An American Hero Has Been Lost: Sexual Assault Survivor Daisy Coleman Has Passed

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The acclaimed advocate for sexual assault victims has reportedly committed suicide.

The unsung American hero has died by suicide. On Tuesday, August 4, Coleman’s mother, Melinda Coleman, shared a painful post on Facebook announcing the devastating news. The 23-year-old activist dedicated her life to supporting victims of sexual abuse and magnifying the perpetual pain and trauma that stems from sexual assault. The survivor’s powerful, poignant personal narrative was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Audrie and Daisy. The dynamic, deeply disturbing documentary detailed Coleman’s raw, real experience with sexual abuse and harassment. Her authentic, unfiltered personal account moved many individuals and resonated with fellow survivors.

Both allies of sexual assault victims and survivors commended Coleman’s candor and awe-inspiring ability to address such a heavy, horrific topic with such ease and eloquence. Unimaginable feelings of nakedness and vulnerability succeed sexual assaults. Being stripped of one’s integrity and clothes have lingering effects and scars an individual’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Coleman’s bravery continues to inspire many people and arm fellow survivors with both a voice and a platform to heal. 

Ella Fairon, the co-founder of the sexual assault advocacy organization SafeBAE, commented on Daisy’s untimely death. Fairon told Teen Vogue, “I know that it was really important to [Daisy] that being a survivor did not define who she was…she was so much more than what people know about her. That’s what I’ve been focusing on, making sure people know she was so much more than that. She was working on so many things to show that. I know it would be really important for people to know she was an artist. She was a very talented artist. She was a strong female warrior for so many female-driven issues.”

Coleman was much more than a sexual assault survivor; she was an admirable activist, an adroit tattoo artist, and an amusing friend.

Although Coleman has passed, her legacy prevails. We celebrate Coleman’s life by continuing to champion sexual assault victims and engaging in meaningful, fruitful conversations regarding safe, consensual sex.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted, you can seek support by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). For additional sexual assault resources, see RAINN, End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.