A town in Missouri was the focus of international media attention this week as the details of its horrifying ordeal with an online vigilante group became widely known. Authorities in Missouri are said to be greatly disturbed at recent events in Maryville, which are being described as “a terrorist attack against a great, football-loving town”.
It all began in January 2012 when All-Star Matthew Barnett allegedly raped 14 year-old Daisy Coleman at a party and left her for dead outside her parents’ house. Matthew, who has been playing football at a collegiate level for some years now and who enjoys pistachio ice-cream, could not have anticipated the cruel treatment he was to receive at the hands of Anonymous, an online vigilante group some call terrorists after the charges against him were dropped.
The group outed Matthew’s identity and spread his personal information around, widely sharing a video he filmed of the attack.
“That was supposed to be private!” he wept to reporters. “That’s why I uploaded it on my part of the internet. I feel violated that so many faceless strangers are watching it”.
Matthew was not the only target of Anonymous’ hate-speech. The entire town of Maryville came under fire, including Matthew’s grandfather, Congressman Rex Barnett. Some desperate residents, growing increasingly inconvenienced by having to examine their consciences in how they dealt with the case, were forced to light a fire at Daisy Coleman’s house to attract the attention of news helicopters, hoping to be rescued from persecution. Even though they burned the house to the ground, ensuring the fire was visible to copters, nobody stopped to help them.
Matthew tells us that all he can do right now is put this traumatic event behind him.
“I’m still young. I shouldn’t have to go through something like this. But sometimes bad things happen to good people. You could be out enjoying a night out with your friends, playing Xbox, plying underage girls with alcohol and next thing you know, you rape someone and your life is ruined”.
To close the press conference Matthew gave yesterday, he announced the establishment of Maryville’s first Rapists Crisis Centre.
“We all know who the real victims of rape are” he said, bravely facing the camera flashes. “It’s time we stood up for them”.
For more by Sarah Garvey, visit www.theemptyshirt.com
XOJane article by the victim, Daisy Coleman.
Contact Congressman Rex Barnett to sympathise with his grandson’s plight.
Read up on the numerous other times Anonymous has terrorised communities – in Steubenville, Ohio – and Halifax, Nova Scotia.