Casualty have consulted with Rape Crisis England & Wales on an upcoming storyline which tackles the subject of rape. The storyline will see Doctor Alicia Munroe wake up after an alcohol fuelled evening with fellow F1 doctor Eddie and during a series of flashbacks from the drunken evening, realise that she did not give her consent to sexual activity. The storyline will follow Alicia for six weeks as she struggles to deal with what has happened to her.
Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, says: “Sexual violence can be a difficult topic to handle sensitively on television, not least of all because of the number of common myths and stereotypes that it’s vital programme makers are aware of and avoid perpetuating.
“It’s important to remember too of course that sexual violence is much more widespread than many people realise so there will inevitably be victims and survivors of rape, child sexual abuse and sexual assault in the audience for any show, for whom this kind of content could be particularly distressing or even triggering. This is why its crucial programmes make viewers aware of upcoming storylines like this, as Casualty is doing, so victims and survivors can choose whether or not to watch.
“At the same time, continuing dramas like Casualty aim to reflect important issues in society and people’s lives and,sadly, sexual violence is a reality for many, so to shy away from it completely would seem conspicuous and even potentially run the risk of reinforcing the idea that it’s a ‘taboo’ topic.
“This storyline looks at the central issue of consent, which must be given fully and freely for any and every sexual act by someone with the capacity to do so. Consent can never be assumed; it should be actively sought and enthusiastically given. Anything less is an act of sexual violence. Casualty has made efforts to explore this topic responsibly and carefully and we hope it helps to raise vital awareness and understanding.”
Simon Harper, Executive Producer Casualty and Holby City, says: “Casualty has never shied away from portraying tough, contemporary issues – and in this particular era it felt especially important that we explore this subject. The storyline not only dramatises the devastating effect on Alicia, but also does not shy away from thorny and complex questions about the nature of consent and perception in a way that may well divide the audience. I’m immensely proud of the team for their work on this powerful storyline, and in particular Chelsea, who will blow the audience away with her stunning, heart breaking performance. I’m also very grateful to Rape Crisis for all the advice and help they have been giving us in bringing the story to the screen in a way that I hope is authentic and responsible.”
Chelsea Halfpenny, who plays Doctor Alicia Munroe, says: “I’ve felt a distinct sense of responsibility for this storyline from the moment Lucy Raffety, our Series Producer, informed me we were going to explore it here at Casualty. I think now, more than ever, it is so important that we use our platform to highlight such an issue. Through the sensitive writing, dedicated and passionate directing, and utmost love and support from each and every cast, crew and production member, I believe that we have dealt with the storyline authentically and respectively, and I hope it helps anyone that is, or has been through anything of this nature”.
Casualty is a fictional medical drama but has a rich history of tackling difficult issues since it began in 1986. The show celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2016 and regularly highlights important and challenging topical issues in contemporary Britain. Casualty is a BBC Studios production for BBC One.
The storyline will begin on screen at the end of May.