Hollyoaks spoilers follow.
The powerful episode, titled 'The Long Walk Home,' will see Maxine (Nikki Sanderson) being separated from her friends on a night out. Thrown out of a club without her phone, Maxine has to get back home on her own and ends up being attacked.
In the aftermath of the assault, Maxine looks back on that night and asks herself whether different choices she had made could have changed the outcome, ultimately realising that she's not to blame in any way.
"There is no place in our society for acts of violence against women and girls. These crimes can have a lasting and severe effect on the victim as well as their family and the community," a spokesperson for the Home Office said in a statement.
"No one should live in fear of abuse. We're committed to ensuring criminals face the full force of the law and creating a society where women and girls are safe."
Hollyoaks has also worked with Rape Crisis during the editorial and filming process for the episode, produced and crewed by an all-female team.
"This episode of Hollyoaks highlights how the narrative that by taking certain actions we can avoid rape and sexual abuse is completely false," Rape Crisis CEO Jayne Butler said.
"The onus is on women to think of ways to keep themselves safe, rather than addressing the root cause of our fear: violent men."
Written by Jayshree Patel, the episode focuses on the different situations men and women may face during a night out.
"We've called the episode 'The Long Walk Home,' but in reality the theme of the piece is essentially 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,'" Patel said.
"Ours is a positive message – girls need to enjoy their lives, they want to go out and be free to live as joyously as they can. It's everyone's responsibility to ensure that this can happen. In truth it should not be a lot to wish for..."
Producer Lucy Allan explained 'The Long Walk Home' is set to prompt a necessary conversation around women and non-binary people's safety and how men could be involved.
"Across the week it will be made clear to the audience that the onus should not be on Maxine to keep herself safe," she said.
"We will also, through discussions between our characters, explore the role that other people can take in intervening in abuse and influencing peer behaviour."
Hollyoaks streams first on All 4, with new episodes dropping each weekday morning. The show airs Mondays to Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, and at 7pm on E4. Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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