The mother of sexual assault advocate Daisy Coleman has taken her own life — four months after her 23-year-old daughter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“We are in shock and disbelief to share with our SafeBAE family, that we lost Melinda Coleman to suicide,” the Instagram post read.
According to the Kansas City Star, Daisy’s father died in a car accident when she was a child, and her brother, Tristan, died in a car accident in Kansas in 2018.
“The bottomless grief of losing her husband, Tristan and Daisy was more than she could face most days,” the post continued.
Daisy was a subject of the 2016 Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy, which attempted to raise awareness about sexual assault and the devastating effects it can have on survivors’ lives.
In the film, Coleman claimed she was assaulted in 2012 at the age of 14 by another teen named Matthew Barnett. When she was a freshman in high school, she and a friend snuck out to party with a group of boys. The teen claims she blacked out and was assaulted by Barnett, who was 17 at the time.
The older boy was initially charged with felony sexual assault. Though the alleged rape was filmed on a smartphone by another boy at the party, Barnett claimed the intercourse was consensual and charges were later dropped. Time reported he pleaded guilty in 2014 to endangering the welfare of a child after he admitted to leaving Coleman on the front lawn of her family home in freezing temperatures while she “was incapable of protecting or caring for herself” following the assault.
ABC reported in 2014 that Coleman’s mother, 58, claimed on Facebook the teen was “terrorized to the point” that she attempted to take her life. Family friend Robin Bourland later confirmed the news to The Kansas City Star.
“It’s been heartbreaking for them,” Bourland said, revealing the incident stemmed from further online harassment. “This has been a really long, drawn-out battle, and it’s heartbreaking to see something like this happening.”
In August, Melinda revealed her daughter had died by suicide. “My daughter Catherine Daisy Coleman committed suicide tonight,” she wrote on Facebook. “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.”
According to its Facebook page, SafeBAE is a “survivor-founded, youth-led organization whose mission is to raise awareness about sexual assault in middle/high schools [and] the rights of students.” Coleman founded the organization with fellow teen sexual assault survivors Ella Fairon and Jada Smith with the help of cofounder Shael Norris and Coleman’s brother, Charlie Coleman.
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If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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