[Trigger warning: This post deals with subject matter that may be sensitive to some readers.]
Since the very first moment he was introduced this season, Glee’s Ryder (Blake Jenner) has appeared to have the perfect life. He’s friendly, attractive, athletic, and gets along with everyone. Sure, his struggle with dyslexia makes like a bit harder than most, but by all accounts, Ryder otherwise seems to lead a fairly charmed existence.
Then, in Glee Season 4, Episode 20: "Lights Out," Ryder revealed a secret he’d only told his online friend, Katie, and no one else. Not even his parents.
“When I was 11, I was molested by my babysitter,” Ryder says. The girl had been 17 or 18 years old at the time, and she’d walked right in while Ryder was showering and started to touch.
“It kind of messed me up a bit,” he said. “I think I have trouble trusting girls because of it.”
The other glee club members, however, didn’t seem to get it. The boys couldn’t stop congratulating Ryder for getting so much experience at a young age. He had opened up to them about his deepest and darkest secret, and they had basically told him it wasn’t okay for him to feel hurt.
As it turns out, though, one other glee club member did understand what Ryder was going through. Cheerleader Kitty (Becca Tobin) told him that when she was young, she had been molested at a sleepover. A friend’s older brother crawled into her sleeping bag and started to touch her.
When Kitty finally told someone about it, her friend’s family didn’t believe her. She ended up having to switch schools. “I understand what it’s like to have something like that happen to you and feel like nobody understands,” she told him. “I just want you to know that I do.”
While we appreciate Glee’s continuing goal of raising awareness about taboo subjects by bringing to light what few people will, we found ourselves taken aback by the abruptness of the way Glee chose to incorporate it into the storyline. Are you glad to see Glee take on this issue, or do you wish it would have been approached differently?