Audrie & Daisy (Netflix/Jon Shenk, Bonni Cohen 2016)

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‘Audrie and Daisy’ is a 2016 current socially relevant film documentary which explores three rape cases including those in focus teenagers Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman. It explores the role of young people’s constant intense use of social media, how the criminal cases were documented in national media, politics concerning police investigation approach and the attitudes of modern young men towards consent and sex. After the assaults allegedly took place and during the investigations both teenage girls received scrutiny and heavy cyber bullying surrounding the circumstances of each event. The documentary by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk explores what cases of ‘rape’ among teenage victims in the digital age mean for fair trails and also the examines flaws in social attitudes.

Both Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman’s cases involve excessive amounts of alcohol, unmonitored high school house parties and sexual assaults while unconscious unable to make the decision to give consent to boys who they believe to have taken advantage to have sexual relations. Despite these cases of assault initially happening on the nights in questions in two different communities and towns in America, the circumstances are strikingly similar. What the documentary chooses to highlight is how these events maybe a symptom of a much larger problem in schools and universities across America.

It’s unflinching and uncomfortable as the film documentary opens as it intends to go on. The detailed account of 15-year-old Audrie Pott, in Saratoga, California, in 2012 brings the subject matter into spotlight immediately through court testimonies from the boys involved and interviews with friends and family. While at a house party Audrie attended for Labor Day weekend that summer, an intoxicated and near unconscious is taken upstairs. There a group of boys camera phone film themselves drawing on her body with sharpies with immature crude comments before ‘fingering’ her. Later a video and pictures are circulated for entertainment around her high school for entertainment of her peers. The bullying, name calling and reputation bashing so much Audrie takes her life and commits suicide, with no memory of the incident.

Daisy Coleman’s case is explored in more detailed with more attention on the the investigation outcomes but follows an extremely parallel incident. Nodaway County Police department seeming to have a bias attitude towards the assailants due to reputation of families and the alcohol consumed.

What husband and wife duo documentary makers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk is open a strong dialogue through Audrie and Daisy. It serves to give a clear voice to the victims of such modern cases on the rise internationally and ignores the aspect of alcohol. It makes us as viewers question the nature of consent from both female and males. How throwing around comments via social media hinders progress of important sexual education and demands that young men take responsibility of knowing when they are taking advantage of social situations with women.

Von Von Lamunu

 

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