Why Everyone Needs To Watch Grand Army

*Let me start off by saying, this article may be triggering for survivors of sexual assault.* 

Grand Army really is THAT show. It does not shy away from topics that are considered “challenging” or “controversial.” Grand Army touches on classism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, mental health, and so much more. For the context of this article, I am going to focus on a rape that occurred during the first season. As a young woman, I feel as though this is a topic in my life that I can best resonate with.

Sexual assault can be hard to talk about. The sad reality is, most girls have been there. Even if you don’t know it, a lot of the seemingly perfect and amazing women in your life have been there. Whether they knew it or not at the time, it’s haunting. The even sadder reality, it’s usually a friend, or even friends, not some random person in a dark alley. Grand Army takes this nightmare that too many girls experience and shows just how damaging the experience can be for a person. Friends denying that their friends did something completely awful as the police and authority figures act as if the future of these boys is more important? Sadly this is so normalized in our culture and is an everyday reality for many survivors. If a girl is drinking, and maybe seems into it at first, but later is clearly not wanting any form of touch, and you continue to touch her in any way, that is rape. A lot of people fail to recognize this. Too many. 

purple ribbon domestic violence awareness month Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Throughout the show (disclaimer; SPOILER ALERT), Joey Del Marco has this undeniably free-spirit and has a simple, fun relationship with her guy friends; Tim, George, and Luke. Over the course of a few episodes, we see George and Luke begin to fetishize and exploit her. Joey is carefree, she’s openly sexual, and her best friends take advantage of this. Tim, on the other hand, forms a more intimate, potentially serious relationship with her. Without spoiling too much, I want to say it hurt a lot to see Tim, the one who actually cared, deny the rape done by his two best friends, and instead, slut-shame Joey. The audience witnesses a lot of character development with Tim, who represents the stance that many people take; back up their friends. Knowing your friends raped a girl, or even worse; having witnessed the rape, and not coming forward in fear of losing your friends or in fear of depending on the girl who was just “embarrassed” is a major part of the problem.

Joey came forward because she had to. Her mind was at its lowest point. If she had not come forward, she would not have been able to function at all. The sad reality for so many people is that they spend the rest of their lives hiding this deeply personal "secret." Whether it’s tucked away and seemingly forgotten about, triggers exist; flashbacks, nightmares, and rape jokes persist. Why come forward if our system is set up to make the woman fail? Right? Nobody wants to be that girl. But that right there is the problem. No one should be penalized for coming forward, no one should be made to feel alienated, yet, in our society and culture, skepticism and stigmatization seem to be the harsh reality. 

Vlad Tchompalov Vlad Tchompalov / Unsplash