Why Caelynn’s Story is a Milestone for Women and The Bachelor

Every week The Bachelor is filled with iconic cat-fights, petty comments and ‘Can-I-steal-you’s?’ that leave viewers like myself in absolute awe and trash-TV heaven.

But last Monday on its fourth episode of Colton Underwood’s season, things got serious. The mood shifted, and there were no interruptions as contestant Caelynn retold the time she was sexually assaulted.

“It’s something that will always be a part of me,” Caelynn said to Colton. “It’s the most difficult thing in the world. It’s so painful, and it screws up every ounce of you.”

Caelynn recalled the incident that occurred during her sophomore year of college when she and her friends were drugged and gang-raped by a group of men at a fraternity house. She talked about the shame and humiliation she felt that disallowed her to open up, how it took a year just to tell her mother and finally her fight to seek-justice in the aftermath.  

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In the era of the #MeToo movement, we know that Caelynn’s story is all too familiar, yet it is the first in Bachelor history that audiences witnessed a re-telling of on screen.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be raped at some point in their life. Following those statistics, we know that Caelynn is most-likely not the only woman of any of the seasons who has a story to tell.

Caelynn sharing her story is a milestone for all women and survivors. And telling it on a popular show that rarely has these conversations, is a milestone in itself.

The Bachelor brings in thousands of viewers each episode, so you can only imagine the impact that conversation had on its viewers. This type of representation in any form of media is incredibly important, let alone one that has a large female audience.

Having it on something like The Bachelor could lead to a mother having a new conversation with her daughter. Or, another survivor having the courage to come forward and tell their own story. This type of acceptance and normality is what survivors need, and what others need to know to stop these instances from occurring.

Many took to twitter during the show sharing their thoughts on Caelynn’s story.

One user @ItsEllemichelle tweeted: “I don’t even think I took a breath while Caelynn was telling her story. This is so much bigger than the show, this is about empowering other women and letting them know that they are not alone. Such a real, unfiltered moment. She’s amazing!!!”

I agree, she’s amazing. The bravery, vulnerability and representation witnessed on a pop-culture television show IS so much bigger than the show. Thank you Caelynn for your bravery, and thank you to The Bachelor for changing the narrative on an episode that will leave a long-lasting impact.