What’s Sex Got To Do With… The Maryville Case?

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In 2012, a 14-year-old girl named Daisy Coleman was raped by her older brother’s friends who were seniors at the time after a house party in Maryville, Missouri under the influence of alcohol; the rape was recorded on one of the boys cell phones. Matt Barnett, the perpetrator, asserted that the sex was consensual, but the story that Daisy Coleman told asserted otherwise.

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When this case was first brought up, it was ignored and Daisy Coleman received a lot of scrutiny from the media and classmates. Because she had “blacked out” around the time that the rape had occurred, many people speculated her claims and labeled her as wild, a slut, etc. Upon the case being taken to court, it was dismissed because Daisy’s claims were not “credible” due to the state she was in, but also for political reasons because Matt Barnett’s grandfather was a trooper for 32 years and a four-term state representative for Missouri.

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The case was closed in 2012, and then reopened in 2014 due to help from The Kansas City star who published a long story on Daisy’s accounts. The story gained national recognition, and the nation was disgusted at how the small town of Maryville, MO turned its back on this young rape victim. This began to spread through social media, and the case was reopened again in 2014 where Matt Barnett pleaded guilty of endangerment.

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The fact that Daisy Coleman was shot down, criticized, and ignored when she first tried to share her story lends to the issue of why women who are raped are often afraid to tell anyone about it. They fear that because they are a woman and were a victim of power based violence and sexual assault, they are insignificant and no one will appeal to their assertions. Without the help of advocates across the country and social media, Daisy Coleman would have had to face shame and a sense of unrest for her entire life.

Why do you think that her claims were so heavily combated by the society she lived in at first even though there was video evidence? Do you think the case would have been ignored without the national outcry from the Kansas City Star’s article? Why do you think it is that Matt Barnett pleaded guilty for endangerment when he was supposed to get charged for rape?

2 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got To Do With… The Maryville Case?

  1. I think that, unfortunately, this case represents a reality for thousands of victims across the country afraid to expose their attackers for their crimes. In this case, even video evidence didn’t shield the victim from skepticism and those who defended the attackers. It is cases like these that demand action from those who learn about them. This girl has done everything within her power to expose her attackers, only to face ridicule, so it remains the job of the rest of society, in my opinion to act on these injustices when informed of their presence.


  2. Unfortunately, I think it comes down to the small town atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone, and their dad, and their dad’s dad, and their cousin, so on and so on. No one wants to believe that someone in their community can do this. With small towns, it’s even more he said/she said, plus oftentimes entire families and family names get dragged into the mix. Like this case, it’s a state representative’s grandson against a nobody. Without the public outcry, it would have been swept under the rug like so many others. The endangerment plea is easier to prove, easier for the community who thinks he would never rape, and possibly easier for Daisy. After it becoming so public and all of the backlash she has faced, it’s doubtful she wants to go through a trial. Personally, coming from a small town, this is exactly why I have never came out to my community as a survivor, and I never fully will.


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