EastEnders to explore ‘older women’ being sexually assaulted in new storyline

In an upcoming instalment, Yolande Trueman (Angela Wynter) will be sexually assaulted by her close friend and confidant Pastor Gideon Clayton (Howard Saddler).

The BBC soap is working with the End Violence Against Women Coalition and elder abuse charity Hourglass on the storyline.

Patrick Trueman and Yolande Trueman (BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Andrea Simon, director of End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “Sexual assault happens to women of all ages and backgrounds, but many find they aren’t believed or taken seriously.

“Older women, black women and others who are marginalised are at the sharp end of this, with huge consequences for their access to justice and support. TV shows can play a huge role in shifting attitudes across society.

“We hope this storyline helps dispel myths and stereotypes about what victims and survivors look like and how perpetrators behave, and ultimately increases understanding of sexual assault.”

Following the attack on Yolande, she will struggle and this will impact her life as well as her relationship with partner Patrick Trueman, played by Rudolph Walker.

The scenes will air in an hour-long episode next week and include flashback accounts of women who have previously been sexually assaulted by Clayton.

Veronica Gray, deputy chief executive and director of policy at Hourglass, said: “This is a landmark moment for all older victims of abuse in the UK and beyond.

“EastEnders, shaping a storyline around the too-often hidden nightmare of sexual abuse of older people, finally brings this issue out of the shadows and into public consciousness.

“We hope this will start an important conversation in many households across the UK. Hourglass is delighted to work with EastEnders on this storyline to provide advice, and we were impressed by how engaged the scriptwriters were and how keen they were to be authentic and respectful.

“Abuse of older people comes in many forms, and Hourglass urges anyone affected to make contact with us.”

Executive producer of EastEnders, Chris Clenshaw, hopes it “will raise awareness of how women at any age can been groomed by someone in a position of power”.

“It was vital for us to work alongside End Violence Against Women Coalition and Hourglass to truthfully present and sensitively portray Yolande’s sexual assault storyline,” he added.

The episode will air on April 17 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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