I Rewatched ‘Audrie & Daisy’, and It’s Even More Heartbreaking Now

Published on August 5, 2020

Audrie & Daisy is a 2016 documentary chronicling the sexual assault and subsequent bullying of two young high school girls. On Tuesday, Daisy Coleman, one of those two subjects, committed suicide. She was 23 years old. Audrie Pott, the other subject of the documentary, took her own life ten days after she was sexually assaulted in 2012.

Why I Decided To Watch

In light of Coleman’s suicide, I decided to rewatch the documentary. I wanted to examine what happened to her, and what lead her to this point. I wanted to honor her memory by hearing her story, by listening to her, and standing in solidarity with her, Pott, and their experiences. Sexual assault documentaries aren’t the easiest for me, but I felt like I owe it to them to remember the grievous injustice these girls were subjected to.

The Documentary

The documentary goes over the details of what happened to both girls, and the case surrounding both sexual assaults. Coleman and Pott attended high school parties on either side of the country. Coleman was 14. Pott was 15. Schoolmates ferociously bullied both girls after their attacks.

Men they knew assaulted both girls. The documentary included interviews these men gave to law enforcement and lawyers, all of which were sickening to listen to. Listening to the prosecutors and the sheriffs talking about the boys and their side of the story was nothing short of infuriating.

Coleman was 14, extremely intoxicated, and unconscious or barely conscious. The sheriff sits on camera and says the whole thing was consensual and that the boys are trying to make something of themselves. He heavily implies that the whole incident was Coleman’s fault. I hope that man is sitting somewhere in his house today deeply reflecting on Daisy Coleman. Remember to vote in your local elections so you don’t end up with a sherriff like this guy.

The press said it was her fault for being out too late. While some supported her, a great deal of her hometown turned against her brutally. They turned against her simply for accusing Matt Barnett, the golden boy grandson of a politician, of such atrocities.

In light of Coleman’s suicide, it made me want to throw my remote at the TV and shout into the void. Instead, I just cried. I cried for Daisy Coleman, Audrie Pott and their families. I cried for girls all over the world that have to put up with this kind of misogynistic nonsense every single day.

After Barnett was let off with probation, Coleman struggled for years before becoming an advocate for other survivors.

Audrie And Daisy And All of Us

Watching Audrie & Daisy, knowing the pain that ultimately caused Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman to take their own lives, was excruciating. I was also sexually assaulted at a high school party in 2012 by someone I knew. He was in his twenties. I was 16. We are three of hundreds of thousands who experienced something like this that year. There have been millions more since.

Coleman’s suicide should be a reminder not only that we as a society need to teach men not to rape, but that we also need to do a much better job of taking care of our survivors. 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives in the United States. Most of those women will not report the assault, often for fear of having law enforcement treat them like they treated Daisy Coleman.

If you are a survivor, remember there are resources out there to help. The National Sexual Assault Hotline number is 800.656.4673 and you can call at any time for confidential support from trained staff. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800.273.8255. If you just need someone to talk to, my DMs are always open.

Olivia Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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