Evie Barnes, a waifish, nerdy girl with glasses, sits on a casting couch. She's being filmed taking off her clothes. She needs the money to pay for her college tuition. Two men walk into the frame...
In a Hudson University dorm room, two freshman boys, Daniel and Matt, watch Evie's performance in "Eighteen With a Bang!" As the two men slap her around, Justin recognizes Evie as the mousy girl from class, and the guys decide to invite her to a party. That night, when Evie shows up, Daniel and Matt lure her to the bathroom, where they corner her...
The next morning, Rollins and Fin head over to Hudson after getting a call from Evie's RA. The bruised freshman tells the detectives that she didn't have money for her tuition, so she answered an ad for modeling work. But it wasn't modeling work - it was pornography.
Daniel and Matt claim they had consensual sex with Evie, and while they roughed her up a bit, she liked the stuff they did. Plus, her "Eighteen With a Bang!" video was much more hardcore.
At the precinct, the team discusses the tricky case. Benson says whatever Evie did on camera has no bearing on what happened to her. Carisi argues that the guys thought that since she wanted it in the porno, she wanted them. Rollins responds that Evie said no, she wasn't drunk, she gave a detailed account of the assault, and her ER exam was consistent with rape.
What Rollins failed to mention was that Evie told her Daniel may have recorded the rape. Just as Benson sends Rollins to find the tape, Counselor Buchanan, who is representing Daniel and Matt, stops by. He hands over a flash drive of Daniel's video, as well as a second flash drive with a dozen other adult videos. It appears Evie was more prolific than she let on.
Daniel's video corroborates Evie's story, but her other videos are just as violent. Barba struggles with how to explain to a jury the difference between the porn and rape videos, when sex workers rarely get the benefit of the doubt.
Just then, Deputy Chief Davis walks in with the Ledger's salacious front page headline, "From Straight A's to XXX." He's angry that SVU didn't know about Evie's past videos and doesn't think they have a case. He's also upset that Hudson wasn't looped in, to which Benson responds that Hudson is more worried about their Clery Act stats than they are about rape, and that campus security often pressures women to not press charges. Davis warns her that the mayor's office thinks she has an agenda and she should pick her battles.
With a delicate he-said-she-said case, SVU's plan is to play the boys off each other. Carisi talks to Matt, who admits Daniel's family is paying for their joint lawyer. Carisi puts it in Matt's head that whoever cuts the first deal gets the best deal, which may be why Daniel is in with Buchanan first. He advises Matt not to let his lawyer make him take the fall.
Matt then meets with Buchanan, Fin and Rollins, where he finds out that Daniel told SVU that Matt was the one who invited Evie to the party and convinced her to make a sex tape. Daniel playing dumb would let him off the hook, but Matt says that's not how it happened. Buchanan tries to get his client to keep his mouth shut, but Matt thinks he's on Daniel's side and fires him on the spot.
Matt then makes a full confession - he showed Daniel the video and invited Evie to the party, but everything after that was Daniel's idea. Only after the bathroom incident did Daniel tell Matt they were guilty of rape, that it was on video, and that they'd both go down for it if they didn't lie and say Evie wanted it. At first, Matt didn't think you could rape a "girl like that."
Benson and Barba then sit down with Evie and her parents, who are so upset with Evie, they refuse to attend the trial. Benson tries to explain to Evie's father that his daughter is a victim, but he storms out, his wife close behind. Although devastated, Evie is determined to testify to show people she did nothing wrong.
At the trial, Evie gets on the stand and defends her actions. In her porn videos, she was never forced to do anything against her will and everything she did was an act. But what happened to her in the bathroom was real, violent and painful. And she never consented. She says she knew that testifying would open her and her family up to judgment and victim blaming, but she wants to send a message that adult entertainers are still people and don't deserve to be subjected to assault.
During Buchanan's cross-examination, he rips apart her testimony and says the only difference between her adult videos and the boys' video was that in the adult videos, she was paid. Evie counters that she said no to Daniel and Matt, to which Buchanan replies that she said no in the violent porn videos as well.
"We have seen that you're a very gifted actress," he says. "How do you expect these boys, or this jury, to know the difference?"
It appears, however, that the jury can tell the difference, as they find Daniel guilty of rape. But before Evie can celebrate her victory, she is handed papers from a lawyer; she's been expelled from Hudson University for violating the code of conduct.
Furious, Benson meets with the university's president and accuses her of victim blaming. The president claims she expelled Evie not for her accusation against Daniel and Matt, but for making violent adult videos. Benson's meeting quickly gets back to Davis, who reprimands her for overstepping her bounds. Benson asks Davis if his concern has anything to do with Hudson being the city's largest landlord.
At sentencing, the judge shocks the courtroom by setting aside the jury's guilty verdict, claiming he did not see behavior rising to the level of criminal charges brought against Daniel. He says there is no way to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Evie's "no" truly meant no. Barba is livid at the judge's blatant abuse of power, and accuses him of setting rape law back fifty years.
That night, Evie's mom rushes to the precinct; Evie is missing. She shows the detectives her daughter's computer, which contains a video message of Evie holding up a tablet with a text scroll that reads:
"Because I chose to work in porn, two boys raped me. Because the judge didn't believe me, one of my rapists was set free. I didn't choose any of that. My choices were taken away. And now I only have one left. Goodbye."
Evie has returned to the only place she felt respect: the world of pornography. Rollins and Carisi find her on the New Hampshire set of a new film. She refuses to go back home and she can't go back to Hudson, so she's doing what she does best. The detectives are powerless as they watch Evie drop her robe and step onto a set where a dozen half-naked men are waiting for her.