This week, Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming documentary, Audrie & Daisy. I’m warning you now, you’re not going to want to watch it. The trailer is horrifying, and the documentary is sure to be even more devastating. You will not want to watch it. Which is, of course, exactly why we all need to.
In 2012, two teenage girls— Daisy Coleman of Maryville, Missouri and Audrie Pott of Saratoga, California— were both sexually assaulted. Coleman, then 14, was raped by the son of a former state representative, while Pott was raped by three boys at a party. Coleman’s rapist was eventually convicted of endangerment of the welfare of a child (a misdemeanor), since he left her passed out in the snow in her front yard, and was sentenced to probation.
Pott became the target of widespread harassment online and at school, and committed suicide later that year.
These aren’t stories we want to hear or see. But they keep happening. Children are being raped, and the response is to blame them, to harass them, to make sure the young white men perpetrating these acts are protected because otherwise who will win their school trophies or take over their fathers’ hedge funds or whatever shit these boys have lying in their oh-so-promising futures?
Both of these girls saw their peers and their towns turn against them. Coleman’s house was burned to the ground. Pictures of Pott’s assault were circulated and used to shame her. It’s hard to imagine any human being reacting to a young girl’s trauma this way, let alone so many humans, en masse, on repeat every time something like this happens.
It doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense, but ignoring these horrific events won’t change anything. I don’t know if a documentary will change anything either, but it seems like the very least we can do is choose not to turn away.
Audrie & Daisy airs on Netflix on September 23rd.