Actress Louisa Lytton feels “grateful” to be trusted with the EastEnders rape storyline which is supporting victims of sexual assault.
She returned to the soap specifically to do justice to the storyline surrounding her character of Ruby Allen, who revealed she had been sexually assaulted on a night out.
Lytton says the storyline has provoked an immediate reaction from fans, with some telling her the on-screen tackling of consent clarified their own traumatic experiences.
Speaking on Lorraine, she revealed she felt a deep responsibility to support and educate viewers.
She said: “I was so grateful to be trusted with such an important storyline.
“We’re telling one story. But we have a responsibility to do this justice because there will be millions of viewers watching who will need this as support or confirmation.”
Rape Crisis England and Wales was consulted on the storyline to accurately portray the traumatic events following a sexual assault.
Lytton revealed she had a rapid reaction to her portrayal of a sexual assault victim.
She said: “I was quite surprised, I have had lots of people messaging me directly on social media saying: ‘this is closure I have needed for so long, this happened to me 11 years ago and I didn’t know if it was rape or not. This episode has confirmed that in fact it was’.
“And I was surprised myself actually at just how quickly that reaction has happened. And that’s the whole point of this storyline, to open the conversation for men and women, and hopefully educate.”
Katie Russell, from Rape Crisis, who worked with the soap on the storyline, said: “We really welcome drama, especially ones as popular as EastEnders, that reach so many people and such a diverse audience, tackling topics like this.
“It’ll be evident as the story unfolds that we still have a lot of public education and awareness raising to do when it comes to the issue of consent.”