‘Private Practice’ returned Thursday after a holiday break. Flint area ‘Private Practice’ fans I spoke with this weekend were happy the show is back. Charlotte (KaDee Strickland) has slowly been trying to make her way back emotionally and physically to Cooper (Paul Adelstein) following the rape. This episode found the two of them trying to be physically intimate again. It also found Addison (Kate Walsh) trying to win the approval of her mother, by saving her mother’s dying partner from cancer.
Cooper brings Charlotte’s favorite fried chicken to her office to suggest that they need to at least talk about having sex again, and maybe they could do it eating something she really enjoys. Or, maybe they could just eat fried chicken together. Charlotte appreciates the gesture and suggests that they try that night. However, once things get started, Charlotte starts to cry, apologizes to Cooper and they stop. Charlotte is very frustrated and confides in Naomi. She says, ‘What that man did to me was not sex so this shouldn’t be a problem. I am good at sex. So why am I crying when Cooper touches me?’
Naomi reminds her that she was raped. She tries to encourage her saying, ‘It’s not forever, the way that you’re feeling now and sooner than you think, you’re going to feel strong again. Not guilty. Not vulnerable. But strong.’
Charlotte emphasizes that sex is the way that her and Cooper love and she wants to get it back. Naomi says, ‘Love, intimacy and pleasure—no one can take those things away from you. No one, no matter what they’ve done to you. Nothing can come between you and Cooper except you.’
RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) recognizes that it takes a rape survivor time to heal. Some of the things RAINN advises a victim’s friends and family members:
- Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
- Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
- Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual assault are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
When Charlotte tries to initiate sex again, Cooper resists and says ‘I’m sorry. I can’t.’ Charlotte suggests a third time and Cooper goes to get fried chicken for them to eat in bed, as a compromise. The fact that they are trying and respecting each other’s hesitations is at least a positive step.
Also, Addison’s mother Bizzy (JoBeth Williams) demands that she save her dying partner Susan’s (Ann Cusack) life. At first, Addison says the cancer is spread too far for anything to be done. Bizzy gets very aggressive, even at one point slapping her and saying, ‘I’d expected my daughter to be more than a passing spectator to the death of someone I love.’
Sam (Taye Diggs) reasons with Addison, making sure she is not trying harder out of hatred toward her mother for never being a mother. Addison figures out a way to save Susan with a new surgical protocol and is stunned when Bizzy doesn’t even thank her. Naomi reminds her not to let Bizzy’s coldness destroy a celebration over the fact she did an amazing thing in saving Susan’s life. She also tells her if she needs something from Bizzy, she’s going to have to ask for it. So Addison tries to tell her mother how she feels, but Bizzy stops her and announces that she has divorced Addison’s father and she and Susan are getting married.
Shonda Rhimes is a master at weaving intricate and intense family stories. Shonda Rhimes, KaDee Strickland, and Paul Adelstein continue to tell Charlotte’s post-rape story in a very real way; that acknowledges both a victim and their loved one’s feelings, as well as offers them hope for healing.
You can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. Click here to find a RAINN-Partner Crisis Center in the Flint area.
‘Private Practice’ airs in Flint on WJRT TV ABC12 Thursdays at 10 PM EST.