Photo courtesy of www.traileraddict.com
By Erika Kellerman
Co-written by Bri Griffith
I thought nothing bad would ever happen to me. – Daisy Coleman
According to rainn.org, one in five women will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime, and 91 percent of victims are women. Not many believe these statistics to be true. For example, the response to an exposé of rape crimes on U.S. college campuses and their institutional cover-ups called “The Hunting Ground” was overwhelmingly negative. Amy Ziering, the producer of the documentary, said, “People really don’t understand the issue or the experiences of survivors.”
That pretty much sums up the United States’ view on sexual assault, rape, and victim blaming. No matter how many facts are presented, the government and authorities involved question victims like they asked for their attacks.
A documentary released on Netflix this September called “Audrie & Daisy” examines two different incidents of rape and the victims’ lives months and years after. Today, it is extremely important for a documentary like “Audrie & Daisy” to be put into the mainstream media because victims need their stories told.
Here are four reasons why we think you should watch “Audrie & Daisy.”
The documentary will make you angry.
In the beginning of the documentary, one of Audrie Potts’ rapists said he “didn’t remember the night because it was almost four years ago.” Audrie’s rapists, supposed “friends” of hers, were sentenced only 35 to 40 days in jail. They weren’t consecutive days and were mostly served on weekends. The rapists weren’t even suspended or expelled from school.
One moment in the documentary highlights Sheriff Darren White saying how quickly one of Daisy Coleman’s rapists admitted to the rape. They had substantial evidence (rape kit included), a confession—everything needed to convict him. Months later, the charges were dropped because apparently there “wasn’t enough evidence.”
Small town mentality kept the rapists out of trouble. In the small town of Maryville, Missouri, the boys who raped 14-year-old Daisy Coleman were football stars. Their family members were involved with both government and law enforcement. Because of this, the boys were shielded, and Daisy was punished for her own rape just by accusing these well known boys of rape. Daisy’s friend Paige was raped, too. Paige’s mom said in the documentary, referring to the “star quality” of the small town boys: “The wrong boy raped her.”
The Sheriff added, “Everybody wants to throw the word ‘rape’ out there. Nothing that occurred that night ever rose to the level of the elements of the crime of rape.” If you are not able to consent to sexual activity, and somebody still has sex with you, that’s rape. When 14-year-old Daisy Coleman was drunk and unconscious (incapable of valid consent) and her rapist forcibly carried out sex with her, it was rape. No excuses.
Their stories will make you cry.
“Audrie & Daisy” is overwhelming. Within the first two minutes of the documentary, Audrie’s suicide is revealed. Audrie was assaulted while unconscious at a party, and the 15-year-old was harassed to the point of killing herself.
You learn about Daisy and her family’s struggles months after her rape. Daisy was bullied, and their house was burned down. Other young victims of rape tell their stories, too. The documentary gives viewers a dose of reality: Real women and girls are going through this every day.
The documentary reminds viewers: Privileged men get off easy.
Sheriff Darren White said, “This [assuming rapists are ‘always’ boys] is one of the real fatal flaws of our society. It’s always the boys. It’s not always the boys. Girls have as much culpability in this world as boys do.” Statistics show that one in five women will be sexually assaulted or raped, while for men it’s one in ten. Women can sexually assault men. This is a proven fact, but the statistics above show how people think this is a “teach women not to get raped” kind of problem.
The interviewer in the documentary said she agrees we (society) need to do better, and hold people accountable. She stopped herself and said to the Sheriff: “In this particular case, though, the crimes were committed by boys.” Sheriff White chuckled and asked, “Were they?” as if he wasn’t just questioned for hours about the case.
There is a glimmer of hope
Victims of rape and sexual assault live with their suffering, but Daisy and others established a community and strong social media presences. Daisy and other victims even talk at high schools and college campuses about their attacks. They offer resources to others like them who feel lost. They choose to share their stories so others know they’re not alone in this fight.
“Audrie & Daisy” also focuses on Daisy’s healing and the pain she shared with her family. The documentary shows Audrie’s family filing a wrongful death lawsuit against their daughter’s rapists.
For more information about Audrie Potts, Daisy Coleman, and Audrie’s foundation please visit the following websites: