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Daisy Coleman, Sexual Assault Survivor & Star Of Netflix Documentary Audrie & Daisy, Dead By Suicide At 23

Sexual assault survivor Daisy Coleman dies by suicide at 23.

Catherine “Daisy” Coleman, a sexual assault victim-turned-advocate, has passed away at the age of 23.

Daisy was featured in Netflix‘s powerful 2016 documentary named partially for her, Audrie & Daisy, based on her experience as a rape survivor and the subsequent nationwide backlash she faced for coming forward with the story.

Coleman’s mother, Melinda, shared the sad news Tuesday on Facebook, writing:

“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! She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone.”

So, so sad…

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For those unfamiliar with her story, Coleman was just 14 years old when she alleged that she was sexually assaulted in 2012 by Matthew Barnett, a fellow teenager in her small Missouri hometown. After the incident, she was reportedly left intoxicated and incoherent outside of her home in freezing cold temperatures for hours, wearing nothing but a t-shirt. Barnett later faced a felony sexual assault charge for the crime, but it was ultimately dropped. Matthew, the grandson of former Missouri State Representative Rex Barnett claimed the sex was consensual and in 2014, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child endangerment. He was sentenced to just two years’ probation.

Unfortunately, Daisy became the subject of intense backlash and a target for online bullying when members of her community rallied around the young man. She suffered from depression for years after the traumatic assault and attempted suicide multiple times before becoming an advocate for other survivors.

Reflecting on the life-changing experience, she told People back in 2017:

“I definitely feel like people have certain views and perceptions about me and about cases like this because they’re uneducated. That’s exactly why I’m going out and trying to educate people on what’s going on in our society.”

Daisy Coleman, sexual assault survivor turned advocate.
In addition to the full-length documentary, Daisy also participated in an anti-bullying PSA with other sexual assault victims in 2017. / (c) Netflix

That same year, Coleman worked on the national campaign SafeBAE — Safe Before Anyone Else — to help prevent others from enduring sexual violence. Through her personal advocacy and support from loved ones, Daisy said she was able to forgive her assailant. She told the outlet:

“I honestly don’t have any vindictive feelings toward him. I feel like all of that negativity that he put onto me was passed down to him at one point, so I felt the need to stop that kind of transaction of negativity and hate.”

Sharing more of her optimistic perspective at the time, she added:

“I went through a lot of years of self-loathing and asking myself, Why me? So much ‘woe is me.’ I just decided one day that I was done being negative about it. I needed to forgive myself for what happened.”

After overcoming one of the most harrowing experiences of her life, it appears Daisy did not have the strength to keep going just eight years later. Her entire story is incredibly heartbreaking. Audrie Pott, the other titular rape survivor featured in the Netflix doc also died by suicide in 2012, ten days after she was assaulted in Saratoga, California.

Our heart goes out to Coleman’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.

R.I.P., Daisy.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

[Image via Daisy Coleman/Instagram/Netflix/YouTube.]

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Aug 06, 2020 07:00am PDT