I recently watched the Netflix documentary “Audrie and Daisy” and it really has touched me. A deluge of emotions and I felt it important to write something. To bring to the attention of those who may not be aware of Daisy’s story. Both young girls in the documentary were sexually assaulted in their early teens and tragically both of them ended their lives. Audrie just a few days after her assault and Daisy some 9 years later. Daisy became an advocate for sexual assault victims and founded SafeBAE. She channelled her trauma into art, becoming a high profile tattoo artist and a second documentary was due to be released later in the year.
Daisy was 14 years old when she drank a little too much and a group of older boys sexually assaulted her and dropped her in the snow near her home where she was found several hours later. Her assault caused such internal injuries that she could never have children. This is unfathomable in itself but what came next is the catalyst for what made this beautiful girl so strong and use her pain to help others. Heartbreakingly it was ultimately what also took her life.
After the assault of Daisy she and her family had to endure a f*cked up judicial system, a town mayor more concerned about the towns football team and reputation, a police chief who would prefer to sweep such inconveniences under the carpet and a US community of people who too were more worried about their school football team. You see these boys were the towns football stars. One was related to a congressman and they were all well known the the Mayor and Police Chief. They were also RAPISTS but we won’t let that small and trivial piece of information get in the way of their promising football futures.
Daisy and her family were taunted. Vilified. She was bullied on social media. Bullied at school. Bullied in the streets. Her father was a doctor who died when she was 9 and her mother a veterinarian who lost her job in the midst of the hate campaign. Their home was vandalised and then burnt down. The police chief made it clear that “young girls did this sort of thing because they needed to be popular and fit in”. Yes there’s all sorts of pressure but I do not care whether alcohol is involved, drugs are involved or what a girl wears- there is absolutely NO excuse for sexual assault.
Daisy lived through something no young woman deserves to live through. Years of bullying, therapy and several suicide attempts. Yet she was able to be a shining light, a beacon of hope for other young women. Until she succumbed to her demons and what a terrible tragic loss that is. A life destroyed by a group of young men who behaved like animals. Boys who should have been taught better and raised with more respect. Boys who at 17 should have known that a 14 year old girl who had been drinking was vulnerable and incapable of making decisions. Boys who knew they could get away with this disgusting act because the adults in their life and the judicial system are more intent on punishing the victim.
When are we as a society going to say “enough is enough”? I understand there are some girls who lie but on a whole we have far more women being assaulted and their rapist just walks away. Especially if the rapist is from a good family, perhaps a good athlete or they have money! How are we accepting this? How are we saying you can sexually assault someone and have no consequences, especially if the girl has been drinking or was wearing a short skirt!!! Rape is NOT about SEX it’s about VIOLENCE. It’s about finding someone who is vulnerable and attacking them.
Year after year we hear the stories. Read the statistics. Women are assaulted. Women die. Year after year nothing changes. Day after day some high paid lawyer walks into a court room and rips some poor sexual assault victim to shreds because his client is a violent predator. Maybe she had been drinking. Maybe her top was revealing. God forbid she wasn’t a virgin!! All the while the rapist has his crime justified. Has his violent behaviour validated. His promising future, his sporting prowess, his education and family background all thrown out there as if this is far more important than the traumatised girl who will forever have to live with this trauma. Her promising future apparently means f*cking nothing.
So we have another beautiful soul end her life. I will never understand how we have this so wrong. How the perpetrators somehow become the victims. I will never understand how the woman’s life is seen as less. How these lawyers sleep at night. How a judicial system is about everything but delivering justice. Sexual assault maybe a sexual act but it’s not about sex it’s about violence and it needs to end. How many more before we as human beings, we as decent and compassionate individuals, decide that it’s unacceptable to violently have sex with a woman without consent? How about we start educating these boys and make them take responsibility for their actions. Let’s stop protecting rapists and start protecting the victims. It’s 2020 surely it’s time!!
The world is full of so much beauty. So much joy and so much love. I like to see the good in everything. I like to see the best in people. But the reality is there is ugliness and we as society need to acknowledge that and ensure we protect the vulnerable. Ensure we take violent individuals off the street. Ensure we do not rape a sexual assault victim over and over again by blaming her. By vilifying her. By making her think her choice of clothes, or her drinking, or her sexual history are the reason an act of violence was committed on her. Let’s learn from these horrible crimes so the lives and deaths of so many women are not in vain.
RIP Daisy and all the other lovely souls that could no longer live with the trauma May the incredible work you did for so many continue in your memory x