I usually try to keep things on the lighter side around here, but there are things we can’t ignore. Before going any further, I’d like to let you know this trailer may be upsetting and triggering (I cried); it discusses sexual assault.
I’ve spent the past several days and still continue to read in-depth about Nate Parker, the Birth of a Nation filmmaker and actor who, along with his friend and co-writer Jean McGianni Celestin, was accused of raping a college student in 1999. There are people who relate that disturbing story and its lingering effects much better than I can, so suffice to say it is part of several ongoing conversations about rape, its culture, and the often-intertwined adoration and near idolatry of our country’s athletes. Without spiraling off into a dozen different directions, the school Parker and Celestin attended was none other than Penn State, home and protector of Jerry Sandusky.
And what has all this to do with a Netflix documentary? Well, in the midst of an online discussion about yet another college rapist/athlete whose life was deemed too important to destroy by a judge, I came upon this trailer for Audrie & Daisy. It’s impossible to convey the fear already in my heart at the mere thought of sending my two girls to college one day … of trying to warn them of this inexplicable threat that lies in wait without causing them undue wariness at every new experience. How do you teach your children to be open-hearted and adventurous and exploratory; to love all people and not judge them by their “covers;” while still conveying a need for awareness and self-protection? At what point must you crush their trusting nature and tell them of a dark side much uglier than Star Wars enemies? My oldest daughter is outwardly stoic and generally a realist, but my younger literally skips through this world with sunshine and love bursting from her; I can’t bear to even think about any such future conversation. But I must. And I must watch this documentary. We’re all going to have to make ourselves watch Audrie & Daisy, because we owe it to our girls — sisters, girlfriends, lovers, pals — to watch what happens when someone we’re close to is assaulted. And make no mistake: the odds of that are crushingly high.
Audrie & Daisy is directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk; it premieres on Netflix September 23rd.
Additionally, a statement released by The Women’s Law Project — the group that brought a civil suit against Penn State on behalf of Parker and Celestin’s now deceased victim (she committed suicide in 2012) — speaks to the need for our country to update our sex crime laws and “archaic” notions:
The criminal justice system must free itself of pervasive bias and victim-blaming … Our college campuses, appropriately reminded of their obligations under Title IX by the Office for Civil Rights in 2011, need to comply in both word and practice with the law and strive to prevent sexual misconduct and harassment so students—all students–can fully benefit from their education.
Read it in full here.