The world continues to be a very scary place. And, frankly, that’s putting it mildly. In the last week alone, the dizzying array of headlines have made me sad and seethe with rage — all at the same time! Maybe that’s why I love the timing of my newest op-ed for CNN Opinion about the 20th season of Law & Order: SVU and the enduring legacy of Olivia Benson.
I’ve mentioned before just how much I love SVU: I’ve watched all 19 seasons, all 400+ episodes. Through it all, I fell in love with the character of Olivia Benson. She’s such a strong, powerful force and always an advocate for survivors. She’s the role model we need right now. The one to stand up and give a voice to people who deserve to be heard — and, more importantly, deserve to be BELIEVED.
I feel no shame when I now routinely ask myself: What would Olivia Benson do??
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I examine how Olivia’s compassionate work with sexual assault survivors feels especially poignant right now, considering the cultural and political landscape…
SVU has always sought to pull back the curtain and present a full picture of sexual assault, with careful attention given to the victims’ journey. It’s gritty and uncomfortable at times, but its power lies in its unflinching honesty…I can’t help but think Olivia Benson is the female role model we need in 2018. Especially in the era of #MeToo and violence against women, a TV show like SVU has never been more relevant — or more needed. What’s happening every week on SVU is also happening across the country.
It’s not often that a character on TV so accurately reflects the cultural landscape of the times. Through the fictional world of Olivia Benson, the show is able to tap into something very real and be an advocate for survivors of sexual assault. In our culture of “escapist TV,” real can be quite rare.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo
P.S. I’m signing off early this week and taking a four-day weekend!! I look forward to seeing you all back here next Tuesday…cheers to a relaxing weekend, friends!!!