The Library Scene In Sex Education Season 2 Is So Universal, It Actually Hurts

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual misconduct and spoilers for Sex Education season 2 episode 7.
Sex Education meets The Breakfast Club. But instead of the Brat Pack, it's our favorite Moordale Academy girls —Maeve, Ola, Aimee, Viv, Lily, and Olivia — learning they have a lot more in common than they thought. The library scene in Sex Education season 2's penultimate episode is all about female bonding. But what ultimately ends up uniting these young ladies is something that all women can sadly relate to: "non-consensual penises."
After Mr. Groff (Alistair Petrie) xeroxes Jean's (Gillian Anderson) private notebook she uses during her sex clinics the whole school learns about the sexual history of their peers. Someone decides that it would be funny to slut-shame Miss Sands (Rakhee Thakrar) for being into dirty talk. Unfortunately, Maeve (Emma Mackey), Ola (Patricia Allison), Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), Viv (Chinenye Ezeudu), Lily (Tanya Reynolds), and Olivia (Simone Ashley) are all spotted at the scene of the lipstick-assisted crime. The punishment is the girls have to put together a "presentation on what binds you together as women."
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In theory, this should be easy, especially if you take Maeve's suggestion of just pretending to all like cosplay or shopping or chocolate. But it ends up being tragically simple once an emotional Aimee reveals she's suffering from PTSD after being sexually assaulted on the bus.
In episode 3, a man on the bus cums on her jeans. At first, Aimee downplays what happens, telling Maeve, who encourages her to go to the police, it's no different than having someone sneezing on you. “Cum is kind of like a penis having a sneeze,” she says. However, this moment affects her more than she imagined it would. Throughout the season she sees the perpetrator everywhere and even breaks up with her boyfriend because she no longer feels comfortable being touched by him. She can't ride the bus, she says, not because she's afraid of him. "It's more that he had this really kind face," Aimee explains. He didn't look like "some wanking psycho killer," but any other guy. Aimee's real fear is, "If he could do something like that, then anyone could."
This moment took away Aimee's sense of comfort. "I always felt safe before," she says, "and now I don't." The thing is every woman has had this moment, this loss of innocence that is forced upon them by men who believe women are theirs for the taking. Each of these teenage girls has a moment they can point to as the moment when their sense of security was unjustly taken from them.
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For Olivia, it was a boy who groped her in a crowd that made her feel like her body was public property. For Ola, it was being followed home on her way home from work, only to run off when he saw her dad. For Maeve, it was being catcalled by boys in the trailer park for her shorts, which a woman told her was the real problem. Her response was to just cut her shorts even shorter "because fuck them."
Women shouldn't have to change their behavior so that men don't have to change theirs, but as Viv points out, it's often safer for women to than risk the consequences if they don't. "Statistically, two-thirds of girls experience unwanted sexual tension or contact in public spaces before the age of 21," Viv explains. Younger people are at the highest risk of sexual violence, according to RAINN, with the majority of sexual assault victims being under 30.

It's why Viv understands why her mom kept her from the public pool after a man flashed her. She didn't really have a choice. If she allowed her daughter to keep going to the pool and something happened, she would have blamed herself. Unfortunately, others might have blamed her, too for what this man did.

The girls don't come to any solution as to what society can do to stop men from pulling out their dicks, but they find solidarity in knowing they've all experienced unwanted sexual touch or attention in their life. Those who watch the show will probably feel a connection to this storyline, too. The truth is, it's such a universal experience for women, it hurts.
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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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