SVU: "...Fight Like Hell..."
By Koli Marie
This episode has always been a favorite of mine. Even now, when I’m not the biggest fan of the earlier seasons. I can still quote this episode almost verbatim. One of my favorite Olivia Benson quotes is in this episode. Tracy Pollan who plays the victim, Harper, is absolutely moving in her portrayal of the different stages of survival we see her in. From immediately following the assault to a little more than six months later when she did the work to move past what happened to her and yet she’s still stuck. It goes to show that you can do everything right, report right away, submit to a rape kit, give your statement over and over. But if a perp has enough money it’s not going to matter, our system is broken.
Olivia comes to the rescue again (because when doesn’t she?) when Cassidy, who we see Olivia having a one night stand with the night before, questions Harper and tries to make it out that Harper is falsely reporting her rape. She goes to bat for Harper and eventually Cassidy’s frustrations turn to Olivia and her not wanting a relationship with the baby-faced detective. My favorite line is when Olivia and Brian go to Harper’s new apartment to try to get her to make an identification to put her rapist away.
“The truth is, everybody changes every day and some things are more devastating than others, but we never are the same. And here are two ways to deal with these changes. You either accept them, or you fight them like hell all the way.” Harper isn’t able to identify her rapist, even though she was positive at the beginning of this investigation she would be. The episode ends with Harper getting back the ring her rapist stole from her. Then being wrapped in Olivia’s comforting embrace.
Guys, I have a secret to tell you. Remember back to the opening when we see Olivia in bed with Cassidy? Under those pant suits Olivia’s always wearing, she has a body. She’s an adult. She has sex. I know it comes as a shock to most people, but she’s allowed. She’s even allowed to have a one night stand and break Brian Cassidy’s heart when she doesn’t want more than that. She can do all that and so much more and it doesn’t make a whore. It makes her a sexual being, just like most of the rest of us, I say most because as an ace person, I acknowledge that ace people exist and that not everyone wants or enjoys sex.
Season one does something that we don’t see again, really, until season thirteen. It shows Olivia Benson having a sex life. We see her go on a few dates, and in one episode of season ten I believe, we see her in a bodega at about 5:30 in the morning. But that’s really it until season thirteen when we see Olivia dating and having boyfriends. In fact, after season one and before season thirteen Olivia’s views on sex aren’t discussed much at all and when they are she’s made out to be prude.
Alright, I’m going to get off my soapbox of why slut shaming, really anyone, but in this case Olivia Benson is wrong. Remember that she’s allowed to sleep with people, have incredible sex, and still have a personal rule of not falling in love with people she works with, however miserably that may have failed. It’s frustrating that we see Elliot and other detectives over the years, allowed to have a personal life, and be seemingly happy, but not when it comes to Olivia. I suppose we’ll have to take what we can get.