This article includes discussion around rape and sexual consent that some readers may find upsetting.

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Aaron Sandford will start realising the seriousness of his assault to Amy Barlow, as he finally experiences guilt in new scenes of Coronation Street.

James Craven, who plays Aaron on the ITV soap, has explained that a new confrontation with Amy will act as an epiphany for his character.

As fans of the show know, the mechanic took advantage of an asleep Amy (Elle Mulvaney) in an earlier episode and raped her, though he insisted the encounter had been consensual. The charges Amy brought against him were dropped as there wasn't enough evidence, leaving the teen bitter over the police's handling of sexual assault cases.

In an upcoming episode, Aaron goes to a party with Amy also in attendance. Seeing her rapist having fun and flirting with girls triggers Amy, who reacts violently when Aaron touches her shoulder. Their public exchange leads their friends to question what really happened that night, with Aadi Alahan (Adam Hussain) unexpectedly siding with Amy.

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"I think he's still obviously trying to push that part of it out of his mind," Craven told press, including RadioTimes.com.

"But everyone saw what happened with Amy at the party, it's quite embarrassing for him and he thinks that if other people are starting to see what she sees in him then they'll really start to believe it and that's obviously very worrying as well."

james craven in coronation street
Aaron flirts with other girls at the party, angering Amy. ITV

The actor continued: "There's definitely a part of him that starts to think back. It's also the guilt at what it's obviously doing to her as well that's really starting to eat him up, because he can see how upset she is about it."

Craven said that Aaron genuinely thinks he's done nothing wrong, and it's been tricky for him playing the storyline.

"It's quite a difficult thing when he's outwardly defending himself and you know that he shouldn't be defending himself," he explained.

"He knows that from an outsider's perspective it might look like he's trying to gaslight Amy and he's trying to manipulate her into thinking that he's done nothing wrong but he really does believe that."

Amy [ELLE MULVANEY] watches Aaron [JAMES CRAVEN] at a party
Seeing Aaron having fun at the party and flirting with girls triggers terrible memories. ITV

Craven's character later feels betrayed when Aadi takes Amy's side, and the two have a heated confrontation in the street.

"He really wants Aadi to be on his side and he does feel a bit betrayed by Aadi's response to him, the fact that he's taken Amy's side so suddenly," the actor said.

But a worrying discovery about Amy puts things in perspective for Aaron. When she collapses after a night of drinking, with Summer Spellman (Harriet Bibby) watching on as the paramedics help her friend, Aaron stars understanding how Amy couldn't have possibly consented to their encounter.

On the street, Aaron [JAMES CRAVEN] squares up to Aadi Alahan [ADAM HUSSAIN] and the pair start to scrap but they stop when they see an ambulance arrive and Summer Spellman [HARRIET BIBBY] explains to the paramedic she found Amy Barlow [ELLE MULVANEY] unconscious.
Aaron lashes out at Aadi before they receive worrying news about Amy. ITV

"I think at that point, the guilt almost becomes too much, because now it's not just really affecting him – he can see how much it's physically affecting Amy," Craven continued.

"I think him knowing that he's responsible for that, and he's done that to his friend, just makes him feel terrible. I think that's a real turning point for him because that's really when he does start to look at himself and does really start to think about that night again."

Grappling with guilt, Aaron will try to patch things up with a clumsy proposition instead of taking real responsibility. He offers to buy Amy a new laptop after she spills coffee on hers, only further enraging her.

Amy lies on the pavement as Summer watches the paramedics help her friend in a scene of Coronation Street
Amy collapses after a night of drinking. ITV

"She thinks he's trying to buy her off I think but it's not like that for him," Craven said of Aaron's actions. "He's trying to heal the rift I think, try and get back in her good books, but again it's not in a way of trying to shut her up or anything like that, it's the guilt about how she's feeling and the fact that he does care about her.

"It's a weird situation because he wants to help her get through it, even though obviously he's the reason that she's in this situation in the first place."

Will Aaron tell the truth about what happened with Amy?

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this article, you can find help and support at Rape Crisis or by calling the charity's 24/7 helpline on 0808 500 2222. Further support can also be found at Victim Support.

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