The Most Important Episode of “A Different World” – Date Rape Epsiode

Netflix earned major cool points this month by adding “A Different World” to their list. Like many black 20-30somethings, I grew up watching reruns of “A Different World”, so to have the show available at my disposal is everything. There has been no show out like “A Different World” since it aired. The cool thing about watching the show as an adult is that I see a lot of my own issues reflected on screen. I’ve had some of the same conversations with friends, same dating experiences, and the same feeling of not wanting to disappoint my parents. Last night while binge watching, one of the most impactful episode I have ever watched came on. During the second season on the episode titled “No Means No”, “A Different World” tackled date rape, a subject that many sitcoms shy away from. While watching the episode I started to make mental notes on how I can use this epsiode during presentations. Any sexual assault educator or expert will tell you that the show hit major myths and facts surrounding date rape. The only thing that was not included was the use of alcohol and other drugs.  What the show managed to get is:

  • the perpetrator doesn’t have to be a creepy guy in the bushes
  • women often don’t report because they feel like they are to blame,
  • if someone says no, they mean no
  • date rape can be hard to prove and many times rapists spend little to no jail time
  • the best thing a person can do for a survivor is be a supportive friend
  • just because a person gives permission to kiss, they are not giving permission to have sex
  • consent can ALWAYS be taken away, and it doesn’t make a girl a tease

People often believe that there is a certain kind of physical profile that all rapists fit. Actually, most rapists are seemingly normal and most times they are people that we know. In the episode, Freddy started dating a baseball star named Garth. He was kind, popular, funny, and seemed to really be into Freddy. After a conversation he had with Dwayne, it was revealed that he was not as kind as he appeared to be. My favorite part of the episode is the conversation between Walter and Dwayne. This scene was so powerful because it addressed rape from a prevention perspective, not a “how to not get raped perspective”. The only way to stop rape is by more people learning about rape and choosing to respect others. As a survivor, educator, and advocate, I appreciate “A Different World” for this episode. For women, rape is most prevalent between the ages 16-24. That means that college age women are most at risk for sexual assault. I hope that while young men and women are binge watching on Netflix, they take the time to digest and understand the magnitude of this episode. 1-7bfdc20828cf07f19017e616233be058 2-ee74ac28694886d74546c238466ad59d3-0475c36779351f5ef0364f4368d409984-7e7d51077a3e48a64d27d1523bbc09dd5-a9c4a8c327d941bc3e276027ecad01d06-743dea665418b093339ecde9b719ae697-f90931df7a2bd692a023ce433d6fb4a98-ccc7fb8e5a47512b9907ce498910ee789-fa4e145ac3339f8d68a1d20e493f966610-9c8b6c8c88664af5038bbb5d17b4a3ff

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