I’ve thought a lot about the impact and reach of blogging and it’s potential to affect deep change.
I’ve also been mindful that my “tribe” is visual fine artists and my mission is to help them successfully put their work in the world.
So, up to now, this smARTist Career Blog has been dedicated to content that I felt directly impacts an artist’s career.
Only, I’m also deeply aware that we are all interconnected by the web of life and that whatever happens to one of us, happens to us all.
And since I am a whole person coming here to you, to deny or hide or somehow hope that wholeness doesn’t get in the way of your connection with me, is to miss the point altogether of what we are doing here…together.
So, I want to begin posting, from time to time, some things that strike me at a deeply personal level as particularly important for our collective health.
For some of you, I know, there will be ideology that seems to separate us and you may chose to opt out of staying connected with me because our perspective on life differs.
I’m fine with that. Sorry to see anyone go because they feel their own sensibilities have been stepped on.
But I’m no longer okay with stepping on my own sensibilities because I’m trying to not step on someone else’s.
The times we are in call out to me for the courage to be our whole selves no matter what possible burning at the stake might be in store.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long, long time and you may well ask, why now?
Why do I come out of the personal closet now, and interject it into my professional living room?
The Town of Maryville
Yes, a town. And ironically, a town with a woman’s name (you’ll understand in a minute).
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that paying attention to the many ways that art and art careers are affected by gender is a drum beat I won’t let die.
Women have been marginalized in the art world for a long long time. And even though I do not have the answers for how to correct this, what I do have is the desire to not stick my head in the sand when I’m staring at an aspect of that gender difference in the face.
I also understand where ever and whenever women and girls are attacked (nuanced or straight out!), then we all lose – men and women alike.
The larger irony of this, for me, is that at the most basic level, biologically speaking, men would not exist if it weren’t for the women who birthed them. And a lot, I repeat, A LOT of men get this. A lot of men speak up for women and women’s rights. A lot of men champion us.
And then, this happens: The Town of Maryville.
And finally, I can’t let this be one more private action that I take without putting it here for all of you to consider.
The Full Story That Just Arrived In My Inbox
If this story moves you to take action, then I have not stuck my head in the sand.
If this story moves you to unsubscribe from my list, then I bless you on your way.
If this story moves you to consider how you too can expand your own range of making a difference, then I’m deeply grateful.
And please know this: from time to time, I will share more of my response to the world that surrounds and affects the art world that I love so much.
Because I live most fully at the crossroads of my heart where the professional and the personal intersect. And if I cannot meet you there, then I cannot truly meet you.
Local authorities in Missouri need to hear from you right away.
Nearly 2 years ago, 14-year-old Daisy Coleman* was raped at a party by a high school football star and grandson of a powerful local politician in Maryville, Missouri. But now, he’s walking free while Daisy and her family struggle to survive with what happened to her.1
Immediately after the rape, Daisy and her mother went to the hospital and reported it to police. Matthew Barnett was charged, and he confessed on tape.2
But a few months later, county prosecutor Robert Rice–who has close ties to the alleged rapist’s influential grandfather–dropped the charges. Worse, the town and high school ganged up not on the rapist, but on Daisy and her family. Classmates said they hoped she “gets what’s comin,” calling her terrible names. The Colemans were forced to move out of town, Daisy’s mom lost her job over the case, and their house was even burned to the ground–the cause of the fire still undetermined.3
This is Steubenville all over again. And just like the Steubenville case, if thousands of us speak out and shine a national spotlight on Maryville, we can get justice for Daisy and her family. There’s a lot of national media attention on this case right now, and news just broke that a special prosecutor will be appointed to investigate.4 But this case has been slow walked for years. We need to make sure every single person responsible for delaying justice–including local officials–is investigated and held accountable. Will you sign the petition to demand justice for Daisy?
After the rape, Barnett left Daisy in her yard, barely conscious and wearing a t-shirt. The temperature in Maryville that night was just 22 degrees. When Daisy’s mom found her passed out at her front door at 5 a.m., her wet hair was frozen, and she was injured from the attack. She cried when her mom asked her what had happened.5
The town of Maryville seems happy to move on and forget the rape now that the charges have been dropped and the Colemans have left, but Daisy’s recovery has been slower. She has attempted suicide twice, has been hospitalized multiple times, and spent three months at a residence for struggling teens. “You’re the s-word, you’re the w-word… b-word. Just, after a while, you start to believe it,” she told a reporter about the constant torment. Barnett has gone on with his life, enrolling at Central Missouri University this year.6
Rape is an epidemic in this country–1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted, but only 3% of attackers ever spend a single day in jail.7 And when authorities ignore attacks on young girls and let rapists go free, it perpetuates a culture and justice system that tolerates rape and blames survivors for the crimes against them.
Prosecutor Rice told the Kansas City Star that this brutal rape was just “incorrigible teenagers” drinking and having sex–ignoring evidence collected from rape kits and bedding from the crime scene, witnesses’ accounts, and even the taped confession of the rapist.8 And if you thought this story couldn’t get worse, since the rape became public, Daisy’s mom has learned that other girls had tried to come forward before–but according to the sheriff, they were “all liars and… just wanted to crucify those poor innocent boys.”9
Horrific cases like this one are becoming too familiar–from Jane Doe in Steubenville, Ohio; to Rehtaeh Parsons in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Cherice Moralez in Billings, Montana.10 But we can’t let this keep happening. Can you sign the petition to make sure that Daisy’s rapist is brought to justice?
Thanks for all you do,
-Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Malinda, Adam, and Gabriela, the UltraViolet team
I don’t know about you, but if your heart feels broken by this story, please, speak up too!