Monday 5 December 2016

Charity praises EastEnders over attempted rape storyline

Published 20/08/2016 | 01:11

Dean Wicks, played by Matt Di Angelo in EastEnders, was cleared of attempted rape in dramatic scenes in the BBC soap
Dean Wicks, played by Matt Di Angelo in EastEnders, was cleared of attempted rape in dramatic scenes in the BBC soap

A leading charity has praised the way EastEnders presented a shock storyline which saw Dean Wicks acquitted of attempted rape.

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Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) was on trial for the attempted rape of Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), and viewers also know that he raped Linda Carter (Kellie Bright).

But while Linda and Roxy were upset by the outcome, charity Rape Crisis hailed the BBC's "bold" decision to focus on them, rather than the trial.

A post on the soap's blog by Rebecca Hitchen, operations co-ordinator at Rape Crisis South London, explained: "We may be angry and frustrated by the fact that Dean does not get the comeuppance he deserves and be shocked that he has got away with his crimes again.

"We know that he is a rapist and that he is a serial offender, and we can predict that he will continue to perpetrate his crimes against women, wherever he ends up.

"But it is an important reality to face, that far too often rapists are not convicted; and justice is not realised. This is why additional support, and other ways to have their voices heard, are so crucial for survivors."

Ms Hitchen highlighted low conviction rates and the prejudices facing rape survivors, adding: "We know that just one in 15 women who are raped make the decision to report to the police."

The trial took place off-screen, with the focus on the women affected by Wicks' crimes as they united together at the Queen Vic to await the verdict.

Ms Hitchen praised the BBC soap for how the storyline had been presented, writing: "EastEnders has now made another bold decision; rather than airing the usual version of a courtroom drama, they instead show the stress and the anxiety survivors and their loved ones experience in the criminal justice system waiting for the outcome, and learning the verdict."

Some viewers felt Dean should not have been allowed to walk free, with @Annalise_hill18 writing: " Dean should be found guilty because then it will show the audience that if you report it they can be sent down! #EastEnders."

@Ruby_Baking wrote on Twitter: "Can't believe Dean's been let off! Disgraceful #EastEnders."

But others felt the episode had been handled well.

Viewer @eclipse_heart_x wrote on Twitter: "Despite the sadness of the verdict, #eastenders have shown tonight that it doesn't always end properly or fairly. They had to do it this way."

@clearlymolly added: "People acc need to realise a not guilty verdict on these issues is so common. This is the reality. #EastEnders."

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