Storyline Spotlight - Melody's Assault (July - Aug)

HTML clipboardmelodystorylinespotlighcn5.jpg

A storyline that has had members voicing their opinions recently is that of Melody Jones' assault. After breaking up with Geoff at Nicole's rather out of control house party, Melody was upset and needed somewhere to calm down on her own. She decided to go upstairs, and a drunk Axel Hay decided to do the same. At first, all the viewers saw was Axel going into the room and staggering onto the floor, before admitting that he was "so out of it."

In a later episode, however, Melody told Annie that Axel had forced himself onto her at the party, and we saw flashbacks showing this. Upon returning home afterwards, a shaken Melody felt unable to tell her mum, Christine, what she had been through and decided to keep her ordeal private.

The day after, Axel crawled through Melody's bedroom window and asked if she remembered what happened the night before. Melody said she didn't, with Axel replying the same.

A couple of days later, Annie told Geoff what happened, which led him to speak to Tony about the best course of action to take. Tony decided to speak to Melody himself but ended up in a heated discussion with Christine over what really happened that night. Christine was adamant that her daughter hadn't been assaulted by Axel and that if she had've been Melody would've talked to her about it. Not getting anywhere with Christine, Tony tried to get Melody to tell her mum the truth. But Melody once again denied that anything happened, leaving Tony no option but to leave.

Shortly afterwards, however, Melody told her mum that what Tony said was true - Axel did force himself onto her at the party. But Christine was quick to say that she thought it best "not to dwell on it", and that getting the police involved may not be the best route to take. However, an outraged Geoff, who had an AVO against him - ordered by Christine - told her that it was Melody's choice as to whether she wanted to tell the police or not.

Melody then decided to go the police but was upset when she was told that they wouldn't be doing anything about it.

Things went from bad to worse when Cara, a Summer Bay High student, made a comment in The Den about it being fairly 'normal' for a guy to try and come onto a girl at a party. Melody couldn't believe what she was hearing and went off at Cara - who tried to apologize for what she had said. Feeling upset, Melody left The Den and went to speak to Axel at the school.

Melody confronted Axel and told him exactly what she thought of what he had done. It was clear that what she'd said had clearly had an effect on him, and later, he went to the police station to change his earlier statement.

Axel was given 100 hours of community service and Melody and Geoff broke up.

As the storyline was unfolding on-screen BTTB members were keen to share their thoughts on the forum. With the sheer amount of comments on this particular storyline it would be impossible to mention every single one, but here's a small collection of views (from the discussion threads):

'There has always been something about Axel I didn't like and tonight confirms it! How dare he take advantage of Melody when she's vulnerable. The dirty scoundrel. And nobody better justify what he did.' (Natasha)

'I just have to say.... WOW Celeste Dodwell.. what an AMAZING performance!! I can't remember the last time I reacted so much to a scene on Home and Away. I thought it was done BRILLIANTLY, especially with the transition back to reality. My face was actually frozen in an expression of horror, and I was crying!' (frizbee)

'Melody was fabulous in last night's episode and I think Celeste is developing into a first rate actress. I was on the edge of my seat in the flash back scene. I really do think they are going to do justice to this story line. They have after all done justice to all of the adult story lines so far this year, so we have no reason to doubt that this one is not going to be treated with sensitivity and respect. I think its quite clever that this is running juxtaposed with KK's return.' (chatter box)

'The fact that Melody managed to fight of Axel doesn't redeem him at all, it was just good fortune that she was strong enough and things didn't go further.' (H&A_FAN)

'I am sorry but that fact that it goes on and is common does not make it right. If more young girls, and more women, took a stand, challenged the myth perpetrated by a male dominated police and legal system, and said I will not be treated like this it would not happen anywhere near as often. It's about teaching respect.. Axel certainly knew he was in the wrong, otherwise why was he going to such efforts to get Melody to stay quiet? I have worked with many who feel as if it was their fault, and where this sort of drunken stupidity has occurred more than once some women have moved into a victim mentality and think they somehow deserve it. It can have for a lot of women long term serious effects. It can also have an impact upon men. Men can be equally damaged by women forcing their attentions upon them, their is no excuse for that either. It is never acceptable for any one male or female to force themselves onto another person. Familiarity with someone gives them no rights over you, and being drunk does not excuse this sort of behavior either.

Melody was wonderful in finally making the break from her mother and indeed from Geoff and going on her own to the police station.' (chatter box)

'I don't think Axel is evil........ there may be all sorts of explanations and reasons for why he has behaved like this..... but that does not make the actual assault acceptable.... we can understand and even empathise with why someone behaved in a certain way.... but we don't have to condone it. .... I understand why Aden bashed up Axel...... but I certainly don't condone it one iota.' (Frankie)

'Fair enough it took him a bit longer to get the message because he was so drunk but at the end of the day nothing happened, no crime took place and I think it is being completely blown out of proportion. He certainly doesn't deserve the treatment he is getting.' (ter06)

'Not to go all Christian on everyone, but I'm a firm believer in "hate the sin, not the sinner." I like to believe that anyone can be understood and redeemed if someone takes the time to ask how. What good does it do for people to write Axel off for this, or indeed to write off someone in a similar situation in the real world? Next you'll want to jail anyone who makes an inappropriate comment, looks at someone in an inappropriate way, or has an inappropriate thought. Perhaps if you catch these things at the thoughts stage, and have the confidence to know that you can get help if you need it, rather than being told that you are evil for thinking that way and can never ever be redeemed for it, a lot of bad things wouldn't happen as often as they do. But that really is living in a fantasy land.' (emmasi)

I think a lot of teenage kids get into this sort of mess, but it doesn't make it right and trying to pretend its a part of growing up, or it goes on every where, or its OK as he was drunk, or maybe he was abused, or maybe he had his reason etc, does not make it right.' (Angie's Wraith)