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Lydia to be at the centre of a new rape storyline in Emmerdale

In early September, Lydia will be attacked by her recently re-acquainted childhood friend, Craig.

Emmerdale is to explore the rape of Lydia Dingle, played by Karen Blick, as the character is attacked by her recently re-acquainted childhood friend, Craig.

As Lydia bonds with Craig, with whom she has previously had a relationship, and sadly lost a stillborn child, their reunion gets them thinking about their lost child. But in episodes airing in early September, Craig’s behaviour soon turns sinister and he forces himself upon Lydia.

In a state of shock after the attack, Lydia has to make the decision whether or not to report the rape to the police.

In the coming weeks, Lydia will struggle to come to terms with what has happened and will internalise the attack. Unaware and oblivious of her ordeal, her family and friends soon grow increasingly worried about her behaviour.

Statistics show that 1 in 2 rapes against women are carried out by their partner or an ex-partner and these episodes have been produced with the support of Rape Crisis England and Wales, who have worked closely with Emmerdale to ensure the story is portrayed accurately and sensitively.

On tackling this storyline, Karen Blick, who plays Lydia, said "Lydia’s rape is one of the most important and sensitive stories I have been part of during my time in Emmerdale. The research, preparation and aftermath of this story has been challenging and eye opening for me."

"One in four women have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult, and after reading this statistic I found myself standing in the canteen at ITV looking around as that figure really shocked me."

"I have spoken to and met with women impacted by this crime, but this is very much Lydia’s story. Emmerdale tackles these socially important stories so well and I hope anyone impacted by this storyline can seek help and support, because no one should have to face this alone."

To which Emmerdale's producer Laura Shaw added "Emmerdale have never shied away from telling difficult but important stories and with Lydia's rape we do just that. With five out of six women who are raped not reporting it to the police, we really wanted to raise awareness of this issue and hopefully encourage any women who have been in a similar position to Lydia to speak out."

"We've been working really closely with Rape Crisis, who have held our hand every step of the way and given us invaluable support to be able to tell the story as authentically and responsibly as possible. We’re also mindful of when Emmerdale airs on ITV, so the drama will be implicit rather than explicit."

"Karen Blick's harrowing, but courageous and brave performance, is truly outstanding as this story rips through the whole Dingle family and into the wider village community. As we head towards Christmas, we will see Sam and Lydia's marriage really tested as secrets are exposed and lives irrevocably changed forever."

On working with Emmerdale, Jayne Butler, Chief Executive at Rape Crisis said "Lydia's story will resonate with the thousands of victims and survivors who are raped or sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. Although it can be difficult to see these experiences reflected on screen, when they are represented realistically and sensitively it can be a really powerful way to raise awareness."

"If anyone has been impacted by Lydia's storyline, we want you to know that Rape Crisis is here for you. Whether it happened recently or a long time ago, or you're not sure what happened – we have lots of information and support on our website that might help - You can also call our 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line on 0808 500 2222 or chat to us online"

Emmerdale continues Mondays to Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV1

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