Audrie & Daisy is a 2016 American documentary film that tells about two stories of teenage rape cases whose victims were under the influence of alcohol. This film received an Award of Merit from the Peabody Awards recently.
AUDRIE POTT, 15
Audrie Pott was 15 when she attended a party with other teenagers. After a night of drinking, Audrie might have passed out drunk. The boys admitted that they put pen marks on different parts of her body just like any practical joke and began their sexual advances. What made it worse was these boys took photos of her while inebriated.
The next day, Audrie posted on social media that she couldn’t remember what happened and she wanted to know it from friends. She then realized that the photos were already known throughout the school and on social media. She felt humiliated, and bullied. She tried to explain her side of the story, no one believed her. Eight days later, she hanged herself.
DAISY COLEMAN, 14
Daisy Coleman was 14 when she received a text message from Matt, her brother’s friend. He invited her over to his place. Daisy and her best friend Paige, age 13, were already drinking in Daisy’s room that time. The girls decided to go and checked it out.
The party was at the basement and four teenage boys were there. One of the boys led Paige to one room and when the boy started to take sexual advances to her she said no. But because she was drunk she couldn’t fight against her rapist. Daisy, on the other hand, was told to drink more and when she passed out, she was brought inside another room where she was sexually assaulted. Again, the boys took pictures of Daisy with someone’s cellphone. But since Daisy and Paige were drunk to get back home, the boys drove and dropped them off at Daisy’s front yard. Daisy’s mom decided to have her examined immediately. The case stirred the once quiet town of Maryville, Missouri and divided it in two.
Let’s face it, when it comes to sex offenses, it’s always been the battle between “she said” versus “he said”. And the case also became political because the charges against Matt B., a grandson of a Missouri state official, were dropped because of lack of evidence. (Or the grandfather might have influenced the case, as some people thought.) It became sensational that broadcast and social media covered the story and rocked the society. It also forced the law authorities to have another look on the case making Matt to plead guilty of “endangering the safety of a child on second degree.” There was no sufficient evidence to move this case forward to a sexual assault.
There’s another story placed in between these two: Delaney Henderson. She is also a victim of sexual assault and have learned about Audrie’s story. But it was too late for her to help. So when she learned about Daisy’s case, Delaney had to talk to her.
This group of victims and their mothers had gathered and shared their experiences in a group discussion. They also started to voice out and fight against sexual violence.
Being sexually molested and having a teenage daughter myself, this topic strikes too close to home. I shed tears while watching and I told my husband that I don’t want this to happen to our daughter.
I find this film as emotional and anger-provoking. There was the part where the Sheriff of Maryville had told Mrs. Coleman that there will be hearings about the case, assured her that it was already in court, etc. Then later that day, Mrs. Coleman received a news that the charges were dropped. For a victim’s mother, that was frustrating. I felt her disappointment.
Sometimes one would wish that the Sheriff, and those who don’t believe or don’t empathize with the victims had a teenage daughter. Let’s just see how would they feel if this happened to them.
The similarities of the two cases brought the director and his wife to make this documentary. They, too, felt fear for their teenage daughter. The role of social media in these cases is strong that the issue needs to be discussed at length.
Sexual assault as a crime still continues. Cyber-bullying is another. Combining these two already caused the death of a teenager.