Why Everybody Should Watch 'Audrie & Daisy'
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Politics and Activism

Why Everybody Should Watch 'Audrie & Daisy'

Two teen girls were sexually assaulted. This movie tells of the tragedies that followed.

Why Everybody Should Watch 'Audrie & Daisy'

It’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to be inflammatory. It’s going to be heart-wrenching and tear-jerking. You should watch it anyway.

"Audrie & Daisy" is a new documentary that follows the stories of Audrie Potts and Daisy Coleman, two teenage girls who had never met but experienced similar tragedies. In 2012, Daisy Coleman’s life in Maryville, Missouri was turned upside down after she was sexually assaulted by Matthew Barnett, grandson of a former state representative. Across the country, Audrie Potts of Saratoga, California was assaulted by three teenage boys at a party one night while she was passed out drunk.

Daisy was 14 years old when she was invited to hang out at Matthew Barnett’s house late at night. She had already been drinking before, and was given more alcohol at Barnett’s. In the end, she was sexually assaulted by Barnett while one of his friends filmed the encounter on a cell phone. She was left outside of her house in the cold, her hair frozen. When charges were pressed against Barnett, the town turned against Daisy and her family. Daisy’s mom lost her job; Daisy’s brother was bullied. On social media, Daisy was called a skank and liar by her classmates. Incredibly, the prosecutor dropped the case against Barnett, citing lack of evidence. The Coleman family eventually left town, and their house was burned down. Daisy unsuccessfully attempted suicide several times.

In 15-year-old Audrie’s case, photos of her assault were taken and passed around her high school. She was taunted and ridiculed by her classmates. Eight days after the assault, Audrie committed suicide. The three boys who assaulted her were prosecuted in juvenile court and eventually settled a civil lawsuit with her parents, one of the stipulations being that they would be filmed for the documentary.

“That sounds awful," you might say. "Why would I want to watch that?”

Precisely because it is so awful. Precisely because these horrible events are happening all across the country.

Here are statistics released by the National Sex Offender Public Website, run by the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the U.S. have been sexual assault victims at some point.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in six boys and one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 35.8 percent of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between 12 and 17 years of age.
  • 82 percent of all juvenile victims are female.
  • 69 percent of reported teen sexual assaults occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual.
  • Teens between 16 to 19 years old were three-and-a-half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

Everyone should watch "Audrie & Daisy" because the film addresses serious problems that affect teens all over the country. It might be uncomfortable to watch, but avoiding the issue doesn’t make it any less real. The movie provides a sobering look at rape culture and how it permeates the lives of young, impressionable students. In Audrie's and Daisy’s cases, it wasn’t just their bodies that were violated, but their trust in their communities as well. This documentary has the potential to spark awareness and conversation nationwide. No matter what age group, no matter what demographic, everybody can benefit from channeling the anger and sadness evoked by watching "Audrie & Daisy" into inducing change in their communities.

Click here to see the trailer. "Audrie & Daisy" will be available to stream through Netflix and in theaters on Sept. 23.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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