- “Grey’s Anatomy” delved into Jo Wilson’s backstory of sexual assault by pairing her with a patient who was attacked and violated.
- The entire episode, from start to finish, addresses sexual assault and violence.
- A scene in which a hallway full of women silently support an assault victim had a particularly strong emotional impact on viewers and the writing staff.
Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” has never been one to shy away from tough subjects. And this proved especially true with the release of Thursday’s poignant episode that delved deep into domestic violence, consent, and the life-long repercussions of sexual assault.
Named for the Tori Amos song “Silent All These Years,” Thursday night’s episode followed Abby (guest star Khalilah Joi), a woman who came to the hospital with injuries after being attacked and violated at a bar. Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) strikes up a strong bond with her patient after finding out that she, like Jo, experienced assault.
Many praised the episode for what they called an accurate, in-depth depiction of how a rape kit is administered, born out of producer Elisabeth Finch’s trip to UCLA’s Rape Treatment Center. Perhaps the most moving scene of the episode, however, came toward the end when Abby is being wheeled into the operating room for surgery. The hallways are lined with women – many in scrubs and some in ordinary clothes – standing in silent solidarity and support for Abby.
— Grey's Anatomy (@GreysABC) March 29, 2019
Tonight's episode of #GreysAnatomy covers important topics such as sexual assault. Some content may be triggering for survivors and their loved ones. Please use caution while watching and call the National Sexual Assault Hotline if you need support: 800.656.HOPE.
— Grey's Anatomy (@GreysABC) March 28, 2019
The scene struck viewers as powerful and important.
— Egya (@thefantegod) March 29, 2019
— Jennifer Schwartz (@JS2pointe) March 29, 2019
And many said they got emotional watching the episode.
Grey's Anatomy is breaking my heart. But it's such an important message that needs to be out there. I'm in tears. #GreysAnatomy
— Melissa (@Melapeters) March 29, 2019
— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) March 29, 2019
“Silent All These Years” is one of the most difficult hours of television I’ve ever watched. But it was also one of the most honest and beautiful and necessary hours. @camilluddington @MishkaForbes @KhalilahJoi @KimRaver and Sophia Ali truly gave us a gift. @GreysABC
— Beth (@BethHoller) March 29, 2019
It turns out, the scene was every bit as important to the writers of the show – and was inspired in part by the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, in which Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. He was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6, 2018.
“I was directing an episode and the Christine Blasey Ford testimony happened and the Kavanaugh confirmation happened,” showrunner Krista Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter. “I felt that through my whole body – the way a lot of women did. She got up and told her truth and a lot of pundits questioned whether she knew what she was talking about or if she could be believed or remember the face of someone who attacked her years ago. It was a pretty powerful moment to watch all of that.”
From there, the team decided to use Elisabeth Finch’s idea to have an “army of awesome women” lining the hallway to support an assault survivor.
Amongst the women were those heavily involved in the making of the show, including cast and crew members.
“That hallway contains nearly the entire female writing staff,” Vernoff said. “So many women came up to us after the table read and asked if they could be in that scene. They were willing to lose a day’s pay to be in that scene.”
Stream the entire episode here.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.
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