The 14-year-old girl at the center of the controversial Maryville rape case, Daisy Coleman, has come forward Friday to publish her own personal account of the incident on xoJane. Coleman's new personal essay follows the media firestorm that's erupted around her unimaginable story week. Her alleged rape and the aftermath that followed read like horror fiction: despite a mountain of evidence, Coleman's case was dropped, and she was relentlessly cyber-bullied following her rape. Her mother was fired from her job, and her house even suspiciously burned down after she tried to bring her case to court in Maryville. Reading Coleman tell her story directly is harrowing, and she begins with the freezing night she was raped:
Winter: cold, bleak, bitter, ugly. Almost like summer has taken off its mask and shown its true colors. Everyone is forced to see how ugly life can truly be. Others get a season of beauty: summer.
My whole life since January 8, 2012, has been a long, reckless winter.
After describing what led up to the incident — sneaking out of the house, drinking from the five-shot capacity "bitch cup" — Coleman says she blacked out.
Then it was like I fell into a dark abyss. 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.
When her mother found her the next morning, Coleman says her hair was icy and she was incoherent. Her mother put her in the tub, and says she was "hurt down in [her] privates." Something, she writes, hadn't gone right when she'd blacked out.
The examination of the rape kit by doctors at the hospital confirmed the worst. A video of the rape, which showed her "incoherent" and should have been a key piece of evidence, was passed around the school. And then that video, along with the case, mysteriously disappeared.
Matt's family was very powerful in the state of Missouri and he was also a very popular football player in my town, but I still couldn't believe it when I was told the charges were dropped. Everyone had told us how strong the case was ...
In the aftermath of the incident, Coleman also learned her best friend had been raped. When her family tried to bring the case forward, her mom lost her job, her brother was bullied, and her house even mysteriously burned down. Coleman says she lost her faith in God and humanity.
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.
And then she tried to kill herself. Twice.
My scars only come to the surface when I'm tan or cold now. It's as if over time my body learned to heal some of the ugly, but it will always be a part of me.
Just like this case. It will live with me forever.
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.
When Anonymous launched their attack on the officials who had closed the case, they refused to let it be swept under the radar. #Justice4Daisy went viral on Twitter. Daisy, who lets her name be shown because she refuses to "shut up," says now she feels she's "not only survived, [she] didn't give up."
In writing this piece, Coleman strikes back at those who would prefer to keep the case hidden, or attempt to blame and shame her as the victim. A special prosecutor plans on re-opening her case, she writes. Even if she says she's "nothing more than just a human," Coleman's courage is certainly superhuman. Or as she puts it:
"This is a victory, not just for me, but for every girl."
Image: Daisy Coleman/Facebook