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I was particularly impressed with Degrassi’s recent sexual assault episode “Unbelievable,” where a character was assaulted at a party after students took advantage of her intoxicated state. Though the episode showed the disturbing reactions from students, many of whom engaged in slut-shaming and victim-blaming after it was revealed that two Degrassi students had assaulted their classmate, it also showed the importance of combating these issues and how we can prevent assaults from happening in the future. It was a tough episode to stomach, but one worth watching and sharing with the teens in your life.
This isn’t the first time that Degrassi tackled women’s issues with grace (not that sexual assault is ONLY a women’s issue, of course — though in this case, the rampant slut-shaming rings as, sadly, specifically female). The show had a number of episodes that targeted social issues in connection to women.
"ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN"
After 14-year-old Manny Santos (Cassie Steele) learns that she is pregnant, she goes through the steps of deciding what to do about the pregnancy. Her religious, traditional family does not approve of sex before marriage, and she feels like she has no one to turn to. She decides that she doesn’t want to be a mom and is too young to be pregnant, so, after much thought, decides to terminate the pregnancy.
This episode did not air in the United States until well after the original air date in Canada, which made the aftermath of the abortion rarely discussed explicitly. Still, Degrassi gets points for giving Manny the option to do what she wants with her body, regardless of what her friends and peers have to say about it.
Why They Got It Right: Abortion is rarely covered on television, let alone on television marketed to teenagers. Abortion remains a legal and viable choice for women, and we need to see shows that aren’t afraid to show that it’s an option.
they need to tackle this issue again, imo.
STANDING IN THE DARK
Religious Darcy made a pledge to save herself for marriage. When she learns that she has been drugged and raped at a party, she can’t handle knowing that something she held closely — her virginity — was taken from her. She loses faith and cycles into a deep depression, leading to a suicide attempt. With counseling and intense therapy, Darcy works through her anger and puts the blame on her rapist.
Why They Got It Right: The ramifications of Darcy’s rape led her to question her identity. It portrayed a realistic (if disturbing) portrayal of what happens after sexual trauma.
Liberty (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) learns that she is pregnant with boyfriend J.T.’s baby, and the two decide to raise it on their own. Unfortunately, they realize that being parents is more than just having a child — and that they aren’t ready. Liberty gives the baby up for adoption and decides it’s the right decision for her and her baby.
Why They Got It Right: There are many options when it comes to teen pregnancy. Manny chose one option that was right for her, while Liberty was given the opportunity to choose another. There is no right or wrong way to handle a teen pregnancy — only a right way for you.
"DON'T DREAM IT'S OVER
Terri McGregor (Christina Schmidt) knows that her boyfriend, Rick (Ephraim Ellis) has a temper, but his emotional manipulation has made it a challenge to break up with him. Terri defends Rick to her concerned friends, but no one trusts him around Terri. When Rick and Terri fight, he pushes her, causing her to hit her head on a rock and enter into a coma.
Why They Got It Right: Is this story line dramatic? Oh, yeah. Does it happen way too frequently? Absolutely. The story showed how tough it is to leave someone you believe loves you, and how if you see a friend suffering, it’s important to take steps to make them feel safe.
When Paige (Lauren Collins) is invited to a party by her older crush Dean (Shawn Roberts) she plans on hooking up with him. When Paige tells Dean she doesn’t want to have sex, he forces himself on her and rapes her. Paige is afraid to tell her friends whom she assumes will think she was “asking for it” because of her crush. When she does decide to take Dean to court, Paige loses due to lack of evidence.
Why They Got It Right: All too often rape victims feel guilty over their attack. Paige taking back the power by taking Dean to court — and losing — is a reality too many rape victims know.
any standout episodes the list left out?
The rest at the SOURCE