Why the Mid-Season Premiere of Grey’s Anatomy is so Important
*Warning: May contain spoilers*
When it comes to guilty pleasures, Grey’s Anatomy, the addictive medical drama, is definitely on the list for many of us. Good looking doctors, a constantly evolving story line and risky surgeries are among the reasons why we can’t stop binge watching the show. Throughout the course of the show, Grey’s Anatomy addressed many serious plotlines ranging from police brutalities to mass shootings. Similarly, the recent mid-season premiere tackles a problem society also need to bring more attention to: domestic violence.
The main story line of the episode “1-800-799-7233” revolves around Dr. Jo Wilson, who deals with an unexpected visit from her estranged, abusive husband, Dr. Paul Stadler. In order to discuss the significance of this episode, we must first explore the character’s background. Jo’s past is bleak as she was raised in foster care and was homeless in high school. However, she didn’t let her setbacks prevent her from attaining success. Jo worked ferociously hard and graduated from Harvard Medical School.
Somewhere along the line, she met and fell in love with Paul, who’s also an accomplished surgeon like Jo. Unfortunately, he was extremely manipulative and abusive towards her in their marriage. Paul alienated Jo from her friends and an incident left her with broken ribs. This resulted her from running away to escape his abuse. In a previous episode, it is revealed/mentioned/suggested that her actual name is Brooke Stadler and she took the alias Jo Wilson to ensure that Paul wouldn’t be able to track her down to cause further harm.
Although, Jo reinvented herself and eventually became a doctor at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital, her past with Paul continued to haunt her. When her boyfriend Alex Karev expressed his intention to marry her, Jo was forced to decline since she wouldn’t be able to obtain a divorce from her husband without being found by him. Also, her professional life was being affected because she was unable to get her name published in a research project due to the same reason.
Years later, Paul suddenly shows up to the hospital Jo works at and catches her by surprise. She freezes because her worst fear came true. Fortunately, when Paul requested to speak to Jo privately, her friends, the title character Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Arizona Robbins took precautions to make sure she wasn’t left alone in Paul’s company. Paul wanted a divorce so he could elope with his current fiancé, Jenny.
Jo finally got a divorce from Paul, but decided that wasn’t enough. She attempted to tell Jenny about Paul’s true nature, but the latter remained blinded by her fiancé’s manipulative ways. Jenny was under the impression that Paul’s behavior was okay because he connived her into thinking she was crazy for thinking he was being abusive. Jo managed to make Jenny realize she is enduring the same thing as her.Eventually, Paul is found dead after a hit and run, leaving both women free of Paul's abusive ways.
Not only does this episode of Grey’s Anatomy bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence, but it also empowers women to escape these types of situation and be there for each other. For example, the depiction of Jo running away from her abusive husband can inspire women who are experiencing similar situations to take action in their own relationships or marriages. Moreover, it’s amazing how Jo’s friends helped protect her from Paul, as good friends and strong women should do more often. Moreover, Jo didn’t stop at just getting a divorce. She took additional measures to aid Jenny escape Paul’s violence as well. As women, it’s important for us to be there for each other.
Domestic violence is a serious issue plaguing both genders and statistics unfortunately indicate that the phenomenon is increasing. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be subjected to violence at the hands of their significant other in their lifetime. The U.S Department of Justice recently confirmed that the rate of domestic violence increased 20.8% from 2001 to 2017 on the national level.
This explains why we often find ourselves inundated with stories concerning domestic violence whenever we turn on the television, open the newspaper, or are simply scrolling through our feed on Facebook. A nightmare as huge as this won’t disappear if we remain quiet as a society. In order to emphasize the gravity of damage domestic abuse victims face, we must bring awareness to the issue through the media and social movements.
Overall, Grey’s Anatomy did an excellent job highlighting the dangers of domestic violence and the importance of empowering women in the episode “1-800-799-7233”. The title of the episode is also the number for the domestic violence hotline. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse from a significant other, please take a moment to call and reach out for help.