We held our mutual breaths as we watched last night, sick to our stomachs, knowing that our beloved Anna was going to be hurt, terribly hurt, by a man to whom she had been nothing but kind and welcoming. And she was, brutally raped and discarded.
Shamed. Unable to speak the truth because of her need to protect her husband, fearful of what he would do to her offender, knowing he would be taken from her if he defended her honor, she was silent.
Downton Abbey is a story, a pure piece of fiction, yet this grand story carries within it the small stories of all of us. We dream, we love, we are envious and angry, we make mistakes, we learn from those mistakes, and we have our hearts broken all too often.
There are many Annas among us. Every two minutes, every 120 seconds, there is an act of sexual violence in the United States. 60% of those assaults are not reported, and of the ones that are, 97% of the offenders never spend a day in jail.
We need to protect our Annas, and our Alfreds, and all the ones who suffer in silence. We must surround them and encourage them to tell their stories, to help set them free from the shame that binds them.
Don’t watch another episode and forget them.