I May Destroy You took a significant step into the conversation of best television programs of 2020 on Monday night. The episode which aired was the 6th of the season and dealt with the often touchy topic of consent and framed it in the context of a rape support group. Arabella (Michaela Coel) attends a survivor group run by one of her high school friends for rape and sexual assault victims. What’s interesting is Terry’s (Weruche Opia) disapproval of attending these groups. It is, in many ways, symbolic of the societal stigma that often comes with acknowledging a sexual assault. It isn’t right, but it happens. Coel is so open about the subject that it hopefully leads to more dialogue, which I’m hoping will change that.
The episode deftly uses a flashback to discuss the topic of consent and racial bias. The show takes it back to 2004 when Arabella and Terry were in what looks to be high school. The two are forced to get involved when a young African-American male is accused of raping a white girl at knifepoint. The reality is that school officials immediately side with the girl and come down hard of the black male without hesitation when she made the whole story up because he admitted to just using her for consensual sex. This sequence certainly shined a light on how the system is quick to judge unless people are brave enough to speak out.
The most heartbreaking sequence of the episode was Coel’s character explaining to Theo (Harriet Webb) that she’s in this group to learn how to prevent rape because if we live in a world where can just be raped, that it would be too much to bear. Fantastic points made in this episode which truthfully is par for the course this season on ‘I May Destroy You’.