Daisy Coleman is quickly becoming a household name now that she’s speaking out about the sexual assault that was perpetrated against her in a small Missouri town. The 14-year-old was raped by a high school football player and left semi-unconscious in her front yard in the middle of a January night — and despite the evidence surrounding the incident, including a cell phone video of the assault, the charges against the boy were dropped.
Victims of rape typically remain anonymous in the media. But Daisy and her mother are speaking openly to bring more awareness to the case, particularly since they faced significant harassment from the Maryville community after the details about the rape were made public. And now, Daisy has written her own account about what happened to her. In a piece published in xoJane on Friday, Daisy explains why she’s not done fighting for justice.
“My whole life since January 8, 2012, has been a long, reckless winter,” Daisy writes, explaining that the “nightmare” didn’t end with her sexual assault. After she was raped, she was bullied by her classmates, who called her a liar and told her she was a “skank” who was “asking for it.” She was suspended from her school’s cheerleading squad because of her “involvement” in the incident. Her peers took to social media to tell her to kill herself, and she did try to commit suicide twice.
Since the details surrounding Daisy’s story first emerged last week, the online hacktivist group Anonymous began pressuring state officials to re-open the investigation into the case. That pressure appears to be having an impact. Several Missouri lawmakers have come out in support of a grand jury investigation. On Thursday, Maryville agreed to bring in a special prosecutor to revisit the evidence in the case.
Daisy is glad to see Anonymous’ impact. “This is a victory, not just for me, but for every girl,” Daisy writes.
Indeed, Daisy’s story isn’t an anomaly. Over the past year, other high-profile rape cases have ended in further tragedy after victim-blaming took its toll on high school girls. Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott both committed suicide after evidence of their sexual assault spread throughout social media and they were bullied by their peers. And in an interview with CNN last week, Daisy’s mother also suggested that additional girls in Maryville may have been victimized by the same high school football players who raped Daisy.