The first episode of the web series Lauren was released on YouTube today, featuring Jennifer Beals (The L Word) and Troisan Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars) as female soldiers dealing with sexual assault in the military.
The three-part web series is new on WIGS, a YouTube channel of original series, documentaries, and short films all starring female leads. Beals plays fierce and experienced Major Jo Stone, commanding officer to Lauren (Bellisario), a young soldier who sets the episode’s powerful storyline when she reports being raped by three fellow soldiers.
In an interview with AfterEllen, Beals opens up about the emotional intensity of the episode, saying she and Bellisario were able to support each other through the painful material. While fans may know and love her as Bette Porter on The L Word, Beals says Major Stone is something else entirely.
“This character is very different from Bette Porter. She does not have the same kind of vulnerability that Bette has,” Beals says. “She’s had to take on the role, a much more masculine role probably than her mother or her father would have ever wanted for her. And, well, she could kick Bette's ass in about two seconds.”
Their characters go head-to-head in the episode, one accustomed to the culture of patriarchy within the armed forces and the other honoring her young daughter by fighting for a more just world. The ending credits lead with a jarring statistic: that 3,192 sexual assaults in the military were reported in 2011, with more going unreported each year.
Watch the first episode of Lauren via WIGS on YouTube.
To learn more about military sexual assault or to donate to Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) visit their website.