Shonda Rhimes Fought for the Rape Kit Scene in the Sexual Assault Episode of 'Grey's Anatomy'

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Grey's Anatomy via ABC

"Respectfully, I decline these notes."

Why Shonda Rhimes Fought for the 'Grey's Anatomy' Episode About Sexual Assault

You can say what you want about Shonda Rhimes. But you can't call her a coward. On Thursday night's episode of Grey's Anatomy, entitled "Silent All These Years," the medical drama aired a storyline about sexual assault, even featuring a scene that illustrates how rape kits are administered in a hospital.

Prior to the Mar. 28 episode of Grey's Anatomy, showrunner Krista Vernoff called the episode the "most powerful hour of TV" she had ever been part of. Vernoff also revealed that the episode was inspired by Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Sept. 2018.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Vernoff also revealed that the Grey's team received some pushback from the ABC Standards and Practices department in regards to the rape kit scene. However, Grey's Anatomy creator, Shonda Rhimes, declined the notes.

In the interview, Vernoff shared a few details in regards to the notes given to the Grey's team.

"We received notes initially from ABC's Broadcast Standards and Practices," Vernoff revealed. "They give these standard notes: 'don't be too gory'; 'don't be too explicit in your language'; 'no side boob.' But the ones we got on this script included, 'Please don't show any fluid on the Q-tips' and 'Please don't show any body fluids under the blue lights.'"

However, Rhimes did not take the notes. Instead, she fought back for what she thought Grey's deserved.

"Shonda wrote back a pretty passionate response of the myriad ways that networks are willing to show actual violence but that what we were doing here was the medical process that happens in the wake of violence and they were trying to tell us we couldn't show it," Vernoff said.

"[Rhimes] said, 'Respectfully, I decline these notes.' Ultimately, ABC understood that she was right," Vernoff continued. "I really give them credit that they came back and said, 'You're right. You can proceed as scripted.' We then extended the invitation to that ABC Broadcast S&P executive to be part of the wall of women, and she came."

While the topic of rape and sexual assault can be difficult to talk about, we're happy that the Grey's team fought for this story and for its right to be told as it was intended.

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