WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
It was a season that presented some of the most nuanced character development ever seen on modern TV.
Nestled among the shocking murder of Poussey and the slow-moving train wreck of Nicky’s return to drug use in season four of Orange is the New Black was the follow-on story of inmate Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett and prison guard Charlie Coates.
Raped by Coates, her prison guard turned boyfriend in season three, Doggett returned to our screens to grapple with something that most of us can only consider in our worst nightmares, and then figure out how she was going to make it through to the other side.
And the show’s telling exploration of this was powerfully on point.
Here’s why. Listen to Rosie Waterland, Laura Brodnik and Katy Hall discuss this heartbreaking scene on The Binge:
Sometimes there is the presumption that rape is only committed by evil men lurking in alleyways late at night, but when we actually look at the facts and figures we know it’s not.
Statistic after statistic tells us that.
So what does happen when you’re raped by someone you’re in a relationship with?
What happens when the person attacking you is someone that you feel you love?
What happens when you’ve been raped so many times that you don’t fight back anymore?
On top of that, what happens when the rapist themselves doesn’t understand that their actions even constituted as rape?
Source: Orange is the New Black / Netflix.
Beginning with her backstory episode in season three it became evident that, like many women, Doggett's understanding of consensual sex - and more specifically sex within relationships - was distorted from an early age.
Speaking to her mother about her period when she is just 10, the future Litchfield Penitentiary inmate was told, "boys are going to be looking at you different…just let them do their business with you. Hopefully, they will be quick like your daddy.”
A montage followed, detailing years of Tiffany's life of trading sex for beer and other nondescript items, it then became apparent that Doggett has only ever experienced one loving, consensual relationship in her life.