Last month, Netflix released the trailer for Audrie & Daisy, a documentary featuring the stories of two survivors of sexual assault. Critics are saying they hope the film ignites a national discussion about how our justice system so often fails victims of sexual assault.
The film is a haunting reminder of the realities young women in America face. But this could be the jumpstart needed to start a national discussion on rape culture, where perpetrators of sexual violence get off with a slap to the wrist, while too often, victims are bullied by their communities and shamed on social media after coming forward about their attackers.
We've seen this happen recently with the high-profile lawsuit of Brock Turner, who was sentenced to a mere six months in jail after he was convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault. More recently, David Becker was put on a two-year probationary period for digitally penetrating two women without their consent––and his argument in court was that "we all make mistakes." The Internet was outraged, and Cosmopolitan perfectly summarized exactly why this type of language is so damaging to women: "Sexually penetrating someone against their will isn't a harmless blunder or a stupid miscalculation; it is an intentional act of dominance, of total disregard for the other person's sovereignty over their own body. It is an act of violence."
From the looks of it, Audrie and Daisy will be another thought-provoking look at a darker side of the American justice system, similar to the true-crime documentary series Making a Murderer. The film tells the story of two high school students, Audrie Pott and Daisy Colemen, who were victims of sexual assault. The girls never knew each other, but went through a similar series of horrific events after their assaults.
Audrie, from Saratoga, California, was victimized by a group of boys in 2012. Pictures from her assault were shared on social media, leading her to commit suicide a week later. Daisy was 14 when she was assaulted by a group of boys she had considered friends, including the grandson of a Missouri state representative. The charges against him were eventually dropped. Daisy and her family were harassed to the point of being driven out of town.
This kind of tolerance for rape is an old story, but freshly infuriating at the same time. Kudos to Netflix for trying to bring this issue to a national audience.
Audrie & Daisy is now streaming on Netflix. You can watch the powerful trailer below.