The Ladies of ‘RHOP’ Play a Dangerous Game of Gaslighting Regarding Sexual Assault

Candiace Dillard Bassett leads Twitter in a game of gaslighting in an attempt to entertain social media, which fails miserably

(l to r) Candiace Dillard Bassett, Robyn Dixon, and Gizelle Bryant pose for RHOP S7 cast photos
Image by Zanda Rice, Bravo

The Big Picture

  • Candiace manipulates the conversation on sexual assault to defend her husband and discredit Gizelle’s testimony.
  • Her attempts to devalue Gizelle’s words backfire, and she fails to accomplish her goal.
  • The RHOP ladies consistently leverage emotionally triggering topics to divide their audience and manipulate each other.

The ladies of The Real Housewives of Potomac vacillate seamlessly between crying victims and spewing accusations at one another. It’s often difficult to distinguish who is doing the attacking verses and who is being attacked. Candiace Dillard Bassett has drawn her line in the sand with the green-eyed bandits Robyn Dixon and Gizelle Bryant, after Gizelle accused Candiace’s husband of attempting to be inappropriate with her. The fallout from those accusations has sparked a larger conversation surrounding sexual assault accusations and consent.

In the current season of the show, the ladies attend a round-table-like discussion on sexual assault and share their personal experiences. While it could have been a forum to unify the group, past hurts have divided them even further. And sexual assault is being used as a new character in a show that’s already riddled with controversy.

Candiace Dillard Bassett’s Twitter Fingers Overshadow Discussion About Sexual Assault

Candiace Dillard 'WWHL'
Image via Bravo

It’s important to acknowledge that according to statistics from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. The subject is extremely sensitive, but leave it to the cast of RHOP to hijack the sexual assault conversation and twist the conversation to their own agenda.

Candiace couldn’t allow clips of the conversation to be consumed by RHOP fans without offering her opinion on the episode. As usual, the talented singer took to Twitter to air out her castmates regarding their personal testimonies shared in the episode. For the RHOP cast to participate in such a relevant subject that affects and often unites women across the country could’ve been an awesome opportunity for healing. Instead, Candiace took the opportunity to be manipulative and twisted the conversation to serve her own agenda in defending her husband against Gizelle’s previous claims.

Gizelle Bryant May Be Problematic, But Her Experiences Shouldn’t Be Devalued

Candiace Dillard Bassett smiles during S7 RHOP reunion
Image via Bravo

Candiace jump-started a Twitter thread stating: “It’s triggering to watch a woman who accused someone of sexual assault speaking about sexual assault. I’m tired. I’m actually very tired. A Thread.” Her initial caption was accompanied by clips of both Gizelle and Robyn discussing past issues with sexual assault. Robyn shares a very personal story detailing a sexual assault she’d experienced in her younger years. Gizelle admitted she didn’t realize sexual assault was so prevalent and voiced wanting to have additional conversations with her daughters to ensure their safety. Ashley Darby shares a personal story detailing being a victim of sexual assault at the hands of a family member when she was younger.

Before X (formerly known as Twitter) followers could focus on the brevity of the clip, Candiace inserted her personal agenda with a series of tweets that attempted to devalue Gizelle and Robyn’s shared testimony by weaponizing their words against the situation with her husband from last season. Candiace doubled down on her stance, writing, “People who manipulate words and blatantly misuse the English language to insinuate that anyone sexually assaulted them is criminal.” Her rant pivoted directly to Gizelle’s accusations against her husband Chris, attempting to remind the audience of Gizelle’s claims and connect the dots to dismissing Gizelle’s contribution to the conversation on sexual assault. “He made me go into a hotel room.” Yet another iteration of her SA insinuations. That she would now sit and speak as if she is an advocate for sexual assault awareness is morally corrupt and criminal. I’m triggered, and I’m tired, and I’m not allowing it to slide or slip through the cracks,” Candiace added about Gizelle.

Candiace’s Tweets to Validate Issues with Cast

Unfortunately for her, Candiace’s Twitter rant backfired without accomplishing her intention to discredit Gizelle’s words. Instead of allowing the conversation to be a moment of healing for sexual assault victims and to educate others who need to understand the enormity of the issue, Candiace’s narcissistic attempt to leverage the conversation against Gizelle failed miserably. Gizelle’s false accusations last season were deplorable. She offered a thin apology at the reunion after being pushed by Andy Cohen to take accountability for her allegations. However, Candiace’s attempt to weaponize an issue that affects over half the women in the country by pointing fingers at Gizelle was incredibly selfish and insulting to the sexual assault victims who shared their stories, and to the audience hearing their stories.

What should have been a moment for healing and connection among the cast, and an opportunity for RHOP to connect with the audience on a topic that affects women everywhere, was twisted into a gaslighting opportunity to serve one woman’s agenda against another. For viewers, the constant manipulation by cast mates against one another is at an all-time high. Leveraging issues of relevance and the use of emotionally triggering examples and words should be considered inadmissible, but the RHOP ladies have consistently used emotional touchpoints with their audience to divide their audience.

Candiace’s recent gaslighting attempts are especially disappointing because of the severity of the sexual assault conversation. Hopefully, her attempts will continue to fall flat after the episode airs and the focus will remain on the issue, and providing healing for sexual assault victims and an opportunity to educate others. Candiace and the RHOP ladies can take up their issues with each other on their own time, without leveraging the pain of others in an attempt to slander each other.

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