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The intersections of emotion and capitalism.

Daisy Coleman's Carrie Moment

Daisy Coleman was raped by a popular boy. Now is her Carrie moment.

I went to see the remake of "Carrie" this weekend. I don't particularly like horror films, but "Carrie" is more like a Grimm's fairytale updated for contemporary notions of good and evil. The film, based on a Stephen King novel, is about a social loser who is tortured by the popular kids and gets her revenge in the end. As a young teenager I saw Sissy Spacek's burning down the prom as a kind of happy ending, despite all the gore. I am somewhat ashamed to say that as a middle-aged mother I still thrilled at the beautiful revenge that Chloe Grace Moretz took on those cruel and evil bullies who made her life a living hell and turned her into a demon.

But as I said, this is a Grimm fairytale, not a Disney one. In Grimm versions of Cinderella or Snow White, there were often horrible and bloody scenes and the princess was not the kindest in the land, but the one who got revenge last. So it is with Daisy Coleman, a young woman who has been tortured and bullied not just by the teens in her high school, but by the adult leaders of her community in Maryville, Missouri. As Daisy tells the story over at xojane, when she was 14 years old and a freshman in high school, a popular senior football player lured her to his house, convinced her to drink a lot of alcohol, and then raped her and her 13-year-old friend. Then they dumped her into the snow and left her on a cold January night. What happened next was even more shocking. Rather than being prosecuted, the town rallied around rapist. As Daisy wrote,

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 Matt's family was very powerful in the state of Missouri and he was also a very popular football player in my town, but I still couldn't believe it when I was told the charges were dropped. Everyone had told us how strong the case was -- including a cell phone video of the rape which showed me incoherent.

All records have been sealed in the case, and I was told the video wasn't found. My brother told me it was passed around school.

Her brothers were bullied, her mother was fired from her job, and eventually their house was burned to the ground. The only reason anything changed is because  Anonymous began a Twitter campaign at #justice4Daisy. Now county prosecutor Robert Rice has decided to reopen the case in 2012. 

Not surprisingly, the rapist is the grandson of a once prominent politician. The young man insists the sex was consensual- which is an odd description given that he dumped the girl and her mother found her scratching at the door half frozen and bleeding and that a cellphone recording of the event shows Daisy passed out during the encounter.

Fortunately, Daisy's mother, Melinda, secretly recorded conversations with the prosecutor, recordings that make clear that Daisy and her family were cooperating and that it was Rice's decision to drop the charges. She also recorded Rice saying that other girls had come forward to accuse these same boys but that they were all liars.  

This case is just one of a long line of cases where powerful young men rape young women and then avoid prosecution because of their even more powerful families. But as Steubenville, Ohio learned, the powerful do not always win. And as the brothers Grimm foretold, sometimes revenge, not romance and happily everafter, is the point of the story. Or, to return to that ultimate revenge fantasy Carrie's tagline, she is Daisy Coleman and

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Laurie Essig, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology and women and gender studies at Middlebury College.

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