If you haven’t watched this past Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I suggest you pause, watch it and then come back to this post. *Spoiler alert*
It wasn’t sure what to expect. As a habitual watcher of the show, I wasn’t sure where the story line, specifically of Jo and the search for her biological family was going to go. The previous episode eluded to the fact that she had found her birth mother and was planning on making a visit.
At first I was really anxious to watch this show. I have watch a couple of shows by Shonda Rhimes and I was a little concerned that it may be a unrealistic. However knowing Shonda and following Grey’s Anatomy for years, I should have known better.
As an adoptee, I have played reuniting with my bio family numerous times. I have played the interaction over and over a thousand different ways. Somehow, Shonda portrayed it to where it hit me in all of the feels. Jo was able to express her expectations and her assumptions of the situation her bio mom was in. This is something that I can relate too. I have my own thoughts on the situation that came about that warranted my adoption. Whether this story that I have fabricated is true or not, I have yet to figure out. However during the interaction, you start to notice that Jo was completely wrong about her bio mom. The narrative the she thought was the reality was nothing like the truth. It was it the adoption trauma of being abandon began all over as she learned that her bio mother had actually been sexually assaulted and didn’t work three different diner jobs to support herself.
In fact, Jo’s bio mom had more children, had gotten married and made a life for herself, something that Jo didn’t really think was possible, or something that had happen. Even now after hearing the reunification stories of different KADs (Korean adoptees), I still believe the narrative I have created in my head.
The episode starts out with an emotionally charged scene. If you have followed the show at all, you know that Jo was previously in an extremely abuse husband and was able to get out. However that doesn’t change the trauma that Jo previously endured, or the trauma from moving from foster home to foster home and eventually living in her car because that was safer.
The hallway scene is what got me. Even now just typing about it hits me right in the gut. The woman that Jo ends up helping throughout the episode had been sexually assaulted. This woman had NOT been wearing provocative clothing or had too much to drink. This woman had made up a story that many others have done in her position. They lied to cover up their embarrassment, their shame and the sheer fear that no one would believe them or that her outfit, her drinking or even her words would come into question.
Before the victim or patient gets surgery, she is clinging to Jo’s hand stating that she doesn’t want to close her eyes, that she doesn’t want to see the man’s face that assaulted her. Obviously this patient needs surgery, Jo and Teddy, I am not sure whom, was able to come up with the perfect solution. First you see that Dr. Webber is trying to get through and walk into the hallway. He is stopped by I believe DeLuca stating that he can’t walk through the doors and that for whatever reason, for now he cannot pass. As the patient is walked down the hallway, it is literally filled with women starting on both sides, smiling. In a brief shot you notice that Meredith has joined them and she isn’t sure but obviously comes to join the women in the hallway. Words cannot express how moving this way. It brought me to tears.
I do not claim to be an expert in trauma, sexual assault or abuse. I can only write to my experiences. During my years in college, I had too much to drink and a “friend” had decided that I was “sober” enough for consent, which I was not. Had I had the support of other women by my side, maybe my situation would have been different.
Shonda, thank you for not sugar coating sexual assault, trauma, adoption, biological family reunions, and some of the other themes that Grey’s Anatomy has addressed. It was very refreshing to know that there are women out there supporting other women and SHOWING the world what the reality it.
**Fathers, uncles and male role models** Take a GOOD listen and lesson from the conversation Ben has with Tuck. Women and girls can change our mind, and quite frequently we do. Once we do, it’s time out, game over. END. OF. DISCUSSION. Let their conversation be a lesson to you all.