It all began with 14 year old Daisy Coleman sneaking out of her house at 1am. What came next has been talked about since it was first reported several months ago by the Kansas City Star. According to reports, Coleman and a friend snuck over to a 17 year old football player’s house where they consumed numerous alcoholic beverages. The night ended with Daisy seen being carried incoherently crying and then being dropped off in 22 degree weather on her front porch where her mother found her scratching at the door in the morning.
Daisy’s 13 year old friend, who also snuck out and was at the same party was also treated in a similar fashion although she was coherent. According to reports, her Daisy’s friend went into a bedroom with a 15-year-old boy, who later told the police that “although the girl said ‘no’ multiple times, he undressed her, put a condom on and had sex with her.” Gruesome, yes. Horrifying for any parent of a young girl? Absolutely. Because of the publicity this particular case received (the trial recently ended January 9 with plea bargain for the 19 year old defendant) it is unsurprising that Daisy Coleman attempted to commit suicide following the release of specific details surrounding the case. What is surprising, however, is that Daisy’s mother stated that her daughter was unable to attend the conclusion of the trial due to the suicide attempt that was made “after various bullying accusations on social media.” A recent article on Slate.com also backed up Daisy’s mothers claim by stating that “the town lined up behind Matthew and against Daisy.” To the reader, the problem with this situation is obvious. How is it possible that a 14 year old girl was blamed for her own rape and bullied because of it to the point where she attempted suicide?
According to reports, Daisy was bullied from multiple sources by people who accused her of seducing the football all-star and then blaming him for the results. Unfortunately, these accusations are nothing new. Girls in multiple rape cases, including the Steubenville, Ohio case have been accused of seducing the boys accused in their various rape cases with provocative words and clothes. In particular in Ohio, the 16 year old who pressed rape charges had clear evidence (tweets, facebook posts and a picture of her being carried unconsciously by the ankles and wrists by her attackers) was blamed for “allowing the incident to occur.” Although her only memories of the night involved vomiting in the middle of the street, the evidence on social media was enough to file charges against the two football players and later convict them. The charges, however, were also initially dropped due to public outrage against the girl.
Shifting across the spectrum, many recent rape cases have had surprising declarations from the males accused. Males suggest that they were seduced by the young girls and that it was consensual. Surprisingly, especially in the Ohio case, they have received the support and backing of a tremendous amount of people. This is partly what contributed to the negative out lash against both of the two girls mentioned in the cases above. The argument surround in the “blame game” in rape cases has caused many discussions into the gender equality and the objectification of females. Rape cases are only one example of the strained gender relations that still plague the United States on a daily basis and the idea that girls are simply objects to be used for sexual relations.
How has the psychology behind gender relations become so twisted that a girl can be bullied for stating the evidence for her own rape? Gender equality has long been the topic of controversy since women first began to speak out about various inequalities. After decades of struggle, however, it is clear that girls are still being objectified and portrayed in a certain way in our current society. Rape cases are not the only instances where objectifying females has become controversial. Due to their objectification, females are experiencing greater gender parity in education, employment and other major fronts. One of the key causes of female objectification (which has led to various mediums of inequality) has been social media. The recent focus on the media’s portrayal of women has produced two questions. Can objectification ever be completed eliminated and, if so, how?