Warning: This article contains the discussion of issues relating to rape and domestic violence.

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Linda Carter will be dealt a horrifying shock on EastEnders next week.

The pub landlady is currently the only adult Carter remaining in the Queen Vic following the disappearance of her beloved Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) at Christmas and the subsequent departure of former mother-in-law Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) in the aftermath.

Shirley went to go stay with her daughter Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley) and her family after the drama of the Christmas season.

Next week, Linda (Kellie Bright) is shocked to the core when Carly sends her a photo of Shirley and beside her is Shirley's younger son and Linda's rapist, Dean Wicks (Matt DiAngelo).

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After seeing the photo, Linda retreats into the back of the Vic and breaks down, being spotted by a concerned Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) who proceeds to comfort her.

Fans will recall that back in 2014, Dean became obsessed with Linda and later raped her in the Queen Vic's kitchen.

Linda kept her ordeal a secret until Christmas Day when Mick learned what Dean had done before Shirley revealed the secret that Mick was also her son and not her brother, making Dean his brother. It later emerged that they shared a biological father in Buster Briggs (Karl Howman).

After the truth was revealed about the rape, Dean denied what he had done and claimed it was a consensual sexual encounter, while Linda reported the rape to the police.

Eventually, Dean was released due to a lack of evidence and Shirley stood by him and believed him over Linda.

Kellie Bright as Linda Carter in EastEnders.
Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) is horrified to see a photo of Shirley with Dean. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Remaining on the Square for a time, Dean pursued a romance with Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) which culminated in him abusing her and attempting to rape her until Shirley stopped him. Roxy reported Dean to the police.

An anguished Shirley tried to drown Dean but he struck her and got away before returning on Mick and Linda's wedding day to kill Shirley until he was stopped by Mick and then arrested.

Despite Shirley threatening to disown him if he pled not guilty at his hearing, Dean denied his crimes and his parents cut off contact. He was later found not guilty and was released from prison, being paid by Buster to stay away.

So, has Shirley's grief over losing Mick and previously losing her sister Tina driven her back into Dean's orbit? Also, why would Carly send Linda that photo? So many questions!

Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale in EastEnders.
Linda (Kellie Bright) is comforted by fellow rape survivor Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) in emotional scenes. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

As Kathy comforts Linda about the photo, the pair bond over their shared experiences.

Long-time fans will also be aware that Kathy herself has twice been the victim of rape. As a teenager she was sexually abused by a teacher named Marcus Duffy and later gave birth to her daughter Donna Ludlow (Matilda Ziegler) as a result of the encounter, later placing the child up for adoption.

As an adult, Kathy was raped by her boss James Willmott-Brown (William Boyde) upstairs in his wine bar, The Dagmar. The villain was later jailed for his crimes and returned to the Square on multiple occasions to reconnect with Kathy, receiving rejection each time.

It remains to be seen what other drama lies in store for Linda and Kathy as the pair are two of six ladies who are drawn into the dramatic events of the soap's anniversary week where "everything changes".

The pair will join other ladies - Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner), Suki Kaur Panesar (Balvinder Sopal), Denise Fox (Diane Parish), and Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) - for a lock-in at the Queen Vic and something happens next that the soap has "not done before".

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can visit Refuge for more information and contact 0808 2000 247 for support. Help can also be found at The Hideout and Rape Crisis.

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