Christine Blasey Ford Inspired Grey’s Anatomy’s Sexual Assault Episode — & ABC Pushed Back

Photo Credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC
Art often imitates real life, which is undoubtedly true when it comes to ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
Co-executive producer and writer Elisabeth R. Finch spoke at the ATX Television Festival about how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, in particular, inspired one of the most iconic season 15 episodes in Grey’s history, “Silent All These Years.”
“[Her testimony] destroyed us...I don’t think there’s a woman who wasn’t rocked by that,” Finch said during the festival, according to Deadline. “We collectively felt that the world was getting a message that consent was irrelevant and we wanted to counter that message and wanted to do it as soon as possible.”
Finch was also inspired to pen the episode after a tour of the UCLA Santa Monica rape crisis center. In “Silent All These Years,” a woman named Abby (Khalilah Joi) is admitted to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital after being sexually assaulted. She eventually agrees to report her assault and complete a rape kit, with Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Teddy (Kim Raver) by her side.
ABC initially pushed back on Abby’s rape kit scene, suggesting that the crew not show any gritty details such as fluids on swabs during the sequence. Finch, as well as Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes, didn’t back down, though. Both noted that it was important for viewers to see the complete aftermath of sexual assault given how little the process of reporting is actually shown on television.
“We show countless acts against women but we don’t show the caretaking,” Finch said. “We don’t show what does into actually doing it…that is something that’s a medical step and a medical process and we wanted it on there.”
The network soon came around and the two-minute rape kit scene went on to air as originally planned.
As far as the episode’s heartfelt wall of women scene, Finch explained that it came from her time working at the nonprofit RAINN. As part of the organization’s protocol, staffers were instructed to avoid certain hallways if a patient didn’t want to be around people. For Grey’s, though, Finch wanted to show the opposite.
“What if safety doesn’t come in removing people from situations? What if it comes in the form of women standing up lining the hallway, holding space, and just being there?” she said, and thus the tear-inducing scene was born.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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