This article, “Did James Whitehouse rape Holly Berry,” contains spoilers regarding Netflix’s Anatomy of a Scandal season 1.
During the trial of James Whitehouse versus Olivia Lytton, Chris Clarke, the Prime Minister’s public relations officer, confronts James with an accusation that he raped a student back in his Oxford University days. The short answer? Yes, he did it. We see what happened during flashbacks and through Holly Berry/Kate Woodcroft’s eyes. James runs into the young woman and calls her “Pretty Polly.” Holly, who has a crush on him, goes along with his drunk flirtations. He kisses her and gets aggressive. She stops him, but he apologizes again and agrees to be gentle. James kisses her again. Holly kisses him back. But things turn not just aggressive but practically violent and scary. James rapes her almost precisely the same way he does 25 years later to Olivia. He leaves her. He leaves her as he does her a favor.
Anatomy of a Scandal season 1 – Did James Whitehouse rape Holly Berry?
The number one common factor in college rape cases is nearly half happen when too much alcohol is consumed, which is something James tried to play up. The matter is that the issue is complex and needs to be addressed in a system-wide public health approach (Mellins et al., 2017). The combination of widespread use of alcohol, attitudes about sex, and education were not common goals in the 1990s.
However, James is a product of privilege. A winner, and Whitehouses always win, he says. Economic and gender factors, like being female, create higher chances of being sexually assaulted, and perpetrators have advantages in power dynamics (Mellins et al., 2017). And that is a crucial factor here with James, who prayed on Holly on his way to Sophie’s dorm. He is spoiled and is never told no. He sees that she is alone, it’s dark, and the chance of them being caught is negligible.
Alcohol and misinterpretation of desires are critical factors in casual partner sexual assault, but that is hard to ascertain (Wegner et al., 2016). Since the rape of Holly is a near mirror of Olivia’s sexual assault, and no alcohol was involved in the latter, it is safe to say that James knew what he was doing in both cases. He wanted sex, the victim did not, but he got what he wanted. He gets off on control.
Our elected officials have roles in monitoring and executing roles in education, welfare, and supporting individuals who have less influence. Here, the Whitehouse family had power and influence, and the administrator at Oxford may have been influenced when it was reported to that college administrator.
The question is: Will the rape of Holly Berry become public knowledge?