2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 18:44
The documentary Audrie & Daisy tells us about two cases of sexual assault against teenage girls under the influence of alcohol. These assaults were committed by boys who, on balance, did well in the face of justice.
Obviously, this documentary hurts, shakes, shocks and brings painful emotions to life. However, probably because of my profession, this documentary did not surprise me. Why? Because I no longer count the number of women in my office who, with exemplary strength and incredible courage, come to consult me to find a semblance of normal life.
Learning to live with memories
These victims, although they did not commit any crime, carry the weight of the event on them. In addition to fighting against the after-effects of the aggression, they must come to terms with those around them and society when they decide to denounce. This is what is striking in this documentary: the victims must multiply their efforts to learn to live with this memory but also to bear the judgments around them. This part hurts them as much as the aggression.
In therapy, it becomes a second job after the aggression itself. You also have to work on anger, the feeling of abandonment and injustice linked to not feeling raw or supported.
Often, we doubt the victims, we doubt their responsibility, we advise them delicately or brutally to keep quiet. They are reminded that it will make waves in the family, the city or it will have repercussions for the abuser. We see it well in the documentary when the mayor of the town worries about the reputation of his sports teams or when the sheriff affirms that the girls too can have a role in this story… The young girls and their families receive insults and social media threats and ostracism. Audrie will even go so far as to take her own life, unable to bear this attack on her reputation.
In short, the victims, too often, end up bearing the blame for the attack and they are considered "sluts".
The need to silence history
This need to silence history, although difficult to understand, has its raison d'être: it gives a false sense of security by denying the ugliness that the world can inhabit. We are more accepting of victims when the aggression comes cartoonishly from a mentally deranged stranger, coming out of a bush and using violence. The more the aggression comes from a statistically difficult person to meet, the less we have to fear for our safety.personal. The closer the aggressor can be to us, in our city, our family or be a person without mental illness (so anyone around us), the more confronting it is. This means that there is no guarantee of safety!
Not believing the victim, a way to protect yourself
Not believing the victim can be a naive protection to believe that “nothing will happen to me”. In other words, if we lock ourselves into thinking that the victim is responsible for his attack, then we can feel protected if we do not engage in behaviors that we believe are likely to cause an attack (clothing, time out, being alone, agreeing to kiss, etc.).
Except…the victims also thought that way before they were assaulted.
Although this may explain, it has no reason to excuse. We must personally and socially question our behavior and judgments.
The victim needs support. Denunciation is already difficult. And even if it is confronting to accept, no one is immune. One in three women is a victim of sexual assault of some kind. We have everything to gain from helping and supporting each other, men and women alike.
Audrie & Daisy
Audrie & Daisy, 1h38 minutes, ages 14 and up, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, written by Michael Goodier, produced by Richard Berge and Sara Dosa, available in French and English on Netflix
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