The Spaghetti-on-Wall School of Victim-Blaming

Shepard Smith of Fox News had a guest on his show, a criminal defense attorney named Joseph DiBenedetto, to do some song-and-dance about the Maryville rape case. And this is what Mr. DiBenedetto had to say about Daisy Coleman:

“There’s no denying that from the surface it appears to be some sort of cover-up,” the defense attorney said. “But when you look at the finer details, there are telltale signs of this girl actually lying. She is leaving her home at 1 a.m. in the morning and nobody forced her to drink. And what happens? She gets caught by her mom, she’s embarrassed and the easy way out here is, ‘Mom, someone took advantage of me.’”

“But what did she expect to happen at 1 a.m. in the morning after sneaking out?” he asked. “I’m not saying — assuming that these facts are accurate and this did happen — I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but knowing the facts as we do here including what the prosecutor has set forth, this case is going nowhere and it’s going nowhere quick.”

You might notice that he’s going with two different stories here. The first is that the girl’s a liar, because she should be ashamed of sneaking out and drinking, so she tells her mother it was a rape, because in The Land Under Siege by Pubescent Sluts, reporting a star football player as a rapist is so much LESS attention-getting than admitting to your mother that you behaved like a teenager. It’s not like she got a raft of slut-shaming, victim-punishing cyber-bullying when the story came out, or anything. Yeah, she was totally covering her own ass by telling her mother she’d been raped. And we’re going to skip over the details of how her mother found her freezing outside, and found the physical evidence of sexual assault without her daughter’s explanation.

Then, in case that angle doesn’t work out, he says that even if she wasn’t lying, well, she was totally asking for it. If she’s telling the truth, then, you know, she should be ashamed of herself. Because, she snuck out and she got drunk, so the rape was inevitable.

If a creature from another dimension were listening to this guy’s account through a Babel-fish, that alien might get the impression that rape is an accident that happens to girls who aren’t sufficiently rule-abiding and cautious. DiBenedetto said all that without even once acknowledging that there were guys involved. There was an older teenage boy who was indispensably involved in Daisy’s sneaking out, her getting blackout drunk, and her appearing in a rape video on someone’s iPhone. Let’s say nothing about the actions of Matthew Barnett bringing much younger and smaller girls to his house, pressuring a 14-year-old to drink more than she could handle, and putting his cock in her while his friend got them on video, finally, leaving her inadequately dressed and semi-conscious outdoors in freezing weather. Clearly the kid has no control whatsoever over his own actions when a girl sends him a text, so he might as well not have even been there.

Let’s remember that as far as he’s concerned, his explanation doesn’t need to be coherent. He doesn’t need to worry about how it looks that he’s straddling the fence between She’s Lying and She Asked For It. He knows that plenty of people, many of whom could end up on a jury, will see Daisy Coleman as the guilty one if he just evokes the right images. Talk about the girl being less than a perfect angel, and the rapist disappears.

Recommended Questions for the Maryville Rape

The questions are going around. Of course they’ve been going around for months already; these are the questions that come up whenever we hear about a rape. “Why did she put herself in that position?” “Why did she drink so much?” “No one forced her to be in that house with those boys.”

Rape is always in the passive voice, it’s always about what happened to the victim rather than what the rapist chose to do, and so on and so forth.

Now, I’m not saying that 14-year-old girls “should” binge drink, or that it’s totally a good idea to hang out with older boys without adult supervision. I’m just saying there are other questions we should ask before we get started on Daisy Coleman’s poor judgment.

Such as: “If Matt Barnett and his friends couldn’t control themselves in the presence of younger girls, then why did he drive his car to the Coleman house and transport those girls to his unsupervised, booze-soaked party? This whole situation would have been avoided if he had simply not gone to their house. The girls were texting him, but they didn’t force him to get in the car.”

Also: “If Matt Barnett was so sure that Daisy Coleman wanted to have sex with him, then why did he pour two large glasses of Bacardi Big Apple down the already-tipsy girl’s throat? A 14-year-old girl does not hold her liquor nearly as well as a strapping 17-year-old boy, and Matt surely knew that much better than Daisy. If Matt hadn’t put that liquor in her hands, and if he hadn’t encouraged her to drink up, she wouldn’t have gotten so drunk, and she wouldn’t have been so vulnerable. Why was Matt Barnett so eager to see a 14-year-old girl drink as much as possible?”

Finally: “Why did Matt and the guys leave blackout-drunk, inadequately-dressed Daisy out on her front lawn in dangerously cold weather? Why didn’t they take her inside along with her friend and put her to bed so she wouldn’t be in danger of freezing to death? If they’d taken her inside, her mother might not have discovered the evidence of her rape, and Matt would not have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child.”

After we’ve finished discussing those aspects of the incident, THEN we can start talking about what Daisy Coleman should have known beforehand.

Maryville, MO has blood on its hands.

How many more times is this shit going to happen?

A Missouri state representative’s 17-year-old grandson and his buddies pick up a couple of girls, ages 14 and 13, from their slumber party, drive them to the 17-year-old’s house, feed them enough hard liquor to make them black out, and record themselves fucking the intoxicated girls. They drive the girls back to the 14-year-old’s house, tell the 13-year-old to go on inside and that they’ll look after her friend until she sobers up; instead, they leave her outside, unconscious in freezing weather, wearing only a t-shirt and sweatpants. Fortunately, she wakes up and her mother brings her inside before she has time to die of hypothermia.

The girl’s mother takes her to the hospital, police are called, and, holy shit, arrests are swiftly made and appropriate charges filed. At the same time, folks around town start making threats against the 14-year-old victim and her widowed mother and older brothers. The girl is suspended from the cheerleading team. The mother loses her job. The usual talking points come up: “She was asking for it.” The girl and her mother are “crazy bitches.”

Despite the police having gathered all the evidence a prosecutor could ever ask for, the prosecutor drops the charges, but he insists it’s not about political connections, no, not at all. The prosecutor says it was all a matter of “incorrigible teenagers” drinking and fucking. “They were doing what they wanted to do, and there weren’t any consequences. And it’s reprehensible. But is it criminal? No.”

After the charges are dropped, the victim-punishing gets even worse. The girl is called a “skank,” and so forth. The sheriff blames the girls’ mothers for the justice system’s inertia. The widowed mother packs up her kids and moves back to Albany. Her house in Maryville somehow burns to the ground.

Her daughter has attempted suicide twice in the past two years despite regularly being in therapy. The girl has been repeatedly hospitalized and has spent 3 months at a group home for “struggling” teens. Her rapist is in college and Tweeting about how all women want to fall on his cock.

The Kansas City Star has wisely disabled commenting on the article.

Now Anonymous has taken up the case. I suspect Maryville will soon be casting itself as the victim of Anonymous’s vindictive witch-hunting. I’m sure they’re so sorry they’ve been caught.