Firstly, this is about Daisy Coleman. You can read Daisy Coleman’s story here at XOJane.
Please keep in mind that the case hasn’t been tried in court. So these are allegations.
That being said let me list out some biases, lest you walk into this post assuming it’ll be unbiased.
Bias #1: I have 6 kid sisters. I’m the only elder Brother. In any case of a 14 year old girl accusing a 17 year old boy of getting her drunk and raping her, my sympathies would be with the girl UNLESS and UNTIL the boy’s innocence was proven via HARD FACTS. The fact that he literally dumped her outside her house in the snow doesn’t help his case.
Bias #2: Rape is often a crime of hate and/or desperation. Why hate? Some rapists hate women. Rape is a tool to belittle women. Why desperation? Some rapists think they could never get a woman otherwise. This doesn’t mean rape is justified. It means that there are a LOT more rapists out there than you might realize. Quite a few men have hatred for women. Quite a few men are desperate. Women tend to gloss over this stuff. Don’t. Ignoring reality is a bad idea. There are men who hate women and treat women terribly.
Bias #3: Rape punishment should be a LOT more severe. Why? Because rape leaves victims with long-term mental and psychological damage and it takes a long time to function normally. For some people things are never normal. It’s crazy that rapists get sentences like 18 months or 2 years. That isn’t enough deterrence.
I wouldn’t go as far as the death penalty. However, castration and/or sterilization and 10 years in prison for convicted rapists sounds quite good. Perhaps an additional 10 years if the girl is 16 or below 16.
Biologically, the threat of castration would remove the biological incentive to rape completely. We might be very shocked at just how much the incidence of rape goes down if the punishment is castration.
Quick Note: Yes, you could argue that this would increase the number of rape related deaths. However, it would massively decrease the number of rapes. Would you take a 80% reduction in rapes for a 80% increase in rape related deaths? What if the first means 10 million less rapes a year? What if the second means 20,000 more deaths a year. It’s a tough question.
Bias #4: It’s completely messed up that there’s a culture of ‘She put herself in a situation for that to happen’ so ‘she’s to blame’. Being stupid DOES NOT MEAN it’s open hunting season. If you saw a drunk man on the street, is it suddenly ok to steal his money and shoot him in the head? Why then is there a line of thought that ‘if there’s a girl drunk and stumbling around’ then if something bad happens to her, she’s ‘asking for it’. I’ll address this more later.
Now, with the biases all stated, here are my 14 Quick Thoughts.
#1 Hats off to the Brave Girl for Revealing her Identity
I have a ton of respect for Daisy Coleman. She’s just 16 or 17. She was just 14 when the ‘alleged’ rape happened.
For her to come out took a ton of courage and I hope justice is served (whatever the right justice should be, I don’t know).
We’ve all had bad things happen to us. Sometimes really bad things. It’s difficult to talk about them. Much less to the whole world. Even more so when you know that the criminals (or ‘alleged’ criminals) might never get punished.
This is a really big step for her and for all rape victims. The more girls (and pretty much anyone who’s the victim of a crime) realizes that THEY ARE NOT TO BLAME. They are Heroines and Courageous for stepping forward and bringing their rapists to justice, the more women will come out. The more of the bad guys (and girls) will be brought to justice.
Keep in mind that rapists who are not punished have no incentive to stop raping. We’ve basically rewarded their grotesque behavior instead of punishing it.
#2 Different People have Different Moral Compasses and Different Currencies
This is the single biggest stumbling block. If every 12 to 14 year old kid could be explained this, the world would be much better off.
You might not frame your friend in a drug bust, but they might frame you.
You might not rape someone who’s drunk, but the second guy down the street might.
Different people have different moral and ethical compasses.
If we let people with messed up moral compasses get away with crimes, they get worse and worse. For the Daisy Coleman case, there might be as many as 9 other girls who were ‘allegedly’ raped by the same guy. He’s now in college. I can assure you that the alleged rapist would have an endless supply of stupid drunk girls he could prey on. Girls who put themselves into compromised positions.
Honest Question – Do you think that getting away with one ‘alleged’ rape (and perhaps as many as 10 ‘alleged’ rapes), would make him less likely to rape in college or more likely?
You let a culprit get away once and you end up messing up the lives of 10 or 20 or 600 people down the line.
You let one person make rape seem like a ‘she was asking for it’ crime or a ‘it never gets punished’ crime and it incentivizes tens of thousands of rapists around the country to rape.
If you don’t stop crimes and punish crimes you create monsters.
#3 Putting yourself in Danger is a very, very stupid thing to do
Let’s separate this into two things –
- It’s a very very stupid thing to put yourself into a compromising position. A position where you are at the mercy of someone else who might have a very, very different moral compass.
- You are not in any way responsible if a crime happens to you AFTER you put yourself into a compromising position. It’s still a crime. It’s still 100% the fault of the committer. It’s still ZERO % your fault.
The Moral Compass idea is a very important one.
A LOT of girls grow up in an environment where they have no idea that other people have very different moral compasses. Why? Because their family and close friends are very likely to be similar and share similar values and morals.
So, someone has to explain to kids, especially teenagers, that things like drugs and alcohol are dangerous because of two main reasons –
- They impair your judgement and health, especially if taken in excess.
- They put you at the mercy of other people. Alcohol + the wrong person in control = you get raped. Drugs + the wrong person in control = you end up in jail or a prostitute.
Hard as it might be to imagine, drugs are ten times worse than alcohol. Get addicted to drugs and you run the risk of losing everything and of dying a thousand little deaths.
#4 Putting yourself in Danger does NOT make you liable for any crime against you
This is very simple – It doesn’t matter how bad of a situation you put yourself in. A crime is still a crime.
If you make a major mistake and then have to pay for it, the last thing you should do is blame yourself. Learn the lesson and absolutely NEVER put yourself into that position again. However, don’t beat yourself up for your mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Make sure not to repeat your mistakes.
Your making a mistake DOES NOT JUSTIFY a crime against you. You are Innocent.
#5 You don’t have to drink and do drugs to be cool
This one is hard. There’s a lot of programming from society. The only way to keep people as serfs in a free world is to create societal programming and to create evolutionary traps. You can hardly expect someone to free you, with a few sentences, from what has been fed into your head for decades. You just have to think freely for yourself and free yourself.
Drinking and drugs are not cool or important. Neither is popularity or the approval of your peers. In 5 years neither high school popularity, nor college popularity will matter. In a few years there’ll be so much alcohol available you’ll be sick of it.
#6 If you get raped, or have a crime committed against you, it’s NOT your fault
Detach the ‘How can I avoid this in future’ from ‘what did I do wrong’.
Learn the lessons and avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation in the future. However, don’t blame yourself. Don’t even think in that direction.
This is very, very important.
Parts of society are messed up. Society preys on the weak. If it sees weakness it tries to eat the weak. This is why we have wafer thin models in magazines and steroids and pornography.
Be strong. You want justice. Don’t let even a sliver of doubt into your system.
Know that there are millions around the world who share your experience and who have fought back. That there are millions who will take inspiration from you.
You can be the example that saves millions of girls. You can be the example that gives millions of girls the courage to strive for justice.
There are a lot of good people in the world. Just because the bad people make more noise, don’t give up the fight. The good people will help you – you just have to make your voice heard.
#7 Parents vastly under-estimate the age at which kids ‘grow up’ and start ‘experimenting’
They’ll be exposed to the ‘growing up’ thing very, very soon.
Criminals start grooming girls and boys at a very young age. In UK gangs start with 10 year old boys and girls.
The Daisey Coleman case is a good example. This was a 13 year old girl and a 14 year old girl. They were invited to a party and offered alcohol by a bunch of 17 year olds.
Lots of girls get exposed to drugs and alcohol and cigarettes between ages 11 and 15.
You can’t assume it doesn’t happen. You have to talk to your kids at a VERY young age. Get over whatever inhibitions and reluctance you have and TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT THE DANGERS THEY FACE.
Talk to them about pedophiles and inappropriate touching right when they are 3/4/5 and talk to them about drugs and alcohol when they are 10/11. If you don’t talk to them, they are left vulnerable, which is very, very bad. If you don’t talk to them, they are naïve and run the risk of being taken advantage of.
For the record, it’s absolutely a MAJOR parenting fault that a 14 year old girl –
- Was drinking at home with her 13 year old friend.
- Sneaked off in the middle of the night for a party with a bunch of 17 year olds.
And, for the record, for the ‘she was asking for it’ people, that in no way justifies giving those young girls more alcohol or ‘allegedly’ raping them.
#8 The ‘smoothest’ people are usually the most dangerous
The most dangerous rapist and predator, we’re talking about a repeat offender here, is usually someone who is –
- Careful to gradually build trust.
- Very smooth and safe on the surface.
- Socially ‘validated’. Usually a friend of a friend or even a relative.
Here, again, the typical teenage response would be – I’m so smart. That person is so safe, That person would never do anything to me. I would never let anything happen.
Don’t trust uncles and aunts or friends of friends or babysitters or nannies. It’s your kids and you get just one chance to keep them safe.
That naiveté and ignorance is what makes young kids such a good target for criminals and predators. Whether it’s drugs or rape or gang recruitment, the young are ideal targets because they’re passing through this strange mix of feeling invincible and being confused and thinking their parents are paranoid and overprotective.
I’m not sure what the answer is. However, and this is why I greatly admire Daisey Coleman for sharing her story, the more kids and young girls and young boys read about what can happen, the higher the chance they will avoid compromising situations and stupid behavior. Not because putting themselves into a position to get raped, justifies rape. No, we want to avoid such situations for our daughters and sons and young ones because you never know what the moral and ethical compass of the person who gets power over them in this situation.
It’s safest to let them make mistakes that don’t carry HUGE consequences like getting raped.
#9 Only a portion of the people being nice to you are genuinely nice
This is the toughest thing to explain to my kid sisters.
When people are being very nice to you, it can mean one out of two things –
- They are good people.
- They want something from you.
If they want something from you, then it might be something you don’t mind, like introductions to your friends. It might also be something you absolutely want no part of (like ferrying drugs across the border).
For girls, in particular, it’s the absolute biggest mistake you can make if you assume every guy you meet is trustable and wants nothing from you. Perhaps one guy out of five would not take advantage of you. Two out of five might not, but only out of fear of punishment. Two definitely would. 90% of women will argue that the ratio is more like 1 guy out of 100 would take advantage, and the other 99 would not even sneak a peek. All of those women would be 100% wrong.
A lot of girls walk around under the assumption that 99% of guys would do nothing untoward if the guy found the girl walking around dead drunk on the street. That’s just absolute naivete. A lot of guys would take advantage of you. The absolute toughest thing is that it’s often the charming and safe-looking ones who are the most likely to rape you.
A long time ago my friend and I babysat a girl who was dead drunk and stumbling along a sidewalk. It took over an hour for her ex-bf to arrive. In that time there were a handful of really shady acting guys who were eyeing the girl. It was stupid of her to put herself into that situation. She was dressed to the nines. She was drunk. She literally couldn’t stand straight, let alone walk.
However, no matter how stupid that girl was, it IN NO WAY justifies anyone committing a crime against her.
It’s not your fault if someone rapes you. To be on the safe side, avoid situations where you are vulnerable. Don’t leave a friend alone. NEVER leave a drunk friend alone or with some people you just met. Don’t let a drunk friend leave with someone she just met or someone she vaguely knows. This is simple friendship rules.
#10 Date Rape Drugs are everywhere. So are rapists.
On a night out, one of my friends gave me her drink to drink. A drink some ‘friend of a friend’ had given her. It knocked me out for nearly 12 hours.
The crazy thing – we knew EVERY person in that bar. Someone in our own extended social circle was trying to drug and rape this girl.
You have to go out with someone you can trust. You have to have a female friend who never leaves you. You have to refuse drinks from people you don’t know.
You have to be careful even after all of that.
#11 The BIGGEST Change has to be Support for Rape Victims
It’s just absolutely terrible to see so many people attack rape victims and/or patronize them.
It doesn’t matter how stupid a person was. It doesn’t matter how compromising the position the person put themselves in.
It’s NOT OK for someone to commit a crime.
You shouldn’t blame the victim of a crime. They have already paid enough for putting themselves into a stupid situation. They have already suffered for their stupidity.
Don’t make it worse by entertaining the absolutely crazy idea that ‘she was asking for it’.
How detached from reality do you have to be to tell a 14 year old girl she was ‘asking for it’?
#12 I don’t know what the solution is for women who abuse the whole ‘Rape Crime’ thing
I’m talking about women who wrongly accuse a man of rape.
I really don’t know. These women make life terrible for the men they accuse and they make things terrible for actual rape victims.
For the record, I think this creates a very terrible burden where actual rape victims have to go through torturous grilling and character study. It also scares away a lot of women because no one wants to live a painful episode over and over.
#13 Women need to realize they are completely devoid of blame if they are raped. It’s not a woman’s fault if someone rapes her.
I keep coming back to this point because –
- Firstly, this culture of blaming the victim scares a lot of women away from reporting the crime.
- Secondly, the standard attack on rape victims of trying to shame them and trying to muck up their past life and mentally harassing them, is very effective in scaring away women from reporting the crime.
- Thirdly, and this is perhaps worst, some women make the mistake of buying into the misconception that they were in some way to blame or partially responsible.
No, it doesn’t matter if she dressed trashy. Or if she walked naked down the street.
No, it doesn’t matter if she’s sexually promiscuous or not.
No, it doesn’t matter if she’s a tease.
No, it doesn’t matter if she’s drunk or high.
She is NOT asking for it.
The rape victim is not to blame.
Here’s a complete list on Things that aren’t an Invitation to Rape a Woman.
Let’s consider a simple thought exercise –
If a drunk person was walking along the street and someone took their purse and smartphone from them, it’d be stealing. Would it not be stealing? Or would you argue – It’s your fault for being drunk and leaving yourself open.
There’s no crime on the part of the victim. The crime is 100% on the part of the crime committer. No matter how stupidly the victim acted.
Let’s consider another thought exercise –
A family leaves their back door open. A criminal gang comes in, steals their money and valuables, shoots them, and leaves.
Were the family ‘asking for it’? Should the criminal gang be encouraged to kill any other family stupid enough to leave their back door open and ‘ask for it’?
#14 People greatly downplay the damage a rape does
A rape causes lasting harm. It’s a crime of hate. It’s a crime to ‘put women in their place’. It’s a crime with potentially very serious consequences, like pregnancy and STDs.
It’s a crime that takes a lot away from a person.
A combination of –
- The ‘she must have been asking for it’ reaction from some people, who usually have vested interests.
- The inadequate punishments.
- The tremendous mental strain and torture of a court case where the victim’s entire character and life are dissected and attacked.
- The idea that the victim herself is to blame creeping into the victim’s head.
- The process of the victim constantly wondering what the rape victim did wrong and whether her stupidity caused her to get raped.
means the person has to dig up a lot of inner strength and courage to fight.
Instead of solving the problem we are brushing it under the carpet. By doing this we are making things worse.
Rapists who get away don’t turn into Hermits.
Potential Rapists who see current Rapists get away don’t reform. They, in some ways, are given incentives to become rapists.
Rape Victims suffer a second crime – the drawn out torture of people wrongly implying ‘she was asking for it’ and/or ‘it’s partly her fault’.
Future Rape Victims are given incentive to just ‘shut up and get on with life’.
We start feeding the horrendous idea that rape victims were somehow responsible. They are already beating themselves up over being stupid and getting into a compromising position. The last thing they need is the poisonous idea that they were asking for it.
It’s time to end the vicious cycle.
Closing Thought – Just a lot of respect for Daisy Coleman for sharing her story
It takes a lot of courage.
Let’s hope justice is served.
Let’s hope future rapists see there are serious consequences and are deterred.
Let’s hope more and more girls and boys can avoid getting themselves into compromising situations.
Let’s hope future victims have the courage to come forward and more and more rapists are brought to justice.
Let’s hope the punishment for rape is made much stronger.
Finally, if you have young daughters or sons, or younger brothers and sisters, make sure they read about Daisy Coleman’s story. Make sure you explain to them the dangers that lie outside, and how best to avoid them. The world isn’t all butterflies and cupcakes.
Quick add-on: Perhaps not politically correct to say this, however, the prettier/better looking your daughter/son, the more likely that they’ll be targeted by predators. So if your kid won the genetic lottery you need to talk to them earlier, more often, and you have to be even more vigilant.