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Allegedly raped and left to die out the front of her house.

Daisy

 

By NATALIA HAWK

WARNING: This article deals with an account of rape/sexual assault and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.

UPDATE: The 13-year-old alleged rape victim in the Maryville case has released her name and also spoken out. Her name is Paige Parkhurst, and she sat down with her mother to tell America Tonight about exactly what happened that night.

She recounted the evening, saying that by sharing her story, she’s hoping to stop sexual assault and cyber bullying:

I want other women and girls and men and boys not to be afraid to speak out against sexual assault. It is a very big epidemic in the world, and I just hope that other people can be brave enough to speak up when this happened to them.

And I’d also like to move forward and begin my life again, and to have known that there’s that piece of security of knowing that I at least tried to my best ability to have something done.

Paige with her mother

You can read the full transcript of her interview here.

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Who remembers the Steubenville rape?

Last year, two 16-year-old male football players from Steubenville, Ohio, were charged with raping a 16-year-old girl at a party while she was unconscious. Students who witnessed the assault used Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and texting to share photos and video of the rape.

But despite the evidence, the community rallied together to support the footballers. The victim was treated like a criminal. Social media messages shamed the 16-year-old girl, suggesting that she’d consented to events that took place that night.

During the trial, the defence team for the football players argued that the victim – who was heavily intoxicated on the night and unconscious for much of it – consented to sex because she did not “say no”.

In March this year, the two boys were found guilty of rape; each received the minimum sentence. The case was discussed all over the world. So many were shocked by the reaction of the town and their immediate swing towards protecting a popular pair of football players. So many were horrified by the disgusting things said about the female victim.

And now it’s happening all over again. In Maryville, Missouri – only a couple of states away from Ohio.

This time, it’s a young woman named Daisy who is suffering. And all because she filed sexual assault charges against a 17-year-old local star football player named Matthew Barnett.

Here’s what is alleged to have happened.

In January 2012, then 14-year-old Daisy crept out of her house at around 1am, with her 13-year-old best friend. They went to a party.

Daisy

Daisy was a blonde cheerleader and beauty pageant competitor. She was new in town; her family had moved to Maryville after her father’s death, attempting to get a fresh start.

Daisy had been texting with a local boy, Matthew Barnett, who came from an extremely well-known family in Maryville. Barnett’s grandfather was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

Barnett was at the party with a few other boys. Daisy drank a glass of something they gave her. She became intoxicated. She couldn’t stand up.

And then she was allegedly raped by Barnett.

At the same party, Daisy’s 13-year-old friend was also allegedly raped by another 15-year-old boy. (Both of them remain unnamed, as the boy’s case went through the juvenile court, and the girl has chosen to remain unnamed. Daisy’s name has been released with the permission of her family.)

Daisy and her friend were driven home by the boys in the very early hours of the morning. The 13-year-old was told to go inside, while they watched as Daisy sobered up in the car.

Daisy’s mother found her when she woke up. Daisy was alone and unconscious on the front porch of their house. Her wet hair was frozen solid. She was only wearing track pants and a t-shirt. She’d been left out there, in the middle of the night, when temperatures would have reached well into the minuses.

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And that’s when the families of these two girls decided to press charges against the teenage boys.

Medical evidence, as well as evidence from police interviews, indicated that the girls had been raped. The 15-year-old boy at the party admitted that he had sex with the 13-year-old girl, despite her saying “no” repeatedly. Additionally, the rapes were also allegedly filmed on an iPhone camera by a boy named Jordan Zech and passed around to students at school. In police interviews, Zech admitted to subsequently deleting the videos.

An article from The Kansas City Star reported on this entire nightmare ordeal for Daisy and her friend. The article points out that sexual assault cases “can be difficult to build because of factors such as a lack of physical evidence or inconsistent statements by witnesses”, but:

By the time his department had concluded its investigation, Sheriff Darren White felt confident the office had put together a case that would “absolutely” result in prosecutions.

“Within four hours, we had obtained a search warrant for the house and executed that,” White told The Star. “We had all of the suspects in custody and had audio/video confessions.

“I would defy the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department to do what we did and get it wrapped up as nicely as we did in that amount of time.”

Matthew Barnett

But it wasn’t wrapped up.

While the 15-year-old who allegedly raped Daisy’s friend apparently made a plea bargain and spent a couple of months in a juvenile facility, nothing happened to Barnett.

In fact, the charges against him were dropped just a few weeks later.

The reason? A “lack of evidence”.

And the result? Constant harassment by the local community towards Daisy’s family, who continued to push for the case to go to trial.

There was extensive bullying across social media. The hashtag #jordanandmattarefree was started. Supporters of the teenage boys tweeted things like, “F— yea. That’s what you get for bein a skank : ).”

The Kansas City Star wrote that Daisy was kicked off the cheerleading team, and that her mother was fired from her job.

Daisy and her family ultimately moved to another town, and their house in Maryville was set alight and burnt to the ground. No-one knows how it happened.

Daisy has now attempted suicide several times.

And yet the parents of one of the teenage boys still had the nerve to tell The Star that “our boys deserve an apology, and they haven’t gotten it yet.”

Sheriff Darren White said that while it was clear that a crime was committed, “we did our job. We did it well. It’s unfortunate that they are unhappy. I guess they’re just going to have to get over it.”

Barnett is now at university. He’s moved on with his life, while Daisy still suffers.

But all hope is not lost. Now that attention has been drawn to what happened in Maryville, a campaign has been launched in order to obtain justce. Online activist group Anonymous have started the campaign, with the hashtag #OpMaryville, to demand an investigation into the handling of Daisy’s case:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFCrZSPw7Uc

In case you can’t watch the video, it says, in part:

How was video and medical evidence not enough to put one of these football players inside a court room? What is the connection of these prosecutors, if any, to representative Rex Barnett? Most of all, we are wondering, how do the residents of Maryville sleep at night?

We have heard Daisy’s story far too often. We heard it from Steubenville, Halifax and Uttar Pradesh. In some cases, action meant nothing becuase it couldn’t bring them back. Both Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, girls not much older than Daisy, took their own lives after the adults, the police and the school system, failed to protect them. If Maryville won’t defend these young girls, if the police are too cowardly or corrupt to do their jobs, if justice system has abandoned them, then we will have to stand for them. Mayor Jim Fall, your hands are dirty. Maryville, expect us.

Hopefully, justice will come to Daisy and her family, who have been subjected to unbelievable levels of intimidation and harrassment.

And hopefully, we’ll never have to read another story like this one again.

Because right now? It feels like Groundhog Day.

Please note if this post or any of the comments bring up any issues for you, or if you need to speak to someone please 1800-RESPECT or the NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017.  It does not matter where about you live in Australia, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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