“[Audrie] was so large in life, she was a great athlete, great musician, good student, good kid. And then, she was gone… We had to do something. We are giving a voice to our daughter, we have to so nobody else dies.”
Preparing to Watch and Discuss the Film
For many survivors, victims and their families, the film may trigger memories of past experiences, and it is likely there will be individuals in any audience who have been sexually assaulted. This makes it critically important to seek out sexual assault support services in your community. Have that contact information available, and whenever possible have a representative of that organization attend the screening event. (Refer to the “Invite an Expert” section below for more information and national organizations to help you identify local experts.)
Reach Out: Set the tone for the event early on by including language in your invitations, event programs, and opening remarks such as, “Be ready for a thoughtful exchange of ideas” and “That this event is not intended to solve the problems in real time, but rather to forge connections and learn together as a community.” Also, inform your audience that this film is recommended for upper middle and high school students and above.
Prepare Yourself and Prepare the Group: Considering that some of the questions and answers will center around the facts and data about sexual assault and social media, review all the information in this guide beforehand, to educate yourself and be ready to answer clarifying questions. Understanding the language/terms used to discuss sexual violence respectfully and accurately will ensure that all participants can feel emotionally safe. For a full list of Key Terms and Concepts assembled for Audrie & Daisy see the Glossary in all PDF versions of the Educator Lessons. You may also want to find out what’s happening in your community on this issue.
Be Clear on Your Purpose and Role: While many community members will host screenings to raise awareness to begin a conversation, others may choose to do a screening as a fundraising strategy or to ignite action among leaders. Being a strong facilitator is key for good discussion and planning. Strong emotional responses, including anger and fear may surface. Setting ground rules early will help participants know what’s expected from them and that you encourage open and honest, and respectful conversation. Be clear that actively shaming and blaming victims and survivors is unacceptable and is not part of a constructive dialogue. If language is used that suggests victim shaming or blaming, stop the conversation, respectfully call it out, and help your audience reframe the point or question.
Know Your Own Triggers: Before you convene your audience, take some time to think about your own feelings and values. What came up for you in the film? Were you shocked? Angered? Scared? Any of these feelings can be expected with such a powerful story. At the same time, we need to be steady and focused when we lead these important conversations.
Validate Emotion: As a facilitator, it is helpful to acknowledge and validate strong emotions to help the speaker and others in the room understand and cope with them, and then move forward with the discussion.
Discussing these guidelines and frameworks with community partners, fellow facilitators, and audience members will help ensure an atmosphere of safety, support, and mutual respect.
Plan Your Screening
Invite an Expert: Given the film’s focus on sexual assault in high school, consider inviting a representative from a local organization with expertise in working with victims and survivors of sexual assault and gender based violence, to be on hand as a resource during the discussion. Contact local organizations or reach out to a national organization listed below who may be able to help you identify appropriate local organizations to contact.
Love Is Respect (www.loveisrespect.org)
Love is Respect’s mission is to engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Highly-trained peer advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people, concerned friends, family, counselors, teachers, law enforcement and other professionals who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.
National Network to End Domestic Violence (www.nnedv.org)
NNEDV provides state-by-state information about domestic and sexual violence coalitions and action networks.
RAINN (www.rainn.org )
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
Pre-Screening: Introduce the Film
Before you hit the “play” button, you may want to make a few introductory statements to help set up the film for your audience. Here are some ideas to get started:
Thank You. “Thank you for being here today. Your participation as an audience member in and of itself is meaningful in advancing public awareness and promoting discussion about the realities of sexual assault, victim blaming, and social media harassment.”
What You’ll See. “The film you are about to watch is based on real life stories of two girls in high school who were assaulted by boys they knew.”
Take Care Of Yourself. “Some of the content in this film may be difficult to watch. Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. If you need to take a walk, go ahead. If you need to speak with someone, I’ll be right here.”
After The Film. “Please stay for a short discussion immediately following the film. There is no pressure for you to participate in the discussion if you don’t feel ready or comfortable, but I do hope you’ll stay to hear what your community has to say.”
Post Screening: Three Ideas to Engage Your Audience in a Discussion
Facilitated conversations following the screening provide an important opportunity for audience members to reflect on the film and consider the ways in which they can be part of the solution. Here are three ideas for post screening audience engagement. Consider combining and tailoring these suggestions to meet your event objectives.
1. Pose a series of questions to get your group talking.
How do you feel?
What did you learn? What was most shocking/surprising to you?
What are your thoughts on how the experiences of Daisy and Audrie may be playing out here in our community?
What do you think about sharing photos or videos online?
How can you help young people safely navigate social media?
How can you talk with other parents about your own fears and questions surrounding sexual violence, consent, alcohol, partying, and your kids?
What are some of the ways in which concerned parents and members of the community can support the young people in our lives?
How might you support young people to be Upstanders – to stand up when they see potential for harmful behavior, online or in real life?
What can each of us do in our schools—students, teachers and administrators—to prevent sexual assault?
Consent-What is it? How to give it?
Sexual Violence, Sexual Assault and Rape – Do you know the difference?
Social Media – What is it? What does it include? What is a digital citizen?
2. Offer a few scenarios based on scenes in the film.
Posing specific scenarios can help your audience problem solve and think through what they might do if they were faced with the situations they saw in the film. As a facilitator, you can pose the scenario, and coach the audience through discussing the answers.
In both instances, Audrie and Daisy were highly intoxicated and/or incapacitated.
If your son/daughter or a friend of theirs comes home from a party disoriented, and unsure what happened. What do you do?
Possible Responses and Actions
Support them emotionally and work together to make decisions on how to piece together what happened, whether they need medical attention, and what to do next.
Remember: Drinking alcohol does not cause someone to sexually assault another person, and it is never an excuse for violence. Anyone who has been drinking or using drugs, would have a hard time giving affirmative consent because alcohol compromises your ability to make good decisions.
Audrie’s friend Amanda tells us how persistent the boys were in middle school in asking for nude pictures.
Your daughter leaves her phone on the counter and you notice a text pop up that says, “Hey girl you looked hot today. Text me a nude pic.”
How would you respond?
Possible Responses and Actions
Sexting is a crime and falls under current child pornography laws. Depending upon the circumstances, sexting may also be a crime under federal law. Some states have adopted laws that make sexting less severe for teenagers than for adults who send such photos.
Sometimes folks forget that pics, especially ones that are provocative/sexy, can last forever and can be things that a future college or job might be able to dig up.
When Daisy spoke out, her life was irrevocably changed. Her peers took to social media and lashed out at her:
Daisy is lucky she moved schools. #jordanandmattarefree
If you discovered a similar situation was happening with your child, their friend or other student, how would you respond? Keep in mind the role/relationship you may have with this young adult.
How do you support a young person you know who is being bullied or harassed online?
Possible Responses and Actions:
Disengage, log off and leave the area or stop the activity (i.e. chat room, online game, instant messaging, social networking site) immediately. Emphasize that it is always OK to walk away from a toxic relationship.
Privacy Settings are for all of us to use. Encourage all young people to be in control of their settings and set boundaries to prohibit cruelty by their peers.
Block the sender’s messages. Never reply to harassing messages.
Talk to an adult. If the bullying includes physical threats, tell the police as well.
Save and forward any harassing messages to your Internet Service Provider. Most have Appropriate Use Policies restricting users from harassing others over the Internet and all include kids.
And, it is always best to be proactive and instill prevention education.
Inform young people about resources, like ihollaback.org that are creating online movements and advocacy to raise awareness and garner community support for targets of cyberbullying.
Bystander Intervention Scenario
The night Daisy was sexually assaulted, what could Charlie’s friends have done differently to help Daisy and Paige?
Possible Responses and Actions
They could have texted Charlie and told him what was happening or to come over.
They could have tried to stop Matty B. from taking her into the bedroom.
They could have interrupted the sequence by taking Paige and Daisy home once they saw that each girl was unable to give affirmative consent.
3. Facilitate a panel discussion with community leaders and subject matter experts.
Convening local stakeholders for a panel discussion followed by a Q & A session is a reliable format to use for a community conversations. Inviting leaders of advocacy groups with expertise on sexual assault, scholars and other community stakeholders helps to build a local audience, inform the community and offers a chance for multiple perspectives to be shared, respected and heard in an open and safe format.
4. Wrapping up the Discussion
Discussing and addressing sexual violence is never an easy topic and it can’t be wrapped up in a bow. Framing the documentary before the screening and organizing a post-screening discussion for Audrie & Daisy is an opportune time to increase public awareness and promote prevention efforts.
Remind your audience that sexual assault is a problem in every community, and invite
them to keep the conversation ongoing at home, at school, and in their communities. Audrie & Daisy invites us to hold a mirror up to our current culture. Frankly, we need this view because many teenagers consider sexual harassment and violence to be almost inevitable. In a 2014 study of teen survivors of sexual violence, the respondents said they didn’t report their abuse because they thought what happened was normal.
In Saratoga, John_R was not a mysterious stranger in a dark alley. He was a kid whom Audrie knew and considered a friend. In Maryville, Daisy’s perpetrators were friends and teammates of her brother. These young men’s actions reflect their understanding of a pervasive culture that condones and normalizes violence against women. Although this film features the stories of two white girls, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge that assault happens across race, class, gender, physical ability and sexual orientation.