinted one of his recent retweets: “If her name begins 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.”

What do we teach our young girls? Do we teach them that they can never have too much to drink and let down their guard because there may be someone there who will take advantage of them (obviously, the best message to 13- and 14-year old girls and boys is not to be drinking at all, but what about to college girls who may be of legal age? Is the advice the same to all of them?) What a scary world to think that if a girl willingly—or unwillingly—drinks too much, there are boys, her peers, who then see it as perfectly acceptable to have sex with her. 

Where are boys getting that idea and why does it seem like we’re hearing these stories weekly now?  I don’t have any answers. I also don’t have any friends who have raised young men to think this is appropriate behavior-- or at least I don’t think I have. All I know is it seems like the girl never stops paying the price and the boys seem to just skate on with their lives, with the lack of charges only reinforcing in their minds that the behavior is not only OK, but condoned. 

Today’s $10 goes to Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, a Kansas City-area coalition that assists victimes of sexual assault and their families. 

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