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Daisy Coleman, the leading voice in the 2016 Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy has died at the age of 23. The Missouri college student told her story about her alleged rape at 14 years old and started the sexual assault prevention organization with her family SafeBAE. Coleman's death is being treated as an apparent suicide, as her mother Melinda Coleman announced Tuesday.
Audrie & Daisy told the story of two teenagers and their families as they dealt with the trauma involved with sexual assault and rape and the negative effects of online bullying on young users. Daisy Coleman’s alleged rape took place at a 2012 Missouri house party put on by one of the high school’s star football players, Matthew Barnett. She and her best friend Paige Parkhurst (age 13), who were both allegedly raped in the basement of the home. Melinda Coleman said this, per Deadline:
My daughter Catherine Daisy Coleman committed suicide tonight. If you saw crazy messages and posts it was because I called the police to check on her. She was my best friend and amazing daughter. I think she had to make it seem like I could live without her. I can’t. I wish I could have taken the pain from her!
Daisy Coleman’s body was reportedly found after her mother asked police to conduct a welfare check. With the announcement of her daughter’s death, Melinda Coleman also wrote that she believed Daisy “never recovered from what those boys did to her.” Coleman’s alleged perpetrator, Matthew Barnett was charged with felony sexual assault but never convicted. The charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty for child endangerment instead. Coleman voiced she had suspicions that Barnett’s case was dropped due to his family’s political connections.
Daisy Coleman was attending Missouri Valley College and using her platform amplified by the Netflix documentary to work on her organization SafeBAE, which is estimated to have reached out to over 5.5 million people to promote its mission to end sexual assault among middle school and high school students. SafeBAE began in 2016, coinciding with Daisy & Audrie’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, parents to teenagers of their own, filmed the Coleman family for the documentary over the span of two years as the family dealt with hostile reactions from their own community. Aside from Daisy Coleman’s story, the documentary also placed a spotlight on Audrie Potts, who was assaulted when she was 15 in Saratoga, California in 2012. Potts died by suicide ten days after the incident as Audrie & Daisy detailed.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of sexual assault and/or rape, reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline as a resource. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more movie news.