Daisy Coleman said she felt lost and alone after her rape in early 2012, facing torment so harsh that it drove her family from their home in Maryville, Mo., and led her to lose faith in God.
Speaking out publicly for the first time since the incident hit the national landscape, Coleman described the rape and the months of horror that followed as she was forced off her cheerleading squad and her mother fired from her job.
Coleman also shed new light on the incident, which has since touched off a nationwide controversy and led to a new investigation of the case.
Police reports and newspaper stories on the case had already outlined the events of January 8, 2012. Daisy was spending the night with a 13-year-old friend named Paige when the two snuck out to hang out with some older boys.
Daisy Coleman was drinking, and that night had sex with a football player at the school, Matthew Barnett. Daisy claimed the encounter was rape, but Barnett said it was consensual, though he admitted that Daisy was intoxicated.
Charges were filed but eventually dropped against Barnett, who came from a prominent and politically connected family.
In an account of the incident written for the site xojane, Daisy Coleman said she was so drunk on the night in question that she couldn’t remember anything until she turned up at her home, alone and freezing on the front lawn.
“Then it was like I fell into a dark abyss,” she wrote. “No light anywhere. Just dark, dense silence — and cold. That’s all I could ever remember from that night. Apparently, I was there for not even an entire hour before they discarded me in the snow.”
The incident became divisive in the small town, with many people singling out the Colemans.
“Days seemed to drag on as I watched my brother get bullied and my mom lose her job,” Daisy wrote. “Ultimately our house burned to the ground.
“I couldn’t go out in public, let alone school.”
Daisy said she was suspended from her cheerleading squad, and heard people tell her she would “get what was coming.”
The torment became so bad that Daisy said she quit praying.
“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?”
But Coleman said the tide turned once the internet hacktivist group Anonymous got involved.
“Since Anonymous has gotten involved, everything has changed. #justice4Daisy has trended on the Internet, and pressure has come down hard on the authorities who thought they could hide what really happened,” she wrote.
There has now been a special prosecutor appointed to the case, one who will review evidence and interview suspects. Daisy said she views it as a victory.
“I not only survived, I didn’t give up,” she wrote. “I’ve been told that a special prosecutor is going to reopen the case now. This is a victory, not just for me, but for every girl.”
The entire firsthand account from Daisy Coleman can be found here.