I did not expect all of the emotions in this week's episode of La Bachelor. I was going back and forth between Destiny Child's "Emotion" and Mariah Carey's "Emotions," that's how many emotions I found myself swimming in. This series isn't exactly known for its, uh, depth, nuance, or respectful depiction of traumatic events. But man, I will admit: I cried watching Caelynn tell Colton about her sexual assault in college.
I cried for multiple reasons—I cried because her story was horrific; because I was so proud of the admission she made to a man she just started dating; because it took me years to process my own personal sexual assault; because an expulsion isn't enough of a punishment; because it's about damn time we show these conversations happening on television. We need women to talk about their sexual assaults because we need people to recognize that it has many shapes and forms.
But the trauma and impact it has is world-changing, and affects people so differently. It is so easy to get caught up in the darkness that surrounds you when something like that happens, and Caelynn showed exceptional strength in sharing her story. She deserves a round of applause and a medal.
Twitter was also pretty thrilled with ABC and The Bachelor's handling of the whole thing, too.
Loooooook think whatever you want about Caelynn, but props to sharing this for others. Also @BachelorABC props for putting this on prime time so we can normalize these conversations.January 29, 2019
I applaud Caelynn for using this platform to share her experience of sexual assault. To often the school would turn a blind eye to protect their athletes and exempt them from decency and respect for people period. #TheBachelorJanuary 29, 2019
Oh, Caelynn. The hearts of #BachelorNation break for you. Sending you strength and love. Your bravery is astounding. #TheBachelorJanuary 29, 2019
I had a very similar situation happen to me my freshman year too and the lengths at which the school, his friends, and the Greek community went about to protect him and not me was devastating. I cannot reiterate enough how important #titleix is. #TheBachelorJanuary 29, 2019
"It's the most difficult thing in the world," Caelynn told Colton during their conversation. "It's affected every single person in my life. It's so painful."
Really, it's surprising that The Bachelor was progressive and daring enough to share a conversation of this caliber on its show. After the Corinne and DeMario fiasco of 2017 that almost killed Bachelor in Paradise, it did feel like ABC was backing far away from having The Hard Conversations in favor of light-hearted verging on empty content. But you know what? This is the most realistic thing The Bachelor could have shown on any date, because these are conversations that need to be shared.
If tonight's episode was triggering for you, I understand. It was difficult to watch, and I know it was likely to bring up experiences for people they may or may not have been prepared for. (ABC, this episode probably should have come with a trigger warning.) My heart is with you. Listen to your body and trust your reactions. Practice self-care. I don't blame you if you choose to skip this episode, or fast-forward through Caelynn's date. RAINN is always there as a resource for survivors and their loved ones, the hotline number is 800.656.HOPE.
Take care of yourself. I'll see you next week.
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Amanda Mitchell is a writer and podcaster with bylines at Marie Claire, OprahMag, Allure, Byrdie, Stylecaster, Bon Appetit, and more. Her work exists at the apex of beauty, pop culture, and absurdity. A human Funfetti cake, she watches too much television, and her favorite season is awards season. You can read more of her work at amandaelizabethmitchell.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @lochnessmanda.
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