Through Our Immense Pain and Grief, We Must Resolve to Do Better for Sexual Assault Victims and Survivors
“We are overwhelmed with pain and sadness at the tragic loss of Daisy Coleman – a brave, bright shining light who fought through her pain and trauma to become a beacon of hope for other young survivors of sexual assault. Daisy’s death is being reported as a suicide but we cannot forget that she suffered deeply after being raped as a young teen. Instead of receiving the support she deserved, she was harassed and bullied online and endured the legal system’s utter failure to achieve justice for her and accountability for those crimes.
“We hold the Coleman family and, in particular Daisy’s mother and brothers, in our hearts, with boundless sympathy and gratitude. As the filmmakers and educational partners of Audrie and Daisy, we had the privilege of working with Daisy and her family for many years. We saw firsthand her commitment to preventing gender-based violence, supporting survivors, and creating a culture of respect and accountability. Her strength and dedication were truly inspiring and had an enormous impact, bringing hope and inspiration to survivors around the world. Her legacy is meaningful, vast and proud.
“Daisy’s death serves as a reminder of the urgent imperative to do much more for our children and teens. Too many people choose to bully and shame them. Too many people are damaged by a culture of toxic masculinity that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and sanctions violence. Too many people perpetuate those harmful stereotypes and condone that toxic masculinity. Too many lives are diminished or ended by sexual and physical violence. Too many news stories covering sexual violence generate anger and backlash, instead of support for survivors. Too often, our culture makes sharing the trauma of rape or assault a terrifying experience. Too often, victims go without support because they are silenced or choose not to disclose. Too often victims are further marginalized due to their race, income, disability, language, gender identity, employment and/or health insurance status. The work we shared with Daisy Coleman was changing that, and we pledge to carry on that work.
“We could not erase Daisy’s pain but we will work tirelessly to prevent others from experiencing it – to change the culture so others do not suffer horrific violence, to change the justice system so it lives up to its name, to ensure that survivors of violence receive support that matches the depth and duration of their pain, to prevent anyone from concluding that suicide is the only way to stop the pain, and to fight and win public policies that support that work.
“Daisy Coleman left the world a better place. We continue her work.”