“Downton Abbey” player Joanne Froggatt pulled off an upset win for supporting TV actress — a victory that was all the more meaningful because of the trauma her character endured during season four.
Froggatt said she felt a strong sense of responsibility to rape victims when she had to tackle the storyline in season four that saw her character suffer a sexual assault.
When she learned that her character, lady’s maid Anna Bates, would be raped, Froggatt did research on how the issue was handled for working-class women of the 1920s.
“This is this is a big responsibility,” Froggatt said backstage while she was still trembling from the excitement of winning her first Globe. “Yes it’s a fictional character but maybe people watching at home had been through similar experiences. My worst fear was for people to watch and feel that I wasn’t honest.”
Part of the trauma for Anna was the feeling that she could not tell anybody after the assault in the Downton kitchen. Froggatt said she questioned the decision but was assured by the show’s historical adviser that a working class woman would have been very unlikely to disclose the crime, which compounded the emotion for Froggatt. It took her some time to “get my head around what it meant to be a working-class woman in the 1920s.”
After the episode aired, the letters Froggatt received from women who have endured rape touched her deeply, she said. “This is something very removed from what I usually do for a living,” she said. “They are probably the most special letters I’ve ever received in my life.”