This is our letter in support of Daisy Coleman, survivor of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. A colleague and I have been following the story of Daisy Coleman, a student at a Missouri high school who was raped by Matt Barnett, a high school football player. The headlines on November 26, 2013 is a victory for survivors of sexually based crimes.
You are receiving this letter today from two survivors of sexually based crimes. Although our crimes occured nearly 25 years ago and we are now women in our early 30’s, we both can relate to your story significantly due to the similar outcomes.
We applaud your bravery and ability to stand strong against judgements casted upon you, the violence surrounding you, and the unjust scrutiny your state’s people have intentionally engulfed on you and your family.
Your aftermath mirrors ours. Collectively, we have self-mutilated our bodies, questioned our faith, and have unsuccessfully carried out our suicidal tendencies. And like you, before this all happened we were innocent shining stars looking forward to our bright futures. Please remember all of your emotions are valid and you are not alone.
This may sound redundant and overtly hopeful, however, healing is possible, it just takes a great amount of time. You have begun the process already by standing up for yourself and breaking your silence. Many women, let alone 14 year olds, are unable to speak up in fear of the backlash that you are so obviously experiencing. Missouri State Law recognizes the importance of protecting minors under the age of 17 so much so that they have written a section specifically related to Statutory Rape. Children are not capable of making the choices to give consent to sex. Just like your State, our Province of British Columbia also recognizes the need to write a law maintaining the protection and innocence of our youth. Daisy, we feel Survivors of Statutory Rape deserve automatic prosecution of their rapists.
Just because people, police chiefs, prosecutors and senators attempt to thwart your voice and that of your family, does not mean the crime did not occur. You must prevail and you must seek justice. We have been following your story because it relates so personally to us, and we are inspired, just like so many others. Please continue to follow your truth. Do not let those in power dictate how your crime is addressed. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Even if you are a minority of one, the Truth is the Truth”.
Since your image was unrightfully tarnished, we would like to give you your name back. The name Daisy is a symbolism of loyal love, beauty, and simplicity. Although this may be hard to believe right now, your name also represents purity and innocence. And we are certain that as you walk on your path towards healing, you will live up to another symbolism of your name, patience.
Be kind to yourself. You matter. You too are a child of the light.
Love, your friends,