For starters, all victims alleged that a high school football player was the assailant. All involved were teens. And both Maryville and Steubenville residents have been accused of covering up the rape scandal to protect the teenage boys.
But unlike the 16-year-old who was raped in Steubenville, victim Daisy Coleman of Maryville refuses to be silent, even if that does mean public scrutiny. She and a friend were raped by high school football players and left semi-unconscious in her front yard in the middle of January. And even though there was a cell phone video of the assault, the charges against the boys were dropped.
But Daisy hasn’t given up hope that that will change.
“My whole life since January 8, 2012, has been a long, reckless winter,” Daisy writes in a piece published in xoJane on Friday explaining why she’s not done fighting for justice. “This is a victory, not just for me, but for every girl.”
She also opened up about her struggles with bullying and victim shaming from residents of Maryville, even admitting that she attempted to commit suicide twice since the assault.
Why would I even want to believe in a God? Why would a God even allow this to happen? I lost all faith in religion and humanity. I saw myself as ugly, inside and out. If I was this ugly on the inside, then why shouldn’t everyone see the ugly I saw?
I burned and carved the ugly I saw into my arms, wrists, legs and anywhere I could find room. [...]
Since this happened, I’ve been in hospitals too many times to count. I’ve found it impossible to love at times. I’ve gained and lost friends. I no longer dance or compete in pageants. I’m different now, and I can’t ever go back to the person I once was. That one night took it all away from me. I’m nothing more than just human, but I also refuse to be a victim of cruelty any longer.
This is why I am saying my name. This is why I am not shutting up.
Daisy’s work is not in vain. Since coming forward, the hacker group Anonymous has pressured state officials to reopen the case. Many lawmakers have publicly called for a grand jury investigation. And last week, Maryville agreed to bring in a special prosecutor to revisit the evidence in the case.
We applaud Daisy for her bravery and strength for coming forward about her assault and her healing process in such a volatile environment.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest in this case.