Maryville Teen Rape Victim Attempts Suicide After Cyberbullying

Two years ago, 14-year-old Daisy was sexually assaulted by a member of Maryville’s high school football team and left semi-unconscious in her front yard in the middle of the night.


Daisy Coleman, the teenage girl at the center of the controversial Maryville rape case that came to light in October, has been hospitalized after attempting to take her own life on Sunday night. Her mother, Melinda, told a local Fox News affiliate that Daisy experienced an onslaught of cyberbullying after attending a party this past weekend.

Two years ago, 14-year-old Daisy was sexually assaulted by a member of Maryville’s high school football team and left semi-unconscious in her front yard in the middle of the night. The charges against Daisy’s alleged rapist were dropped, and the Coleman family became the subject of intense harassment and abuse. This past fall, after the Kansas City Star initially broke the details of the story, the Colemans gave several media interviews in an attempt to draw more attention to the inadequate criminal justice response to cases of sexual assault.

But in an interview with the Daily Mail published on Monday, Melinda Coleman explained that it hasn’t been easy for Daisy after going public. “She had been pretty good, when we were doing interviews and she felt like people were supporting her, and honestly being in bigger cities where people were more open-minded it was helping her a lot,” Coleman said. “When we got back here where we had to be quiet, it became really, really hard.”

According to her mother, Daisy briefly attended a party with friends on Friday night. When she returned home, she discovered she was being attacked on Facebook. Several high schoolers accused her of being a “hypocrite” and a “fake” for going to the party. Some told her she was a “slut and “wanted it.” That reportedly drove Daisy to attempt to overdose on pills on Sunday night. The teen is now in stable condition at a psychiatric hospital in Kansas City.

On Monday, Melinda Coleman posted a plea to the internet hacktist group Anonymous, which helped pressure Maryville officials to take action on the rape case, on her Facebook page. “Where is anonymous now? My daughter has been terrorized to the point she tried to kill herself last night,” Coleman wrote. “Where are you and your super hacking skills and internet help now…we really need them.”

Some members of Anonymous responded on Twitter early Tuesday morning. “If anyone failed Daisy it wasn’t the whole of Anonymous but this account in particular. We are sorry we couldn’t help her,” the Anonymous Operations account tweeted.

This isn’t the first time Daisy Coleman has attempted to take her life. Despite the fact that rape victims’ identities are typically protected in the media, Daisy hasn’t shied away from telling her story. She published a personal account of her rape in xoJane back in October, recounting the bullying she experienced in the aftermath of the assault as her classmates called her a liar and a skank. Daisy revealed that she attempted to commit suicide twice — but said she wasn’t going to keep quiet. “I’m nothing more than just human, but I also refuse to be a victim of cruelty any longer,” Daisy wrote in xoJane. “This is why I am saying my name. This is why I am not shutting up.”

Over the past year, other high-profile rape cases have ended in tragedy after cyberbullying and 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. Nonetheless, the majority of states don’t currently includecyberbullying in their criminal statutes. Several states are currently working to update their anti-bullying measures to make it easier to crack down on this type of abuse.

Tara Culp-Ressler is the Health Editor for ThinkProgress. Before joining the ThinkProgress team, Tara deepened her interest in progressive politics from a faith-based perspective at several religious nonprofits, including Faith in Public Life, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Interfaith Voices.

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