Grey’s Anatomy tackles consent, rape in powerful new episode inspired by Ford/Kavanaugh hearing

This week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy in the US “Silent All These Years” (after a Tori Amos song), tackles difficult issues surrounding consent and the aftermath of rape. UK viewers please note this episode is yet to air over here.

The episode, written by veteran Grey’s Anatomy writer Elisabeth Finch, initially met with pushback from ABC’s Standards and Practices department for the level of detail included. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Finch and showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed that series creator Shonda Rhimes pushed back against ABC and, remarkably, the network backed off.

Vernoff also revealed that the episode was inspired in part by the results of the Christine Blasey Ford testimony in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

I felt that through my whole body — the way a lot of women did. [Ford] 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.

“I wrote to the writers and said, ‘We have to do something about consent and try to do our part to explain how impactful rape is and how it can damage people for years, decades and generations.’”

The episode features both detailed depictions of how a rape kit is collected, along with a scene in which a wall of women stand in support as the rape victim is wheeled into surgery - a powerful image of solidarity and support.

Vernoff added:
“That hallway contains nearly the entire female writing staff [of Grey's]. It contains exec producers on the show, exec producers in Shondaland, most of our female crewmembers. That hallway is full of women who read that script and wanted to stand there and be a part of this thing.”

The episode also boasts a female editor, director of photography and script coordinator, in addition to a female writer, director and showrunner.

Grey’s Anatomy is in its 15th season and airs on ABC in the US and Sky Witness here in the UK.

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