EastEnders' Ruby Allen cliffhanger wasn't the start of her dramatic new assault storyline

EastEnders viewers may have assumed that a cliffhanger involving Ruby Allen in Friday’s episode have started her gripping new sexual assault storyline, but that is not actually the case.

In the final instalment of the week, viewers saw recently-reunited friends Ruby (Louisa Lytton) and Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) planning for a big girls’ night out at E20.

Martin (James Bye) even surprised Stacey by getting her a fancy new dress from Kush’s (Davood Ghadami) for the special occasion, but then ruined the vibe by constantly badgering his wife with calls and texts about the kids.

Ruby was determined to have a fun night regardless of Slater’s distractions, and was shown sipping away at her alcoholic drink. Ruby caught the attention of a group of guys hanging out at E20, and the last viewers saw of her, she was ditching Stacey to hang out with them.

“The one on the left is mine,” she winked, before promising to go out with Stacey again soon.

Some viewers assumed this was start of a powerful new storyline that deals with issues of sexual assault, consent and treatment of victims:

This is an understandable assumption given the way Friday’s episode left off, but Ruby’s sexual assault storyline will not actually begin quite yet. There will be other events that lead up to it, not connected to Friday’s episode.

When the storyline does get under way later in the year, actress Louisa Lytton has said that she expects that viewers to be divided in their reaction to Ruby’s reaction.

“Obviously, this is one person’s story so we are not trying to say, ‘This is what rape is’,” she recently told BBC Radio 1Xtra BBC Radio 1Xtra. “But it’s important to work with organisations like Rape Crisis and they’ve been brilliant.

“I think it is going to split the audience about views on consent and what happens to her, which will be a good thing.”

EastEnders continues on Monday (September 24) at 8pm on BBC One.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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