What We Should All Take Away From Audrie & Daisy

What We Should All Take Away From Audrie & Daisy

Yet another reason to end victim blaming.
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This past week I decided to give Netflix’s new documentary, Audrie & Daisy a try. Especially pertinent following the increase of attention in the media revolving around rape and sexual assault, the documentary expands upon these issues by focusing on two victims. Although the media tends to focus its attention largely on rape within the college environment (check out The Hunting Ground, if you haven't already,) the documentary instead focuses on rape in the high school environment. If you are interested in the topic, or want more information, I highly recommend Audrie & Daisy. The documentary opens with the case of Audrie, 16, who was sexually assaulted at a party by a group of boys. Upstairs at the party, the boys made her unconscious state a game of drawing all over her body, leaving no area unexposed. They video taped the incident, and took turns assaulting her while she lay half conscious on the ground. Audrie was simply another game for the boys, and her body was an object to manipulate and draw all over. Aside from the legal offense of distribution of child pornography (she was under 18,) this likewise points to an even bigger issue of objectification. Audrie, unable to cope with her assault and the coinciding damage to both her emotional state and reputation, took her own life.

The documentary continued with the second victim, Daisy, who was only 14 when she was assaulted. Daisy’s story, though both are equal in severity, made my blood boil. In both scenarios, the girls were heavily intoxicated, and this proved a detail that, in some eyes, weakened their cries of assault. Of course, as most of us understand, whether one is drunk or sober, no always means no. On the same note, to clear up any confusion, having sex with or sexually assaulting someone who can’t keep their eyes open isn’t consensual either. However, within Daisy’s small town of Maryville, Missouri, where football rules the town, and everyone knows everyone, Daisy’s police report backfired. Most infuriating is the fact that the Maryville Sheriff, Darren White, defended the boys. When discussing the case, White said, “Everybody wants to throw the term rape out there, it’s very popular.” Not only is this belittling Daisy, but likewise dilutes the crucial issue of rape. Just as I was bracing myself to punch the computer screen, he continued shortly after stating that the boys involved are moving forward with their lives, insinuating that Daisy should do the same. Moreover, he posited that one of the “fatal flaws” of our society is the tendency to blame boys, and that girls are likewise capable of crimes. Of course we know that females are capable of committing crimes as well, but this was a laughable objection. Daisy’s house was burned to the ground later that year, and when she lost the cause to her rapist, Twitter exploded with hate geared towards Daisy.

If there’s one thing I hope this documentary brings to the table is the effect of the crimes on the victims and not on those responsible. It’s no wonder that many victims opt out of reporting cases of rape. Audrie’s life became one that she no longer wanted, and Daisy attempted suicide multiple times. Blaming the victim is not only wrong, but it’s backwards. The opinions of Sheriff White of Maryville are exactly what we need to reform. Similarly, with the influx of technology, it also brings to light the dangers of sending pornographic photos underage. Taking or requesting pornographic photos of someone under 18 can land you in the slammer, and so can assaulting someone sober or unconscious. So please, for the love of God, think before you act, and remember, a girl who is assaulted or raped isn’t a slut. She’s a victim…and I still don’t understand why that’s so difficult to understand.

Cover Image Credit: Collider

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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