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Anatomy Of A Scandal Is All About A Powerful Person’s Disregard For Women’s Consent During Sex

Anatomy of a Scandal presents to us the brutal reality of this world where power empowers men like James Whitehouse to get away with anything they do.

Trigger Warning: This deals with rape, breach of consent, and violence against women, and may be triggering for survivors.

Every individual has physical desires and it’s not a crime, but sometimes a person may become becomes desperate to satiate these desires. However we should always remember that sex should be consensual, and we can never force our whims on our partners even if they are unwilling.

Sex without consent is equivalent to rape as declared by the courts of law, and yet we find stories of survivors everyday, even in the 21st century.

Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix

Anatomy of a Scandal, a web series on Netflix, revolves around a British MP James Whitehouse who is accused of raping his aide Olivia Lytton, with whom he was also having an extra marital affair.

Power plays a pivotal role in helping the guilty shrug off the burden of their crime, and James Whitehouse being a renowned politician who shares a close relationship with the Prime Minister, is shown to wield his power to escape the consequences of his actions. He wears the mask of innocence and an ‘ideal man’ who would never apply brute force upon a woman to fulfill his lust, in the first episodes. The further episodes of the series unfurls a different side of James Whitehouse, a licentious libertine who doesn’t hesitate to tell a lie in order to maintain his reputation.

The issue of consent is raised up vehemently by James’s prosecutor Kate Woodcroft in the trial scenes bearing echoes of Aniruddha Roy Chaudhary’s Pink. While the victim Olivia Lytton narrates her part of the story, we find that she urged James many times to stop by saying “not here” that Kate Woodcroft uses repeatedly to emphasize that “not here” means NO. Reminding us of Deepak Sehgal’s statement, “No means no” from Pink.

Nothing’s ‘just sex’; there’s more!

James and Olivia were engaged in an affair for five months, as a result of which they had indulged in sexual intercourse multiple times in public places including their office (House of Commons), but that doesn’t entitle James to have sex with Olivia when she is unwilling. Yet we see James coercing Olivia by using foul language such as, “Don’t be such a prick tease” and going on to rape her when she is saying no.

Anatomy of a Scandal exposes the brutish nature of James oscillating between the flashbacks of his University days when he was the member of a libertine club, and his present days of scandal where he wears the facade of victim (when he is the one accused) underneath which lurks the dark deeds of his past, a proof of his toxic masculinity.

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The scandal in the series gets more intense when we learn that Kate Woodcroft has actually feigned her identity and her real name is Holly Berry who was a friend and tutorial partner of Sophie, James’ wife, in the University of Oxford, and whom James had assaulted one night. Devastated by this assault, she reinvented herself in order to indirectly sue James being his prosecutor in a case that revolves around the sexual assault of his employee, the same assault of which she was a victim, and the assault that brought a drastic change in her life.

Eventually we see James getting away with his crime backed up his influential friends like the Prime Minister himself, which is indeed disheartening. However what gives us solace is transformation of Sophie, James’ wife, who decides to leave her husband  even when he is proven innocent in the eyes of law as the epiphanies of her husband’s past and present deeds when divulged to her somehow made her realize that he is guilty of sexual assault and rape.

Brutal reality of the world

Anatomy of a Scandal presents to us the brutal reality of this world where the victims like Olivia Lytton and Holly Berry don’t always get the justice they deserve, and power empowers men like James Whitehouse to get away with anything they do.

Throughout the six episodes in many scenes we see James teaching his children that being a Whitehouse means being always on top, and that’s one of the reasons why Sophie left taking her kids away from him so that they don’t turn into privileged monster like their father.

The whole scandal in the series Anatomy of a Scandal results because of unconsensual sex between a politician James and his aide Olivia Lytton. Initially though the politician and his counsel convinces the jury of his innocence, we witness in the end his wife Sophie reuniting with her classmate Holly aka Kate, becoming the harbinger of justice, indirectly unveiling the unscrupulous acts of her husband so that he is subjected to his deserved punishment, and Holly can finally fulfill her mission.

This incident makes Anatomy of a Scandal yet another series, that gives prime importance to female consent during sexual intercourse and throws light on burning issues like sexual assault of women in their workplace, and the ordeal they have to undergo as Olivia Lytton had undergone, if they raise their voice against it.

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About the Author

Srilekha Mitra

A full time overthinker and a part time writer. Words are my antidote on bad days. I prefer to bask in fictional world of cinema than reality. Food and music are my refuge on gloomy read more...

10 Posts | 8,626 Views

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