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Sharkeisha victim Sharmichael Manuel, the unsuspecting girl on the receiving end of the sucker punch heard 'round the Internet, is breaking her silence.
Manuel, 17, told KHOU-TV in Houston that she was set up to receive the savage beating on video, and was astounded when her former friend struck.
It remains online elsewhere, however, and the Cypress Creek High School (Tex.) senior is far from pleased about it, saying the notoreity adds insult to injury.
She says she was ambushed November 19 after being led to an apartment complex under false pretenses, believing she was picking up some belongings.
Instead she was straight up pummeled by Sharkeisha (below).
The video, recorded with a phone, shows 16-year-old Sharkeisha talking to Manuel, then out of nowhere, blindsiding her with a sucker punch to the face.
The victim crumpled to the ground, while Sharkeisha kept wailing on Manuel with uppercuts and even a brutal kick to the face before bystanders intervene.
“I was just in shock. I was like oh my God. Did she really do this? You’re supposed to be my close friend,” Manuel said. “We were talking in school earlier that day."
"She made it seem like there was nothing wrong."
The fight broke out over a boy, Manuel told the news site, and after Sharkeisha finished the assault, a neighbor drove the battered teenager home.
Manuel was left dazed, with a black eye and a busted lip. She hasn’t returned to school since the attack and now has trouble seeing out of her eye.
“It is hurting and crushing to me,” Manuel said in her interview.
“I felt humiliated, embarrassed and hurt at the same time.”
The physical pain was just the beginning for her, too.
Sharkeisha has become a viral star, with many praising her attack (or at least enjoying the act of watching it), and for the victim, that's the real tragedy.
Manuel's mother, Olevia Henderson, told KHOU:
“The video just keeps going and going. They’re making jokes, and they’re taunting. They’re glorifying Sharkeisha, but they’re taunting my daughter.”
“I was in the grocery store ... the baggers were just laughing and talking about it. I said, 'That’s my daughter in that video,' and their whole expression changed.”
As the video gained traction on social media, users made “Sharkeisha” a national trending topic and memes of the assault were shared incessantly.
Rumors even began to circulate early on that beating victim Manuel, who wasn’t yet identified at that point, had committed suicide. Not the case.
Henderson informed their school’s assistant principal, but was told there was nothing that could be done since it didn’t take place on school grounds.
She has, however, that a report was filed with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, though it's unclear if any action has been taken against the assailant.
Sharkeisha: Should she be prosecuted?
Just in time for the holidays, a non-profit group is planning on erecting dozens of atheist billboards to let fellow non-believers know they're "not alone."
The Greater Sacramento Chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has paid for 55 different billboards this year to go up in Sacramento, Calif.
"It's because atheists are starting to speak up and they're beginning to identify each other," chapter president Judy Saint told a local TV station.
"There are a lot of non-believers and this time of year, they feel like they're alone. This isn't directed to people who enjoy their church, who enjoy their religion."
"That's fine. But we're talking to people who don't know that atheism is okay."
The billboards, all featuring area residents, share non-religious messages such as, "I worship nothing and question everything," or "Science. It works."
It's all part of the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation’s overarching campaign to try to get atheists to "come out of the closet."
“The whole month of December is taken over in a celebration of religious beliefs, in particular Christianity," FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said.
"And it’s just as if the whole month turns non-believers into outsiders."
Not everyone is excited by the planned atheist billboards, however.
Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto of the Cathedral of a Blessed Sacrament told local Fox affiliate KTXL that he wasn't particularly pleased about them.
“While I’m not happy, I am certain people still, when they look deep down in their soul and heart, find a spark," Soto said. "They believe in a higher power."
While the tone is not meant to be confrontational, both atheists and religious groups have used similar billboards as a way to criticize their rivals' principles.
This October, for example, the creationist group Answers in Genesis paid for large billboards in N.Y. City's Times Square, San Francisco and L.A.
The message: “To our atheist friends: Thank God you’re wrong.”
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