Did you watch “Private Practice” last night? Well, it was an OMG moment for me. I am not a cult-level “Private Practice” fan. I mean, I love, love, love the show, was quite happy when Tim Daly joined the cast. I used to be totally devoted to him on “Wings” when it aired. Until the past couple of weeks we had a “scheduling conflict” with another program, and the DVR only records so much at one time. So, it has been a big “YAY” to watch “PP” lately.
If you are not familiar with Private Practice or the character Charlotte, let me share a bit with you. From day one Charlotte grated on my nerves. We’re both from the south, but that’s where similarities end – well, okay, we’re both blonde. She’s a gutsy broad who can be very overbearing, and that’s putting it mildly. To describe her as a ball buster would come closer. I have found her annoying, at best, so quite honestly, I’ve just never been a fan of Charlotte – until last night. KaDee Strickland is the actress who plays Charlotte, and last night she knocked it out of the park. To say she caused me to board the Charlotte Fan Train is an understatement.
From the beginning of the episode I was riveted to my seat. I have a personal interest in the subject matter. You see, there were times I was a victim of molestation as a little girl, as well as spousal abuse and domestic violence as a woman. So, while Charlotte railed at her fiancée, Coope, when he called her “a victim,” I related. At the same time I was relating to Charlotte’s reaction to being described as a victim, it was glaringly obvious to me that there are still perhaps millions of victims struggling to escape their own labeling. Some are still in the throes of violence, some trying to return to some semblance of sanity or normalcy following the rape they were subjected to, and probably realizing it will be a long journey, if even at all possible. None of us wants to be seen as a victim, and I hate that word! I suddenly realized, though, there were multiple victims, like Coope. How difficult to feel you have failed to protect the one you love the most, trying to keep it all together for her/him in the midst of life-altering trauma.
My exposure to abuse, as agonizing as it was, never reached the level of brutalization brought to the small screen on November 4, 2010, as emotions vacillated throughout the show. There was the proverbial lump in my throat to see the “little lost girl” in Charlotte’s eyes while she was being examined. I found myself grabbing tightly to the arms of my recliner reacting to her agonizing guttural sounds while being sutured without anesthesia. The veins in my neck nearly burst as Sheldon unknowingly interviewed the monster who had just nearly killed his dear friend (now THAT ought’a be interesting next week!), while the bastard bragged to him of how he “gave it to her good.” All this gave me a better understanding of the true implications of a savage rape. But then, I found myself becoming so angry with Charlotte. This strong, forceful woman caught me off guard. When Meredith approached the subject of reporting the rape, Charlotte demanded that no one be told – not the police, not the other friends and doctors, not even Coope. Suddenly, I became Meredith. “What do you mean? He will do it to other women if you do not speak out.” My inner voice was screaming at Charlotte, “You simply must stand up to this demon, Charlotte. Others may die if you don’t! How can you not speak out?” Through my encounters, along with experiences over the past years as an advocate, one thing I have come to know quite well. Silence is the greatest enemy of sexual violence. It will provide for recurrent warfare, allowing the enemy to move from victim to victim.
The show concluded with a flashback of the rape happening. Hearing Charlotte’s muffled screams, her futile attempts to fight back, broke my heart. It also resonated in my ears those times I would beg, “Please stop! Please don’t hurt me!” For me, the most impressive part of the conclusion was after the show, when KaDee, as herself, appeared on camera sharing a PSA on behalf of RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). Theirs is an exceptional organization. There are many exceptional organizations in the country who work hard to change the statistic Ms. Strickland shared in her public service announcement – EVERY TWO MINUTES SOMEONE IS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN AMERICA. That means 30 people became assault victims during the airing of the show. During the 5-6 minutes it has taken you to read this blog entry, approximately 3 more people have been assaulted.
I am honored to have been given opportunities to progress from victim to survivor to advocate. When you’ve been there, done that, and life gives you a chance to take the evil and turn it for the good of others, it is very humbling to think perhaps your life events just might be a catalyst for someone’s hope, faith or their very life to continue. YOU can help make a difference. Listen to your friends and relatives. Look for hidden messages of possible assault, or even tendency to be the angry predator. Share the link on my website to the Victim Support Page. Numerous links are available for victims and survivors to find help. And always, always have these numbers available, being certain to share either of them whenever the occasion arises: RAINN HOTLINE: 1-800-656-HOPE(4673) and NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).
As an aside – If Shonda Rhimes, who wrote and produced this show, and KaDee Strickland are not at least nominated for an Emmy, much less receive one, there is travesty in TV Land!