Man up: Law and Order takes on male rape and victim suppression

Law and Order: SVU premiered its new season with the episode “Man Up,” focusing on the rape case of a 15-year-old boy

Law and Order: SVU premiered its new season with the episode “Man Up,” focusing on the rape case of a 15-year-old boy, Sam Conway, who appeared to have been raped by a family member.

Law and Order starts off the new season touching on many societal issues occurring in our world today, such as male on male rape and fear of perpetrators due to close vicinity and connections previous to the assault. The crime show takes on a huge issue with rape portrayed in the media today.

Sam Conway was going on a hunting trip with his brother and father where he was pressured to kill a rabbit, which made him extremely apprehensive. Detectives received a call from the school due to injuries that corroborated with rape. When the Conway was questioned he refused to tell anyone that he was raped.

The detectives Olivia Benson, Amanda Rollins, Dominick Carisi and Fin Tutuola all investigate the crime. They work with outside sources, such as Sam’s ‘girlfriend’ and a man who helped him get home while he was drunk.

The family has a lot of distance when confronted on the subject. They suspect the brother of Sam, named Brian, as the perpetrator because of physical altercations and tension between them. They later find out from the mother that it was indeed his father.

The case is seen as impossible because the victim refuses to testify against his own family and the detectives try to come up with the best set of witnesses they can, but only find the mother to testify. ADA Stone is insistent on pursuing the case because he feels the issue is very important. When Benson says the case isn't strong enough ADA says, “The war you can’t win is the only one worth fighting.”

This episode is filled with intense emotion, a devastating trial and the sad outcomes of abuse of a minor. The victim does come clean to the abuse he had endured, though his confession leaves him a little too late. At the point in which he confesses to what he really experienced, he was already being convicted of a crime.

The ending is unexpected and an extreme outcome to Conway’s abuse. The 15-year-old boy has a complete and utter meltdown ending in gunshots. The detectives are forced to arrest Conway after he acts irrationally at the school, which occurred right after he had a shaky demeanor at breakfast with his father.

ADA is fully invested in the Conway case; he feels like he owes something to Sam Conway after putting him through a horrific trial with his father and family that revolved around his rape. When confronted whether the case against Sam’s father is over ADA Stone says, “This isn't over, not by a long shot.”


Madison Appleby is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at madison.appleby@uconn.edu .   She tweets at @madd_journalist