Law & Order: SVU
Original Air Date: Apr 24, 2013
Caitlin – Senior Staff Writer
In another “even more ‘ripped from the headlines’ than usual” episode, SVU this week highlighted the inadequate response to rape on many college campuses. They start by highlighting cringe-worthy sorority hazing rituals.
A girl is told to get some very private film of a guy at a party during pledge week. All goes well until he kisses her then pins her to the bed and brings in two of his friends to rape her. Soon after, she tries to throw herself off the roof.
The detectives meet a campus security officer who doesn’t even mention the rape- because he didn’t even ask Lindsey about it. Meanwhile, seemingly every student we meet blames her for getting drunk and wearing green at the party (supposedly a cue for being ready for anything.) Worse, Travis, one of the guys, got her to send him a topless photo.
Lindsey mentions another girl, Renee, who went through the same thing with Travis, only to be so ostracized by the student body she committed herself into a psych ward. Olivia and Amanda go to talk to her, only to find that she’s signed up for a shock therapy that could partially erase her memory. They try to stop it, but the doctor tells them she wanted the treatment.
One round of ECT isn’t enough to wipe out Renee’s memory of the rape. She’s pretty bitter, but does admit what happened to her. The dean, meanwhile, maintains that she knows the rape never happened. It’s pretty much proof that it actually did. With the detectives on her side, Renee gives the details of her assault and what happened afterward- including being put in a straightjacket by campus security.
Olivia and Amanda make a presentation to a collection of students and wind up with multiple other victims. One accuses Joe, the guy who kept Lindsey from killing herself. The head of security told him to text her the next day. When she texted back, he decided there was nothing to prosecute. It’s hardly the first time this has happened, but Lindsey is now claiming she’s fine and refusing to press charges.
Renee does agree to testify, and says that being believed has helped her want to stop the ECT and go back to school. Barba interrogates a counselor who advised many of the girls not to press charges and she says she was told to look away from the offending fraternity. Said fraternity has also thought up chants and t-shirts blatantly supporting rape, all defended by the dean.
The counselor is clearly the weak link the school’s line of defense, but just as the detectives are about to work her sympathies, she calls them. Renee went up to the roof again and again, Joe tried to help, but this time, she jumped to her death. Nick knows Joe isn’t as cold as his frat brothers. He admits that he was involved in a rape and didn’t do anything about it.
Joe does, at least, turn over footage of the rape in question. It’s very unambiguous, and through the dean claims she had no idea it was true. That doesn’t stop her from being charged as an accessory to rape along with the security officer as the three rapists are arrested for their crimes. They’re taken away in front of a crowd of students holding signs inspired by Project Unbreakable.
Next Week: Traumatic Wound