'Grey's Anatomy' 's Groundbreaking Episode Shows What Happens During a Rape Kit Exam

Thursday's episode, titled "Silent All These Years," is earning praise from fans

Photo: Mitch Haaseth/ABC

Thursday night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy is receiving praise from fans after it showed an extensive, in-depth look at what happens during a rape kit exam.

The episode, titled “Silent All These Years,” focused on a rape survivor named Abby who comes to the hospital with signs of abuse. She’s taken care of by Jo, who administers the kit in what was one of the most extensive, detailed scenes of the process ever shown on television.

After the kit is administered, the women of Grey Sloan Memorial line the hallway of the hospital as Abby is then wheeled into surgery, silently offering their support and solidarity in a powerful moment.

“Making scenes like this is what Shondaland is all about,” Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes tweeted on Friday. “So proud.”

Showrunner Krista Vernoff, director Debbie Allen and writer Elisabeth R. Finch spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the episode, revealing that many of the women lining the hallway in that emotional scene were not members of the cast, but rather real women who wanted to be involved in the groundbreaking episode.

“We started having people come up and ask if they could be in that scene,” Vernoff said. “The women in that hallway are almost all the women on the writing staff. Many of the women are on the crew, or they are assistants at Shondaland, or they are women who work at ABC. I think there were more than 100 women.”

“We had to start dancing in the middle of shooting because it was very heavy,” Allen added. “We didn’t have all day. We had women who were leaving their jobs to come be in the scene. I had a good hour to shoot it. So we lit it and we hit it.”

Grey’s Anatomy. Mitch Haaseth/ABC

On Twitter, Finch said that she titled the episode after a Tori Amos song. “I named this episode ‘Silent All These Years’ bc when my friend was raped in college I didn’t know how to help,” Finch wrote. “But days before I’d gone to a @toriamos concert and took a @RAINN bumper sticker they were handing out. Thank you RAINN and Ms. Amos for helping my friend.”

Fans praised the episode on Twitter after it aired. “‘Silent All These Years’ is one of the most difficult hours of television I’ve ever watched. But it was also one of the most honest and beautiful and necessary hours,” one user wrote, while another said, “This will go down as one of the most powerful scenes in tv history.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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