'Glee' Recap: Child Molestation Shocker Was Treated With Class

TV Addict 8

Glee Lights OutLeave it to Glee to manage to throw a seriously twisted twist into the middle of an episode about preparing for regionals. Tonight the lights went out at McKinley High School, and people opened up ... big time. Not one but two Glee characters confessed they've been molested.

The show has covered some major teen topics over the years -- from suicide to alcohol -- but it's the first time they've broached child molestation.

To their credit, the writers did right by the topic.

We've watched Ryder struggle with the fact that his new online confidant might be a fellow choir member who is Catfishing him, but tonight we found out why he's let himself be reeled in. Thanks to the anonymity provided by a computer screen, the newest New Direction was able to talk about being molested by his babysitter wen he was younger. But tonight decided to say the words out loud for the first time to his fellow choir members in part because he was afraid his Catfisher might spill the beans.

The power of the Glee treatment came from the response from the guys in the choir room. 

The New Directions guys scoffed at Ryder's embarrassment and called being violated by an older woman a real coup for a young stud.

And it turns out something similar happened to Kitty, who confessed to Ryder during a private dinner at Breadsticks that she too was abused -- this time by a friend's older brother at a sleepover. Kitty's trust was then violated by her own parents, who seemed intent on believing that the perpetrator was a "good boy" who just couldn't have done what she'd said. The bullying that came after her story spread around school forced Kitty to change schools, sending her to McKinley.

Both teens stories were pretty sad ... and pretty typical of the high school experience.

At first I was a little put off by how quickly the show jumped from these serious confessions back to the more superficial work Kurt, Rachel, and Santana were doing for the New York City Ballet's fundraiser or the Glee club perfecting its version of Queen's We Will Rock You.

But the more I think about it, the more apropos it was. This is what happens to real kids in real life. They say someone is sexually assaulted in some way every 2 minutes, but we probably will never know how often it happens to kids especially because they are blown off so often, they are treated as if they were somehow responsible or as if they should have enjoyed it. And if they aren't receiving that treatment, they're fearing that they will ... fearing it so much that they don't speak up.

Bravo to Glee for their treatment of this tough topic, especially for pairing up with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) to give kids a place to turn if the episode hit home.

But I have to say I'm hoping for something a little lighter next week ... and they'd better follow through on the promise of some Klaine drama that we saw in the teaser!

What did you think of tonight's powerful episode? Did it ring true for you?


Image via Fox



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Liane... Lianetherider

"The New Directions guys scoffed at Ryder's embarrassment and called being violated by an older woman a real coup for a young stud."

You think that the writers "did right" when they wrote this response? Are you kidding me?! I haven't watched the episode yet, but any victim of rape or abuse, male or female, deserves empathy and support, not dismissive teasing. Just because it was a woman that molested Ryder DOES NOT make it a "coup," it makes it child abuse, and it is just as serious as Kitty's case.

You, and the writers of Glee, really missed the mark on this one.

Amber Dawn Gardner

I do not agree with the other person I think you did good because in real life that is what most young men would have said to a guy friend that was molested by a babysitter. I think on this show they hit the mark 100% of the time. It is just hard for some to except the reality of things that do actually happen this way. But I have never missed an episode and I love this show because it is realistic on most subject matter and not everyone on the show is a babe or skinny or perfect witch I love. And I hope they keep Ryder he is a great addition to the show. And btw the SHOOTING STAR episode made me cry and hold my breath through most of the episode and I love it when I am drawn in like that. So big thumbs up guys. Brittany's crying scene really got me it was a great to see Brittany get so serious, and hearing her tears drop in the toilet was a good move it really captured the moment.

Danielle Spence-Tidd

I agree with Amber. I haven't seen the episode yet, but what Lianetherider apparently fails to realize is that a fair amount of time when a victim admits to having been molested, raped &/or beaten, the victim isn't immediately surrounded in acceptance and sympathy. Our greatest fears in finally sharing what we've experienced are that we'll be accused of lying, it will be ignored/belittled/written off, &/or we'll be blamed for it happening to us.

My dad's mom first said I was lying and then told me I had been asking for it. She told me this in front of my dad, who still has never admitted to molesting me for YEARS, and his wife. If his wife had taken me seriously then perhaps my youngest half-sister / her daughter wouldn't have also been molested by our father. Come to find out that he also molested my aunt while I was a baby. Who knows how many more kids he molested. Everyone, including those who we went to church with, had him pegged as the "best dad ever".

Liane... Lianetherider

The fact that it isn't taken seriously is why it NEEDS to be portrayed on shows like "Glee" as not being something to be ashamed of, and it shouldn't be pushed under the rug like Ryder's confession was. By having the other males dismiss what happened to him and his very legitimate feelings of shame, it contributes to the rape culture/victim blaming or shaming that are so prevalent in this country. The only way it will change is if people (including popular shows like "Glee"!) start changing their reactions and attitudes. Everything in the real world isn't sunshine and rainbows, but acceptance and respect have to start somewhere. "Glee" has been very good about that with issues like bullying, homophobia, and suicide, so why not child abuse and molestation? That's my whole point. It should've been handled differently.

nonmember avatar 3fold

I agree with Liane. The teacher was in the room and a few of the girls in the club objected, but the scene ended with the survivor not standing up for himself and viewers easily could have gotten the impression that it is a mistake to reach out for help. Although it may be "realistic," it could have easily been written in a way that showed how to respond properly to the boys who don't know better than to perpetuate rape culture.

Ashley Powell

I was very disappointed with Glee after watching this episode. When Ryder told the glee club that he had been molested, I was excited because I thought it was great that they were bringing to light sexual abuse. Better yet, sexual abuse against males is harder to get people to talk about because most see it the way Sam or Artie do so I had hoped this would be a way to show men that it happens and that it's okay to talk about it. I was severely disappointed when Sam and Artie responded by saying Ryder was "lucky". That's a typical response, so I shrugged it off. But it made me very angry that they never brought up the seriousness of that situation. They never discussed how to handle it or how to get help or even how what Ryder went through WAS sexual abuse and that he has a right to feel violated. I am just disappointed and angry overall with the writers of Glee. Not only did they push aside a VERY serious issue (which is a common reaction, unfortunately), but they had the chance to change lives for the better, and failed.

nonmember avatar Jessica

Initially I would agree that it is too bad that the issue was brushed aside, but according to RAINNs website they had their highest number of hotline calls ever for the month that this episode was broadcasted. Lots of real teenagers took the first step in recovery which they might never have done. I think overall it was a great thing! :)

Brandy Foy

i think the point of them brushing it off in the episode was to make the viewers cringe by seeing something like that made light. It's the way it happens a lot in real life, but to see it actually played out I think will bother people who may have had the "lucky" mindset before and make them think about what that person has actuallybeen through.

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