Audrie & Daisy is a documentary from Netflix that will air in theaters and online beginning September 23. It’s another in a long line of horrific stories designed to wake up America to rape culture and the damage being done to young women every day. Trigger warnings for the following content.
With documentaries like The Invisible War, The Hunting Ground, stories like the Nate Parker case in the headlines, and books like Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town it’s hard to keep ignoring the facts. Yet, in the following trailer, the sheriff in Audrie & Daisy does it. He calls the girl a liar and sides with the boys. So many others do exactly what the sheriff did – destroying lives and letting criminals go free.
The Audrie & Daisy film looks at two particular stories. In 2012, Daisy Coleman of Maryville, Missouri, was sexually assaulted by the grandson of a former state representative named Matthew Barnett. That same year, Audrie Pott of Saratoga, California, was assaulted by three underage boys.
This documentary treatment of the problem looks at how social media adds to the problems assault victims have to face. Pott committed suicide after photos of her assault were circulated among her high school classmates and elsewhere online. Coleman’s family was harassed into leaving town, and their house was burned down.
How many more cases where men are let free, or given a mere slap on the wrist, for brutal sexual assaults while women commit suicide or suffer lifelong trauma because of it will it take before Americans treat sexual assault crimes in a way that punishes the perpetrators and supports the victims?
Women don’t make rape and assault up for the fun of it. We must take their word and treat it with respect while investigating honestly and punishing the guilty.
Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk directed the documentary. The film reportedly ends with a call to action for people to speak out against assault and in support of survivors. Everyone from Vice President Joe Biden on down must keep speaking out to create the culture change we need.