'Nashville' Handles A Rape Storyline With Sensitivity & Respect As Kiley Reveals Her Past Trauma To Gunnar

Well, I guess I have to take back everything bad I ever said in regards to Kiley. Nashville just dropped a huge bomb on us on Wednesday: Kiley came back into town, wanting to see Micah (not sure how she didn’t know that her parents had her son, but that’s another story), and after Gunnar told her to scram, Kiley revealed that she never cheated on Gunnar with his brother, Jason. The truth is that Jason raped her at a party when she was young and dating Gunnar. It was a heavy story and totally unexpected, but Nashville handled it very well.

Gunnar totally didn’t want to see Kiley, but I’m glad that Nashville brought this storyline back for a resolution. Fortunately, Gunnar completely reversed his stance on his ex upon hearing her story, and became supportive and protective of her. It was a nice moment for their relationship — even if they don’t get back together (though if she’s back I think they might, since Scarlett is also coupled up). When pressed as to why she never said anything, Kiley confessed that she always hoped that Micah was Gunnar’s son, and when she saw how much Gunnar loved Micah, she couldn’t bear it. She also convinced herself that Micah would be better off without her, hence her leaving him with Gunnar when a new boyfriend basically said he didn't want Kiley's son around.

Even though I’ve been a naysayer of Kiley and Micah’s plotline in the past (mostly Micah because I hate precocious third graders), I’m very pleased with the way this is being handled. Kiley’s telling of her assault wasn't sensationalized or played for dramatic effect on the show. It was just truthful. She’s not attacked or accused of anything: She is the victim here. When Kiley tries to blame herself, Gunnar tells Kiley that it’s not her fault and that she was young and should have been protected.

It could be because a woman created the show (Callie Khouri has her name at the top of this series), but Nashville is fantastic when it comes to issues that really affect women. Earlier this season, Sadie Stone, played by Broadway star Laura Benanti, had a domestic abuse storyline that was powerful, touching, and totally real. Juliette’s pregnancy was also dealt with in a well-rounded way: She explored all of her options and ultimately elected to have her baby girl, Cadence. In a world where women fight just to be heard, it’s nice to have a show on network television that lets women scream so loudly.

Images: ABC; Giphy