NBC’s long-running soap opera Days of our Lives—and the particular direction that the character of Abigail Deveraux (Marci Miller) is headed—caused quite the stir on social media. Recently, many fans took objection to a storyline on Days of our Lives involving a character suffering from dissociative identity disorder (DID). On Monday, April 16, the official Twitter account for Days of our Lives tweeted a preview of their show that aired the following day.
In the preview, Abigail Deveraux is her other personality, Gabby Hernandez, and her husband, Chad, catches her in bed with his half-brother, Stefan. Though this may just seem like yet another outlandish soap opera plot—like the time Stefano stole John Black’s memories and stored them on a disc—the lack of sexual consent for the situation paired with the misrepresentation of DID caused a backlash on Twitter; it didn’t take long until the hashtag #JusticeForAbby was created.
In an interview with Yahoo, Dr. Gail Saltz, author of The Power of Different: The Difference Between Disorder and Genius, explained that DID is more complicated than how it is portrayed on Days of our Lives.
“Dissociative identity disorder doesn’t really exist in this form — the concept that you’re one person today and a completely and totally different person tomorrow. And the show specifies the issue nearly to the point of nonexistence.”
— Days of our Lives (@nbcdays) April 16, 2018
In addition, Saltz explained that if a person was to have delusions so severe that they didn’t understand their actions, then they cannot consent. The psychiatrist also pointed out that this situation would likely not play out in real life, and that the NBC show simplified the psychiatric illness for the sake of a steamy plot line.
Just so I’m clear ( since some don’t seem to get it)..
I’m not upset over the DID story because I’m a #Chabby fan… It’s disgusting that a mentally ill woman is being RAPED & sexually assaulted. It’s not a love story, it’s sick & #Days should be ashamed. #JusticeForAbby
Exactly thank you!! No matter how anyone tries to spin it THIS IS RAPE!! It might be just a show but it is a show geared towards woman and most of us don’t think rapemance is entertaining #Days
— Melissa Rukavina (@MissielovesWill) April 16, 2018
— ❤Alie❤ (@aliecat4979) April 16, 2018
— Lora Nell (@lrichardson1124) April 16, 2018
— Tara (@milesgrace77) April 16, 2018
Many fans chalk up soap operas as mindless entertainment not meant to be taken seriously. And some fans even disagree that the situation presented to them in the Days of our Lives teaser isn’t rape. But on the other side of the coin, there is a large number of people who take objection to how storylines depict consent and how certain disorders are portrayed.
If she was a willing participant it would be Abby as herself sleeping with Stefan. Not one of her alters.
— Annie Goen (@TeamChadAndAbby) April 16, 2018
This isn’t the first time a program has felt backlash for the depiction of consent or for DID. M. Night Shyamalan’s 2017 film Split, one of the most highly-rated horror movies of the past several years, was also criticized on social media and other platforms with the way he depicted a serial killer suffering from DID. Soap operas are known for their outlandish plot lines, and even with the backlash, NBC’s Days of our Lives will likely continue the Abigail DID story.