Audrie & Daisy, The Coleman Case and Rape Culture

**TW: Sexual assault and rape**

Audrie & Daisy is an amazing Netflix documentary that follows, in particular, two teenagers who were sexually assaulted and raped (among other brave young women who also shared their stories).

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If you haven’t watched the documentary, you need to do so immediately.

It’s similar to The Hunting Ground, and perhaps even more moving.

Unfortunately, Audrie’s story is presented via third person (mainly her parents), because she committed suicide soon after she was raped.

She was raped whilst unconscious, and the boys responsible took photos and shared them everywhere.

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Audrie’s desperate plea for answers shortly before she took her life

Audrie, like with most sexual assault and rape cases, was blamed.

She was the slut who should have known better.

It was too much for her; and she chose to end her life as a result.

However, whilst Daisy also attempted to take her life, she was unsuccessful and therefore able to share her story.

Daisy tells the story of her and her best friend, Paige, and how they were drinking one night in her bedroom, when her older brother’s friend messaged her, asking if she wanted to join him and his friends.

To Daisy, this seemed like a dream come true.

The girls were fourteen.

And older boys wanted to hang out with them.

The girls snuck out of Daisy’s house, drunk, and then they were plied with more alcohol.

Paige was sexually assaulted.

Daisy was raped, photographed, videoed and then dumped outside her parents’ house, and left to freeze overnight.

It was so cold her hair froze to the ground.

She was still unconscious when her mother found her the next morning.

Yet, despite all of this, this isn’t the most disturbing aspect of the case (that was originally never taken to court).

It was all the victim-blaming from both the sheriff and the media.

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The sheriff, Darren White, despite being told by multiple people that there was video evidence of the crime, believed that they were lying. He felt this way despite the fact that the boys responsible for the rape admitted to the fact that they’d videotaped the assault.

“The phone was sent to the forensic laboratory in Kansas City. Their report came back, said that whatever was on that phone was deleted and that through the magic of Apple computers, when they say delete, they mean delete. It’s not like a regular computer or an Android phone, where you can go back … Where you can go back. [And] you can piece stuff back together on a hard drive. [All] the people saying that there’s a video out there, all the people saying they saw the video, there’s no way nice way to say it, they’re liars. You know, unfortunately, you have a lot of people involved in this that are running around and telling a lot of stories. Um, and you know, without pointing fingers, uh, it serves to benefit people’s causes by making things up that didn’t happen and really doesn’t exist. But don’t underestimate the need for attention. Especially young girls. There’s a lot of pressure on young girls in our society to be pretty, to be liked, to … be the popular one. All of those things.”

However, a quick Google search illustrates that this couldn’t be further from the truth: that a forensic laboratory should have been able to find a deleted video, as Apple Support alone can tell me how to recover deleted documents, videos and photos.

However, the conversation takes a turn when he states that, “Nothing that occurred that night ever, ever rose to the level of the elements of the crime of rape. [Forcible] compulsion is the primary component of the crime of rape. You know, it’s just not there.”

The interviewer, clearly surprised about the Sheriff’s statement, asked him directly how it could be consensual if one of the parties involved wasn’t conscious.

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And if it couldn’t get any worse, the Sheriff continued later in the documentary, “As near as I can tell, the boys are the only ones that have decided that they wanna put this behind them, and try to move on with their lives, and try to make something of themselves. They … I think all of them, [are], um, going to college, and working and trying to do better. And this is one of our real fatal flaws of our society. Is that it’s always … it’s always the boys. It’s not always the boys. The girls … [have] as much culpability in this world as the boys do. So, you know, everybody has to take their part of it.”

The interviewer points out how the boys were responsible, and were the ones that committed the crime.

White’s response to this was to laugh and ask, “Were they?”

And this is the problem.

This is rape culture.

The Sheriff, who believes that Daisy wasn’t raped. The Sheriff, who believes that the boys should be rewarded for moving on after raping someone. The Sheriff, who decides that, because there was no video evidence on the one phone he checked, that everyone was lying about the video – including the boys who made the video.

The Fox News host, who said, “But what did she expect to happen at 1.00 o’clock in the morning, after sneaking out?”

Because, apparently, a fourteen-year-old should expect to be raped.

This is rape culture.

This desire to blame the victim and spare the rapist.

The idea that women are ‘asking for it’.

That the future of a boy is more important than the victim he raped.

It’s a culture we need to change.

Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.

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Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, in a past that both seems impossible to forget a minute of, whilst simultaneously being the same thing I spend most of my life actively trying not to think of, I met a man.

I’ve discussed him multiple times before – most recently in The Meet-Cute and Picture Perfect, but as well in older posts such as, Sticks and Stones and But Why Doesn’t She Leave?

The latest story I shared, The Meet-Cute, told the tale of the loss of my virginity and the beginning signs of his abuse and manipulation – many of which I wasn’t aware of, for a variety of reasons.

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This story, however, is also just as specific.

It happened just before our one year anniversary – and, to be honest, if I’d seen his manipulation for what it was, I probably wouldn’t have almost made it to our second anniversary (we broke up a few weeks before it).

Before the “event” that almost broke up our relationship, my ex “dabbled” with drugs.

At the time, as far as I was aware, it was only pot (a fact I was not happy about. I don’t really believe in illicit drugs, and whilst I’m aware of many of the arguments surrounding the legalisation of marijuana, I’m not yet ready to take a stance either way.  I don’t like to make decisions until I feel like I’ve researched all the facts, and whilst I have plenty of information for both for and against, I’m undecided as to how I feel, and therefore won’t make a decision). However, as both my parents work in medical fields, they’d warned me of the consequences of all drugs, including ones that many deemed ‘harmless’. I’d expressed that I didn’t like his addiction – and it wasn’t a one-off social event that could be more easily ignored.

It was continuous.

Constant.

And he was always angrier, more aggressive, and extremely paranoid when he was high. Not a great mix when dealing with an abusive partner. But, I guess, all abusers have an excuse. For many, like my ex, drugs and alcohol are the reasons they use.

Perhaps they had nothing to do with his behaviour.

Perhaps he was just that way and always will be (at least, that’s how he would have been with me. I can’t speculate on other relationships he’s had).

It’s impossible to tell.

However, I later found out – after our very bad break-up, he did far more than pot – including actually dealing drugs. (Yes, I dated a charming man. Also note: Never read anyone’s emails unless you’re 100% prepared for what you’ll find. I read his emails to prove a friend wrong about him. The bright side was, what we found was so bad she never said “I told you so”.)

But I digress.

He convinced me that his temper was directly related to his pot addiction.

Not wanting to end a relationship over pot (or, at least that’s how it seemed in my mind), no matter my personal feelings on the subject, and believing his excuses, I trust him.

That trust, for more than one reason, was seriously misplaced.

A few weeks after we’d had this discussion, when I was cleaning his room, I found more pot.

I was furious, to say the least.

I genuinely considered leaving him.

And, I know that for some of you, you don’t think pot is a big deal.

And I get that.

You don’t, at all, have to justify what your reasons are or why. Your feelings are your own, and I trust each and every one of you in regards to whatever your views and position on marijuana may be.

However, imagine it’s not a drug you support.

Imagine it’s something that has been a continuous problem of contention between you and your partner.

Imagine, when he does it, it always causes you to have asthma attacks because your lungs can’t even handle the smell of smoke (that includes the smell on his body/clothes/hair after he’s finished).

Imagine he knows this, knows he’s putting your life literally at risk, and continues to do it anyway. (And get mad at you when you start having an asthma attack because you can’t breathe.)

Imagine he gets angry at you all the time when he’s high. And this continues for days after (worse than his behaviour normally is).

Imagine you never know where or when his outbursts will happen.

They happen because you didn’t run fast enough while playing soccer.

They happen because you twisted your ankle and don’t have a car and can’t walk up multiple hills to get him beer.

They happen because a guy talked to you.

They happen because of so many reasons, many of which proceed with no explanation.

And, when he asks you to forgive him, to trust him, he blames his addiction. He’s going to give up pot and be a better boyfriend.

He promises you everything will change.

And then you discover that he lied straight to your face.

When you confront him, however, after discovering his lie, he turns the disagreement around.

It took me six months to realise that I’d been manipulated.

He was so good at it, that by the end of the fight, I was begging him not to leave me.

He gaslit me.

He made me feel crazy.

If your partner does the same, you are not in a healthy relationship.

No one should make you feel crazy. No one should make you doubt yourself.

And you need to get out if that’s the case.

Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.

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Colin Kaepernick Part 3

This woman is truly awful.

bookmarkchronicles

I said I wasn’t going to do it. I really didn’t want to watch this video but I did it anyway.

First let’s start with the fact that she calls him a “whiny, indulgent, attention seeking crybaby” Is she talking about Colin or about herself here?

Funny how she tells him to just leave the country if he doesn’t like it so much since most conservatives criticize Syrian refugees for doing the exact same thing…

What has he done to make this country better? Oh I don’t know…maybe used his privilege and his platform to speak out on behalf of people whose concerns and fears are continually ignored. I think that’s a pretty big deal Tomi, but of course since what he’s speaking about “doesn’t apply to you,” you don’t give a damn.

Actually, his message to people of color is to speak up for what you believe in, fight…

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Rae’s Rules to Remember #55: Trans Inclusion

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bookmarkchronicles

I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this post.

I’m confused as to why people who claim to be feminists aren’t supporting transgender men and women. I mean, I thought that it was pretty clear that gender equality wasn’t limited to cisgender people only. That’s means not only including people who identify as trans but also gender fluid, gender nonconforming etc.

Seriously, where is the confusion?

Trans people are people and they deserve to be treated as such. They should be able to use their respective bathrooms without fear. They should have affordable access to health care. They should be accepted for who they are before, during, and after their transition.

visibility infographic update 2015

I don’t know about you but I am tired of watching the news and hearing that a trans person was murdered or that a trans teen committed suicide. From what I’ve seen, trans women of color are targeted…

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Good Will Hunting – Movie Review

So, today I decided I wanted to do novel and movie reviews. I don’t know why, and I don’t know if it’ll last, but it’s what I decided I wanted to do (as well as my normal posts).

My first movie review is on Good Will Hunting.

I love this movie. Honest to god, it’s one of my favourite films.

If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s on Australian Netflix right now, so everyone else probably has access to it because Australian Netflix is extremely limited.

Good Will Hunting is a drama/comedy that centres around an incredibly bright young man named Will Hunting (duh).

Due to a bad foster childhood, being bounced around, he develops a severe attachment disorder as a result, making it hard for him to have relationships and connect with people. His family are his close friends, who he grew up with.

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He works as a janitor at MIT, as his parole job (he is often in and out of prison due to extreme violence – something not all that uncommon with people who have developed attachment disorders) and solves a Math problem that took the MIT professors years to work out.

As a result, one of the Professors wants to take him in, realising his unique intelligence; however, Will, quite frankly, doesn’t give a shit.

There’s a lot that happens to get Will to work with the Professor – played brilliantly by Stellan Skarsgard – including having will see a therapist, who is played equally as well by Robin Williams.

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Robin Williams’ stark honesty as a therapist is quite refreshing. He won’t put up with Will’s bullshit, and calls him on it every time – something that Will (played by Matt Damon) needs, and eventually relies on.

The film is hilarious – genuinely hilarious. Robin Williams ad-libbed a lot of his scenes, including the infamous scene where he’s telling Will about his wife who used to fart so loud she’d wake up (if you watch closely, the camera is shaking during this scene. This is because the cameraman’s actually laughing, too). It’s also devastatingly real – especially as someone who has worked with children who suffer from different attachment disorders.

***Enter Ye With Caution: Spoilers Lie Below***

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The ending is incredibly touching. While we never truly know if Will gets his fairy tale ending, he finally begins to start taking chances – all because of Robin Williams’ character’s determination and hard work. Whilst many might find the idea that Will “went to see about a girl”, and shoved a potentially amazing (and extremely well-paying) job up his arse for a woman, that’s not the part of the movie I love the most.

Robin Williams half-laughing and half-crying isn’t even the part that I love the most (when he realises he’s been successful with Will).

The part I love the most is how much Ben Affleck’s character – Will’s best friend – loves Will. I love that he knows how smart Will is, and how unique that makes him. I love that despite the fact he’s aware his life will be a little less bright without Will around, he tells Will to leave.

And he’s genuinely happy when Will does.

If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to.

Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.

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The terrifying power of “Othering”. There’s nothing new in Donald Drumpf’s tactics.

Comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles – three of which may be poisoned, so best to discard the whole bowl – is an idea that has deep roots. The concept of one bad apple…

Source: The terrifying power of “Othering”. There’s nothing new in Donald Drumpf’s tactics.

Rae’s Rules to Remember #30: People are NOT property

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Serenity

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed one day and came across a CNN post titled:

“Pakistani woman dies after being beaten and set on fire for rejecting a marriage proposal”

Yeah… you read that correctly.

I don’t even know where to begin right now. I am livid. I am infuriated. I am livid. I am absolutely disgusted.

To make all of this worse (just when you thought it was impossible) she was only 18. She was a child. At the time of the attack, she was home babysitting her 5-year-old sister while the rest of their family was away. And it wasn’t just one person that did this to her. There were four of them. Four men stormed into her home, beat her, and set her on fire.

Another story that I heard recently was that a man flagged down two women in a car. He starts talking to…

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