Emmerdale’s Jonathan Wrather reveals ‘extraordinary’ response to rape storyline

Emmerdale actor Jonathan Wrather has revealed his role as a rapist on the ITV soap has prompted a flood of fans to reach out with similar experiences.

The soap star portrays abusive husband Pierce Harris who raped wife Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) on their wedding night in a tense episode which aired in April.

The harrowing storyline continues with Harris expecting to face a court case, and the actor has spoken of how it has resonated with those who had been involved in similar abusive relationships in real life.

Jonathan Wrather
Jonathan Wrather (ITV/Emmerdale)

Wrather told ITV’s Loose Women: “We’ve had an extraordinary response to it.

“Individuals have written in, some extraordinarily courageous people who have said ‘after watching the scenes this evening or following this story I was able to tell my mother for the first time that I had also been in a relationship of that nature – and thankfully I’m now divorced after four years’.”

“As actors portraying these characters we’re not on any sort of form of crusade, but we are given this story to deal with,” he added.

“We were very aware of that (responsibility) and so much research went into it.

“We tried to portray it as truthfully as possible and the writers and the story lining team everybody had been superb on all of that,” Wrather said.

He added research into the story had been “mentally enlightening”.

“It’s kind of shocking. There is a common perception that the perpetrator is a predatory male after dark down a dark alley it’s not it’s much closer to home and has much more innocuous beginnings. A coercive relationship that then escalates into much more.”

Asked about what the future held for his and Henry’s characters, Wrather said: “We’re heading to a court case as you know, that’s where we’re up to in a story.

“There is kind of a duty of care and responsibility to the audience and therefore there will be some form of retribution, but I can’t say. It does have to be realistic.”

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