October 19, 2020

‘I May Destroy You’ is a defining moment for on-screen portrayals of consent and sexual violence

By Rachel Thompson

'I May Destroy You' is a defining moment for on-screen portrayals of consent and sexual violence

Content warning: This review contains discussion of rape and sexual violence.

You won’t be able to shake I May Destroy You from your thoughts. After watching, you’ll close your laptop, or turn off your television, but I guarantee you this: it will stay with you. Created by Chewing Gum writer Michaela Coel, this new 12-part BBC One/HBO drama tackles the intersection of sexual assault, consent, and race in a radical way that is rarely, if ever, seen on screen.

Episode 1 begins with Arabella (Coel), a young millennial writer living in London, pulling an all-nighter in a last minute attempt to finish the book she’s been writing. When she takes a break to meet up with friends (setting a one-hour alarm for herself), the night changes course. The following day, she has no recollection of how she got back to her desk, or how her phone screen got smashed, or why there’s blood pouring from a gash on her forehead. Arabella is disorientated, confused, and grappling with a disturbing flashback of someone being raped. That someone, she later realises, was her. …

More about Rape, Sexual Violence, Michaela Coel, Entertainment, and Sex Relationships

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