Victoria Sugden suffered a brutal sexual assault last night, in scenes that left Emmerdale viewers sickened and horrified.
On Wednesday (May 8), soap fans finally saw what happened to the young chef after the Big Night Out double bill, and were left in tears as she was viciously raped by a man she had only just met.
Those watching the ITV soap were in bits as Victoria struggled against the rapist, before being pinned down on the bed and raped.
Some of those viewers believed the scenes were far too violent and disturbing to be shown before the watershed.
According to TV regulator Ofcom, the watershed begins at 9pm and material unsuitable for children should not, in general, be shown before 9pm or after 5.30am.
In moving scenes with former mother-in-law Moira Barton, Victoria relived the attack, revealing how she got chatting to a man called Lee after leaving the nightclub.
After walking home together, she asked him in for a cup of tea, making it explicitly clear she didn't want anything else to happen.
Too early at 7pm for tonight's scenes. Speaking unfortunately from experience, you got it very wrong this time.
But Lee turned violent and committed one of the vilest criminal acts on the planet - ignoring Victoria's pleas for him to stop, covering her mouth to stifle her screams and grabbing fistfuls of her hair.
Pushing her face down on the bed, he hissed: "You're a tease, and nobody likes a tease."
Although the actual rape wasn't shown, the content was graphic enough to upset viewers.
One concerned fan wrote: "Very early for this kind of thing. Yes I know there is no time limit on this in real life but still there are kids watching."
Another said: "Wrong time for such graphic scenes. #Emmerdale."
A third added: "Bit early for rape, isn't it? What happened to the nanny state? Not suitable pre-watershed in my opinion #Emmerdale."
"Not appropriate to be shown at that time," said another. "I'm all for raising awareness of rape but, in my opinion, that was too much for 7.25pm. Should have shown it later."
However, others disagreed, with one typing: "There was a warning message before the episode started! Emmerdale isn't a kids programme, it's for adults hence 'adult' storylines! These are storylines that need highlighting."
After the episode aired, actress Isabel Hodgins tweeted her fans, saying: "Thank you for all your kind messages about tonight's episode. When Emmerdale told me I was doing this storyline, I was like 'oh crumbs, that is a huge responsibility'!!! If this story helps at least one person, I'll be forever thankful."
An Emmerdale spokesperson told ED!: "This episode was fully complied in line with the broadcasting code and was clearly signposted pre-transmission.
"Victoria's story may at times be uncomfortable to watch, but ITV has always tackled hard-hitting and true-to-life storylines head on. In doing so, we hope it allows people who may be similarly affected to come forward and speak out."
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