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  • Writer's pictureMallika Gupta

Sex Education's "That episode"

Sexual assault has reared its ugly head in every woman’s life, in one way or the other. In media, it has been discussed, criticized, shamed, exploited and consequently so, normalised. However, in rare moments of sensitivity, which deals with the issue with the care it truly deserves, ‘Sex Education’ produces a unique and refreshing stand point in its seventh episode of the newly released season two.

Stepping away from its usual narrative regarding pubescent struggles of English teenagers, often less relatable to our own context, the season has touched upon many subtle topics regarding struggles surrounding sex and sexuality. This episode however, focuses on a group of girl’s, brought together under the accusation of ‘slut-shaming’ their teacher. Initially stuck in the not-so subtle nuances of their individualistic teenage dramas, the seventeen year old girls eventually discover that the only thing that they share in common, is them all being victims of sexual assault. This realisation comes after one of them- Aimee, reveals her story of being masturbated upon, in a public bus.

The season very carefully establishes the story line around Aimee’s sexual assault, going over the stages that most women would have experienced at some stage in life; from denial, to loneliness and eventually to numbing fear. However, refreshingly, the show doesn’t succumb to the urge of giving patronising advice, or offering solutions. Instead, it only expresses the reality that encompasses women on a daily basis, and quietly celebrates the comfort one may feel by opening up about it.

For once, Netflix’s treatment of sexual assault isn’t violent or brutal, but instead kind and empathetic. The episode softly touches upon the layers of pain and struggle that accompanies sexual assault, and leaves the viewer feeling understood, rather than enraged. It is rare that a sexual abuse narrative leaves you smiling and comforted, and the creators must be congratulated for the empathy they have demonstrated.

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