How Netflix’s Newest Series "Grand Army" Demonstrates the Devastating Effects And Harsh Realities Of Rape Culture
Start writing a post

How Netflix’s Newest Series "Grand Army" Demonstrates the Devastating Effects And Harsh Realities Of Rape Culture

And why we need to start believing survivors, especially if no one else does

How Netflix’s Newest Series "Grand Army" Demonstrates the Devastating Effects And Harsh Realities Of Rape Culture

TRIGGER WARNING: This article talks about sexual assault and rape and may be triggering for some readers

The new and controversial Netflix series, Grand Army, tells the stories of five high schoolers each going through various struggles of finding their identity and worth in the world. This is in no way an endorsement for the show, as there's an uprise of backlash against the show's writer prior to the release. However, looking past the backlash and controversy, the show still does an astounding job covering what it's like being a student of color having to balance home life and being a successful student, trying to fit in somewhere, intersectionality, coming to terms with sexuality, truths behind the "hustle," and rape.

I seldom cry over TV shows. Sure, I've cried over When They See Us and The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. Yet, for some reason, Grand Army made me feel things I haven't felt with the two other shows. I later realized I could only sympathize for the situations of the Harlem Five and Gabriel Fernandez. I'm not a black man, I didn't serve time for a crime I didn't commit, and I'm not a victim of domestic abuse. However, I could empathize with Joey Del Marco in Grand Army, one of the main characters in the show, because I am a young girl, and a victim of sexual assault. Odessa A'zion's portrayal of a rape survivor was truly breathtaking and almost real. Everything from denial, the loss of confidence, the rise in anxiety, the change in outfit, and the unhealthy coping methods. Of course, how a person reacts to being raped varies, yet, somehow, A'zion's performance felt more real than anything I've ever felt when watching a show or movie.


Joey Del Marco is an empowered and outspoken high school Junior whose storyline in the show highlights the mentally damaging effects of being taken advantage of and raped by her best friends. She not only deals with the inevitable post-traumatic stress, but she loses her closest friends, loses her confidence, and falls into unhealthy coping methods (drugs). Plus, she receives extreme backlash from everyone around her when she tried to get justice. Her situation just seems to get worse as the series progresses and more heart-wrenching for the viewers.

Her plot line depicts the sad reality of rape culture in today's society. If rape victims were to even come forward, it's more likely that the perpetrators will walk free only a few days later. About 97% of rapists will walk free conviction, mostly due to lack of convincing evidence. That's exactly what happened to Joey; the rape kit came up inconclusive and all the evidence points to just aggressive sex. She had the courage to come forward about her rape, something many victims couldn't muster, and it doesn't help her in any way. All the videos of her and her friends made her out to be the perpetrator of the activities. Sadly, the evidence of the rape kit wasn't concrete enough and the suspects' stories were superior to the survivor's own telling of the events. I'll say it again: the suspects' words were superior to the survivor's own telling of the events. I hope that you can see the issue.

Even if the evidence isn't from the rape kit or from the perspective of the aggressors, the evidence is there, in plain sight, from her change in behavior. She became insomniac; resorted to drugs; cried herself to sleep; and distracted from everything around her. Not only that, but even in the way she presented herself after everything: she strictly wore hoodies and sweatpants; refrained from doing any of the scandalous dance moves; and became more reserved in everything, contrasting her typical behavior as this eccentric, put-together, and confident young woman. That alone should imply something happened to her, enough to break her confidence. But, no; the emotional effects of a woman's rape experience are not enough for the justice system to serve her properly.

Rape culture is a serious issue in the world today, regardless of where you are. Notice, I used both "victims" and "survivors" in this article because there are people that are sensitive to either terms, and it's important to be considering of that to whoever is reading. Sadly, this show not only emphasizes Joey's post-trauma, but it serves as a reason why so many victims are fearful of coming forward about what happened to them, especially if it was from someone they know well. People of today need proper education of not just rape culture, but also the very harmful aftermath of rape so that victims no longer need to stay silent when they've been truly wronged. As much as I disagree with the happenings of the behind the scenes of this show, it still does a wonderful job of portraying rape culture from a survivor's perspective and doesn't shine any positive light on the suspects at all. We can see how it affects a person and A'zion's character will have these effects prolonging for the rest of her life, unfortunately. So, believe victims, hold suspects accountable, educate yourselves, look out for any changes in behavior. And most importantly, don't rape.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments