‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Producers Discuss Recent Sexual Assault Episode

Shonda Rhimes and actress Ellen Pompeo speak onstage during the 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scandal,' and 'How To Get Away With Murder' panel discussion.
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In last Thursday’s episode of ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, sexual assault and the trauma of being violated were pushed to the forefront. The episode made a huge impact and the producers are now opening about what it took to tell such an important story, according to a report from Entertainment Weekly.

During the episode, a distracted Dr. Jo Karev, played by Camilla Luddington, bumps into a woman in the halls of the hospital. The woman came into the hospital seeking help for a cut on her face but while treating her, Jo realizes the woman is withholding information. After a bit of encouragement, the woman lifts her garment to expose several wounds and bruises that were consistent with sexual assault. Jo enlists the help of Dr. Teddy Altman, played by Kim Raver, and after examining her, Teddy concludes that the woman needs surgery. However, the patient is terrified to leave her room and revealed that she sees her attacker in the face of every man.

In order to get the patient the help she needs, the doctors come up with a plan to line the route to the operating room with all women. And so, the women of Grey Sloan Memorial gathered to stand and support a fellow woman and survivor.

While chatting with EW, showrunner Krista Vernoff, director Debbie Allen, and writer Elisabeth R. Finch shared their thoughts on the emotional scene. Vernoff said the idea for the episode was inspired by Christine Blasey Ford story, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. But the idea for the women standing in solitary came from Finch.

“She pitched this scene to me as the ‘army of awesome,’ which was lining the hallways with women who would just stand there and witness this survivor’s journey to protect her,” Vernoff explained.

“It’s so rare to get that kind of representation in TV that looks at the fallout of violence and focuses on ways we can support and heal each other rather than further damage each other.”

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Allen said she “was almost paralyzed with a mix of emotions” after she read the script.

The episode also gave viewers a glimpse into Jo’s past. After finding her birth mother, Jo learned she was the product of rape and it was the reason she was abandoned as a baby. Her mother explained she did the best she could at the time but she could not see beyond her own trauma.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.