Movie Moment

A documentary that changed my life


For many people, movies are not exactly something that they enjoy. I come across many people that enjoy watching documentaries. So for this week, I wanted to talk about my favorite documentary — “Audrie & Daisy.”

I’m completely biased to this documentary because I spent four years living in Maryville, Missouri, where one of the cases occurred. Regardless of my connection to this story, the two stories in this film are monumental — one of which impacted my life tremendously.

Audrie Potts was raped wile being unconscious. She later found out that there were pictures of what had happened to her. This took such a toll on her mental health that she took her life.

The majority of the documentary covers Daisy Coleman, talking about her life, being a survivor of sexual assault. This led to an ongoing issue of abuse, bullying and cyberbullying, not only for her, but to her family as well.

Even while this was being filmed, you see the continuation in the interviews. In Daisy Coleman’s story, Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White said “This is one of the real fatal flaws of our society, is that it’s always the boys. It’s not always the boys. Girls have as much culpability in this world as boys do. So, you know, everybody has to take their part of it. And everybody has to do better.”

The interviewer followed up saying “And I absolutely agree. In this particular case, though, the crimes were committed by boys.” White’s response was “Were they?” and proceeded to laugh. In a documentary about sexual assault and the backlash the survivors receive, this man exacerbated it.

Daisy Coleman was drunk the night that she was assaulted. She was also 14, which of course led to victim blaming, as it does in many cases.

Daisy’s case made such an impact on my life, as a survivor. When I was assaulted and had to go through the same system in the same town, I was scared. I had seen the documentary. I had seen the hate and torment that she was put through by the same people that I was going to have to work with.

She helped pave a path in that town, though. I believe that if it wasn’t for Daisy putting her voice out to the world, I would’ve been just as overlooked as her. Thank you, Daisy Coleman. Thank you for being the voice that helped women after you, just like me, become an actual person and not just a sexual assault statistic.

Survivors face torment each and every day, either directly or indirectly. Even one sentence that was said years prior will stick with you for the rest of your life. Four years after the release of this film, Daisy took her own life, followed by her mother doing the same, four months later.

The importance of this documentary went further than it may have been intended for. If you search for movies about sexual assault, there aren’t many. Those that do exist sometimes don’t even cover the topic in the ways that it should — usually making it a subsidiary plot to the story.

It’s crucial that we bring this topic up not only in more films, but in our conversations as a whole. Sexual assaults happen every 68 seconds. Bring it up. Talk about it. Prevent it. Stop it.