Degrassi: The Next Generation is a television show that deals with the issues that teenagers face on a daily basis and portrays these issues to help teenagers understand that they are not alone. The show includes issues of; eating disorders, rape, bullying, depression, suicide, and self insecurities. The show is still on air, but its’ first season began in 2001, and was one of the first serious teenage dramas that really exuded the seriousness of the issues that are present in middle and high schools. I began watching this show at a young age and looking back on it now, it really shaped my understanding of school and the people around me. In one episode, a girl was raped at a party after she was drinking for awhile. The episode showed what had happened when she was raped, as well as the affects it had on her for the remainder of the season. A lot of what I saw in that episode is a lot of what we have discussed in class. Paige (the character that was raped) needed a lot of the resources that we have on campus, here at Vanderbilt. ProjectSafe would have been a perfect place for her to go to, because she had a hard time with coping what had happened to her, and throughout the season she had flashbacks of her perpetrator. Comparing what had happened to her in that episode and knowing now how frequent sexual assault occurs, makes a show like this even more important. It truly shows what happens in a teenager’s life.
In class, we discussed how 80-90% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by an acquaintance, and most sexual assaults are perpetrated by repeat-offenders. Knowing this information is crucial in the safety of women on campuses, whether it’s in college, high school, or middle school. Having more shows like Degrassi, helps exemplify the importance of knowing about sexual violence, and even more important to have resources to help deal with this violence. What do you think? Do you think there should be more shows that portray the reality of sexual violence and college life? Or do you think it is inappropriate for viewers?