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‘Riverdale’ Tackled Sexual Assault, & We Have to Talk About It

Riverdale has become a popular phenomenon among TV watchers over the past year. With a mix of drama, romance, and crime, this show is definitely one that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats (or beds), and has captured the attention of many audiences both young and old. For those of you who haven’t seen the show before, it is based off of the Archie comics, and is a storyline that follows the lives of the people of Riverdale, focusing primarily on a group of high school students. Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, Cheryl, and Kevin are the six main students whose lives we follow. However, the show is not just limited to them, as it also focuses attention on different groups and individuals who happen to make the show that much better.


With all of the laughing, loving, and suspense shown throughout each episode, viewers were hit with a rather tough topic to watch in Episode 5 of the second season. Cheryl, one of the main characters, was at a fundraiser with her close group of friends as well as her mother and many other adults. There were servers going around offering guests food and drinks, there was music being played, and speeches being made. It was a very classy and wealthy event, which we can infer by the ways in which the guests were dressed, as well as the overall presentation of the venue. This fundraiser was done to raise money for a construction project, and one of the main investors and their son, who happened to be the same age as the high school students, were in attendance. The son of these wealthy investors, Nick St. Clair, had a way with words, and adding in his wealth and above average looks, this led to many girls falling head over heels for him. One of these girls happened to be Cheryl; however, she did not expect her little crush to lead to the very dark place that it did.

Cheryl was showing her flirtier side to Nick at the fundraiser. A smile here and there led them to one another, and before we know it Nick and Cheryl are making small talk and it is clear that they are interested in one another. The next time the server came around with drinks, Nick turned his back to Cheryl and grabbed a drink for her, dropping a pill into her glass before he turned around to give it to her. Cheryl very quickly took one large gulp of the drink, but she had no idea that Nick dropped the pill in, as that is the last thing she expected him to do. Let’s face it, that’s the last thing any of us would expect someone to do at a formal fundraiser like the one they were at. As the drugs started to affect Cheryl, she became confused as to why she felt the way she did. It became clear that she was on the verge of passing out, and told Nick she needed some air. Nick was there to hold her up and comfort her like the good guy he made himself out to be, yet little did Cheryl know, he was the one who did this to her. Rather than standing outside for air, Nick led Cheryl to his hotel room, and when I say led, I mean he physically guided her to his hotel room, as she had very little control of her bodily movements and had little to no cognitive abilities at this point. Luckily Veronica, who was singing on stage at the time, saw Nick and Cheryl leave the venue together and did not have a good feeling about it. Veronica knows Nick from her past, and she is aware of the type of f**kboy he is. Veronica and a few others quickly ran to his hotel room, and as this is all going on, Nick began to sexually harass Cheryl. He laid her down in bed, and began to take off his clothes. At this point, Cheryl is completely passed out, thus is NOT ABLE TO GIVE CONSENT. Just as Nick is about to go further with Cheryl, Veronica and her friends bust into the room and pull Nick off of Cheryl. A few friends go to comfort Cheryl, while others go and give Nick quite a few strong punches and kicks that he most definitely deserves. 

As things start to settle down, and the drugs wear off, Cheryl is now aware of what has happened to her. Obviously, she is completely distraught and will never be the same person she was before that happened to her. She immediately decides she wants to press charges, and has plans to go through with this. Cheryl tells the police what happened, and before we know it, the cops show up at Nick’s hotel room and tell him that he has to go to the police station for questioning. As this is going on, Cheryl’s mother is talking to another family who is close with Nick’s family and states the following: “Who knows what Cheryl did to the St. Clair boy to provoke him.” Even though Cheryl’s mother has been told that Cheryl did nothing, she did not believe her, and blamed this incident on her daughter. Unfortunately, this is what happens in many cases, and it is why people are afraid to come forward when they are drugged and sexually assaulted. In the end, Cheryl never presses charges, as her mother wants the situation to be dealt with discreetly. This situation is something that is going to change Cheryl forever. She will never feel comfortable or safe in a public venue again, she will be afraid to interact with those of the opposite gender, and she will never forgive herself for what happened, even though it wasn’t her fault.

Yes, this is a TV show. But, this is a serious issue that happens more than people know, especially since the majority of people decide to keep these issues to themselves and not share them with the police. I applaud the directors and cast of Riverdale for being able to portray such an important topic, as it is important for people to know that it is not okay to drug or sexually assault someone, it is not okay to do anything without consent. They also show that if this is the case, it is okay to come forward, give your statement to the police, and to start your road to recovery. Being roofied and sexually assaulted happens way too often, and it is time for society to collectively make a change about this and help raise awareness, thus ensuring the safety of both women and men.


This is an issue that impacts both men and women. Some of the time, women are the ones being sexually assaulted, but it also happens to men. It happens to all genders, and none of them should be ashamed to come forward about what has happened. There are many different resources available to help people get through these hard times, and to help them on their road to recovery. A quick Google search will help you find resources in your area to help you get through whatever situation you are faced with, as well as online resources, if you are not able to talk about it with anyone yet. This will hopefully allow you to continue living the best life possible, and in the future, be able to help others who may have encountered the same situation.



Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University
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