Netflix documentary “Audie & Daisy” tells a sombre story of the grim reality many teenage girls are facing with a new kind of abuse - one that mixes sexual assault with social media.
Directors Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen embarked on a huge challenge to expose this hideous trend – one that lingers, leaving the viewer speechless.
Speaking to the Guardian, Jon said, “We had heard about these worst-case scenarios about high schools where quite young girls were being assaulted by people they thought were their friends and then bullied online about it, when the perpetrators took video and pictures.”
The film examines the story of Audrie Pott, a 15-years-old girl who committed suicide following sexual assault by a group of boys from her school, whilst she was drunk and passed out. The attack was filmed and subsequently made its way online where it was shared amongst her peers.
Many miles away, a similar tale unfolded with 14-years-old Daisy Coleman who was raped while unconscious, after trying alcohol for the first time. Daisy’s life descended into something even darker after she decided to press rape charges. Victim shaming and blaming was rife in her small town, leading to her accused attacker walking out as a free man with the full support of the community.
Bonni explained, “Even though they’re worlds apart in terms of where they are in the country and the kinds of lives they are leading, when it came to these cases they were eerily similar. It was extremely surprising to us that this kind of behaviour is happening no matter where you live.”
Also on board was eight times Grammy nominated singer, Tori Amos. A survivor of rape herself, she penned the poignant lyrics “Heroines, they are not born, they are made” for the song, Flicker, specifically written for the documentary.
Tori opened up to Billboard and said, “What pushed me was they’re all under 17 when this happened. They’re all our girls and our boys and the fact that we’re getting perpetrators under 17 that are in our friendship circle. These are friends. These are people who have known each other and trusted each other, but then once the pictures were uploaded, the digital bullies were our girls as much as our boys.”
She also pointed out questions children should be asking themselves (but are not) when friends end up in such vulnerable position.
“What is wrong? How do I treat my friend if she’s unconscious and we’re at a party?” she continued. “How in the world are we creating our kids to think it’s funny to assault our friend and then showing it to the world? If our kids find it funny, we have to educate them to make them understand.”
“Audrie and Daisy” boldly confronts the failings of society and the legal system, championing an urgent need for change. According to RAINN, 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew the perpetrator, of which, 59% were friends and statistics from the i-SAFE foundation state that 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber bullying online.
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