Documentary highlights connection between social media and sexual assault

Adriona Murphy

Kent State’s Women’s Center and the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Service (SRVSS) hosted a screening for the Netflix documentary “Audrie and Daisy” at the Williamson House Tuesday night.

The documentary focuses on two young women, one from California and one from Missouri, whose sexual assaults were caught on camera and escalated through the use of social media.

“It would be naïve of us to ignore the implications of social media and survivors of sexual assault,” said Stephanie Orwick, a support services coordinator at the SRVSS office. “I think the families were really, really brave to share their stories … I think if it can prevent something, then that’s worth it.”

The SRVSS office and the Women’s Center have held documentary screenings in the past for films such as “The Hunting Ground” and “The Invisible War.”

“(Audrie & Daisy) was another piece of the story around sexual violence and sexual assault and how it impacts those who have been victimized by it,” said Jennifer O’Connell, director of the SRVSS office. “As a community, how do we want to ensure that we’re not re-victimizing people through social media or through the social impact?”

Although the turnout for the event was relatively low, students in attendance were looking forward to watching the film.

“I’m in gender communication and we talk a lot about this stuff,” said Alison Kamis, a junior theatre studies major. “I saw (that they were doing this) and I’m in really into documentaries and movies, so I thought this would be a really good opportunity to learn more about it.”

After the showing, a discussion was held for students to talk about the documentary and what they thought about it. Both Orwick and O’Connell were also available afterwards if students felt they needed support.

Adriona Murphy is the education, health and human services reporter, contact her at [email protected]