EastEnders‘ sexual consent storyline has seen Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) struggle to admit she was raped and report her attackers after passing out drunk and waking up in bed with someone she met at a night club, but now she is the one being accused of the same crime as an ex-boyfriend has told the police he felt forced into sleeping with her.
Picking up from her public arrest in the previous episode, on Tuesday 26 February Ruby contacted Blake Turner, a former colleague, and arranged to meet him in order to get to the bottom of his shock allegation of sexual assault.
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As a nervous Blake arrived at the park cafe rendezvous, Ruby assumed one of her attackers, Matt Clarkson and Ross Swinden, was behind this as a way of discrediting her story ahead of the upcoming trial. But Ms Allen was aghast when Blake revealed he knew nothing about her own case and explained he had come forward because she made unwanted physical advances on him at an office party when they worked together, and he felt compelled to have sex with her to keep his job.
Incredulous Ruby denied that’s how the hook-up happened and pointed out the pair even dated briefly after spending the night together, but Blake went on to confess he felt that if he didn’t see it through he would get the sack – which he eventually did after the brief romance fizzled out.
How will this affect Ruby’s rape case against Matt and Ross?
Defending her position that firing him had nothing to do with their personal relationship and this was an act of revenge, Blake insisted Ruby had an agenda all along and that he felt he had to go along with her advances and make himself sleep with her.
Seeing how upset he was and the obvious psychological effect it had, mortified Ruby apologised to Blake and was stunned she was now being treated in the same way as her attackers, then told him he had to do what he thought was right and that she would leave him alone.
Blake abruptly left leaving Ruby shaken to the core as she processed his take on their past – was he really telling the truth that Matt and Ross had nothing to do with this, and he’s not being called as a witness against her? Is this an elaborate way to get her to drop the allegations? Or was it simply a case of seeing the same situation in a different way?
The show has not shied away from exploring the complexities surrounding the topic of consent since launching the plot late last year, and this latest development certainly gives Ruby – and the viewers – more food for thought. But what will the lasting impact be of Blake’s claim if Ruby herself ends up charged with the crime she herself has been a victim of?
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