This past Thursday, Shouvlin hosted a screening of “Audrie and Daisy,” a documentary that is currently being streamed on Netflix. A heavy, intense film, it covers relevant topics, mainly sexual assault, suicide, bullying and the justice system.
Both girls in the title, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, were sexually assaulted in their teenage years, and both faced intense backlash after the incidents. Perhaps, above all else, the importance of responding positively to a victim of sexual assault is highlighted in the film, as bullying, in person and online, is shown to severely impact both girls in their own self-perception and ability to heal.
The movie was presented by Brooke Wagner, sociology professor, and Lindsey Criswell, an advocate for Project Woman. Afterwards, a discussion about the film took place.
The two chose to show Audrie and Daisy for a number of reasons. Wagner found the film “specifically important.”
“It speaks to the after effect instead of during,” Wagner said.
She went on to stress the importance of the after effects, such as the social media bullying, that take place in the film, which “focuses on how it can be devastating.”
Criswell was also affected by the film.
“I watched it and I was so impacted,” she said. “It shows the importance of bullying. I thought it was really powerful.”
Both Wagner and Criswell also found the depiction of the justice system in the film important. Many people in the film ended up blaming Pott and Coleman for what happened to them. Even the sheriff in the small town in which Daisy lives is skeptical of the legitimacy of the sexual assault, despite a wealth of evidence that stated otherwise.
“The sheriff depicts small town injustice,” Criswell said.
Even the justice system seems to be against both girls. In cases involving sexual assault, Criswell stated that many times, it seems as if “the assailant is innocent until proven guilty, while the victim is guilty until proven innocent.”
Wagner and Criswell agreed that one’s response to a victim of sexual assault is very important. Being supportive to someone that is confiding in you is essential to their well-being and sense of security.
Project Woman and the Womyn’s Center are on-campus resources that are available to anyone that has been affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, offering survivor support and recovery services. As illustrated in the movie, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.