Two girls living on opposite sides of the United States were raped the same year.
Both were blamed, both suffered from relentless abuse when they were the victims.
Both attempted suicide. One failed, the other didn’t.
A new documentary, Audrie & Daisy, exposes the trauma young teens go through and how social media and bullying can kill.
It was about 5am. Daisy Coleman wasn’t wearing a jumper, not even shoes or socks.
It was 2012 and winter in Maryville, Missouri, and Daisy woke up on her front lawn.
It was -5C and she had chunks of ice in her hair and frost bite on her toes.
Daisy, just 14-years-old, was taken inside and put in the bath and that’s when her mother realised something very sinister had happened that would change Daisy’s life forever.She had been dumped there three hours earlier and her mother only just found her.
Before this, the teen was happy. She was on her school’s cheer squad and was in the middle of her freshman year.
In the documentary, Daisy details how she met up with her friend Paige, and they snuck out after Daisy received a text message from a senior and her brother’s friend, Matt Barnett.
He picked the girls up and they went to his house and snuck into his basement.
Barnett and his friends then got out some alcohol and encouraged Daisy to drink about five shots from a “bitch cup”.
“I have three brothers, it was guys taunting me to do it so I saw it like a challenge,” she said in the documentary.
She thought, “I’ll show you I’m not just a little girl”.
Daisy swigged some more alcohol from the bottle and she said she had about 11 or 12 shots.
A dog ran up and sat on her lap and Daisy said something loudly and the boys told her to quieten down.
That was the last thing she remembered.
After Daisy’s mum found her dumped on the front lawn, she took her to hospital where doctors discover she’d been raped.
Her best friend Paige had actually been raped as well, but Daisy didn’t find out for a year, according to an article Daisy wrote for xojane.
The teen’s family then suffered from relentless abuse – her brother was bullied, her mum lost her job and even the family home burnt down.
The cause of the fire was never explained.
Daisy started writing concerning messages on social media.
“Maybe we should just give up”, she said.
“Sometimes I wonder why I try.
“Tell me about how everything in this world is my fault.”
Daisy wrote on xojane that people were telling her she wasn’t raped and people would say she would get what was coming to her.
The hashtag #ihatedaisy began to torment her and she dealt with the pain by self-harming.
“On Twitter and Facebook I was called a skank and a liar and people encouraged me to kill myself. Twice, I did try to take my own life,” she said.
Daisy couldn’t escape this hell and she never asked for it, she never gave it permission to take over her entire being.
She even went to a dance competition and somebody was wearing a T-shirt that said “Matt 1, Daisy O.”
Nobody was looking out for her and she just didn’t know what to do anymore.
Daisy did press charges against Barnett but they were dropped, despite there allegedly being a video on a mobile phone that showed Daisy incoherent.
She transformed from a popular blonde cheerleader to a dark young woman with brown hair and piercings.
She was unrecognisable and a shadow of her former self.
It’s been four years since the night that changed her life and she’s moving on.
The case was eventually reopened and in 2014 Barnett pleaded guilty to a second-degree misdemeanour charge of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with a highly publicised sex assault case involving a teenage girl.
He was sentenced to two years’ probation.
Audrie Pott killed herself eight days after the alleged assault.
‘ANAL’ WAS WRITTEN ON HER BACK
Audrie Pott woke up, squinting at these scribbles all over her body.
There were arrows pointing to her private parts and sexually suggestive words were inked into her skin.
Things like “so-and-so was here” was written across her breasts and the word “anal” was scrawled on her back.
Half her face was coloured black.
She couldn’t remember what happened, but she found out the people who did this to her had photographic evidence.
Audrie was 15 and lived in Saratoga in California with her mother and was found dead in her bathroom eight days after she was sexually assaulted by three teenage boys at a party in 2012.
The Audrie & Daisy documentary aired at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and Audrie’s mother Sheila told independent news programme Democracy Now of the heartache both her and her daughter suffered.
“Audrie had told me that she was spending the night at her girlfriend’s house, which was normal, every weekend activity,” she said.
Her friend’s parents were out of town and they planned a party and about 20 guests showed up.
Audrie started drinking and lost her inhibitions, which was when she was attacked.
Ms Pott said her daughter was a private person and was devastated when she discovered there were photos of her in a vulnerable state.
“One of the things that I remember, which was out of character for her, is she called me that morning. And she said, ‘Mum, can you pick me up?'” the mother said.
“She had never called me to pick her up early. It would always be me saying, ‘OK, you need to come home now,” so I immediately said I’ll be there.”
Ms Pott suspected something was wrong but never thought her daughter was raped.
Eight days later the mother picked Audrie up from school after a panicked phone call from her daughter.
Ms Pott thought she had a fight with her friends but Audrie told her mother she only had two friends.
She’d lost most of them following the rape and was being relentlessly bullied by people at school.
Her mother begged Audrie to tell her what was going on but the teen had reached breaking point.
Walking into the bathroom and finding her daughter had committed suicide is a graphic image Ms Pott will carry with her the rest of her life.
Before committing suicide, Audrie wrote to a friend on Facebook: “I have a reputation for a night I don’t even remember and the whole school knows.”
She knew the boys who raped her and she trusted them.
Her mother said Audrie was begging them to delete the pictures they took of her.
Ms Pott still didn’t know about the sexual assault until one of Audrie’s friends told the school.
One of the boys who raped Audrie spoke in the documentary and producer Jon Shenk asked him how he became aware of the party.
“I don’t remember. It is pretty blurry. Like, you know, it was almost four years ago. So, I mean, you’re at this party that’s being hosted by Audrie and Emily (Audrie’s friend),” he said.
“And, you know, it was my first party I’ve ever been to. I was a freshman. I just got my licence, you know, kind of thought I was cool and stuff. I drove my friends there.”
After hearing what he had to say in the documentary, Ms Pott did not believe he was remorseful.
“I don’t really think that he understands the consequences of what he did. I don’t sense that there is real remorse there. There was a sense of trying to put the blame on someone else, from the very beginning, and I think it’s still there.”
The boys responsible for Audrie’s death were going to go to trial in April last year, but the case reached settlement before going to trial.
Two of the boys verbally apologised in an open court, admitted to the sexual assault and their role in Audrie’s death and agreed to be filmed for the documentary.