Earlier this year, The Bachelor contestant Caelynn Miller-Keyes became the first person in the franchise’s history to talk about her sexual assault on the show. During a private date with Colton Underwood, she opened up about her experience as a rape survivor, Elite Daily reports. Although she claims that she was nervous about public response to her story, she says that fans have been very supportive.
“In relationships, as survivors, this is a conversation that you have to have with a partner. Our relationship progressed very quickly, and it felt like the appropriate time to share it with him.”
She added that although it “always felt like the right decision” to her, she had doubts on the night that the show aired.
“That’s when I started to freak out. I broke down several times that day and the week leading up to that. I was just like, ‘I don’t know how people are going to respond. Will people call me a liar?’ Because that’s what I got in college.”
Despite her worries, she says the response was “incredible,” and has received many messages of support.
Miller-Keyes claims that while the conversation was a tough one, she believes that it was necessary to move her relationship with Underwood forward. She says that in the moment of her conversation, she didn’t feel like she was on TV — it felt like a natural conversation in a normal relationship.
'Bachelor' Contestant Caelynn Tells Colton She's a Sexual Assault Survivor https://t.co/hK3CuPuwNQ
— TMZ (@TMZ) January 29, 2019
The incident that Miller-Keyes describes took place at a party with three of her friends. Afterward, she says she woke up in her bed the next day naked with no recollection of anything that happened at the party. She later discovered that she and all her friends were sexually assaulted.
Miller-Keyes had to go to two hospitals to get a date rape kit — the first one illegally denied her one — which ultimately led to inconclusive results due to the amount of timed passed since the rape. Although one perpetrator was eventually expelled from school, she claims that the others did not face consequences.
Per Vulture, the story was a shift for The Bachelor — back in 2017, Bachelor in Paradise was under fire for reports that producers and staff behind the show watched and filmed contestants having sex while one of them was too intoxicated to give consent. Although investigations exonerated production and the show incorporated sexual assault discussions, they were not well-received and came off as insincere. Viewers felt that the franchise was capitalizing on conflict for ratings at the expense of the safety of the contestants.