A leading charity has welcomed the way EastEnders presented a shock storyline which saw Dean Wicks acquitted of attempted rape.
Dean (Matt Di Angelo) was on trial for the attempted rape of Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), and viewers also know that he raped Linda Carter (Kellie Bright).
But while Linda and Roxy were upset by the outcome, charity Rape Crisis hailed the BBC’s “bold” decision to focus on them, rather than the trial.
A post on the soap’s blog by Rebecca Hitchen, operations co-ordinator at Rape Crisis South London, explained: “We may be angry and frustrated by the fact that Dean does not get the comeuppance he deserves and be shocked that he has got away with his crimes again.
“We know that he is a rapist and that he is a serial offender, and we can predict that he will continue to perpetrate his crimes against women, wherever he ends up.
“But it is an important reality to face, that far too often rapists are not convicted; and justice is not realised. This is why additional support, and other ways to have their voices heard, are so crucial for survivors.”
She highlighted low conviction rates and the prejudices facing rape survivors, adding: “We know that just one in 15 women who are raped make the decision to report to the police.”
Dean’s trial took place off-screen, with the focus on the women affected by his crimes as they united together at the Queen Vic to await the verdict.
Rebecca praised the BBC soap for how the storyline had been presented, writing: “EastEnders has now made another bold decision; rather than airing the usual version of a courtroom drama, they instead show the stress and the anxiety survivors and their loved ones experience in the criminal justice system waiting for the outcome, and learning the verdict.”
Some viewers felt Dean should not have been allowed to walk free.
Dean should be found guilty because then it will show the audience that if you report it they can be sent down! #EastEnders
— Annalise (@Annalise_hill18) August 19, 2016
Can't believe Dean's been let off! Disgraceful ð¡ #EastEnders
— Rubyâ¡ (@Ruby_Baking) August 19, 2016
I can't believe they jury found Dean not guilty in eastenders ? Surely they should be making victims want to report it not put them off
— Jodie (@jodieblundelll) August 19, 2016
But others felt the episode had been handled well.
Despite the sadness of the verdict, #eastenders have shown tonight that it doesn't always end properly or fairly. They had to do it this way
— n a t a l i e (@eclipse_heart_x) August 19, 2016
People acc need to realise a not guilty verdict on these issues is so common. This is the reality. #EastEnders
— molly (@clearlymolly) August 19, 2016