Viewers were left horrified after watching Pierce (played by Jonathan Wrather) push himself onto Rhona twice last month.
On the first occasion, Rhona was heard clearly saying she was not interested multiple times while Pierce continued to kiss her.
The scene then cut away and returned with a distressed-looking Rhona sat half-dressed on the sofa.
Many viewers thought a rape had been committed off-camera but Zoe believes the sex was consensual.
Emmerdale actress Zoe Henry does not believe her character was not raped by Pierce Harris
Emmerdale: Pierce forced himself on Rhona twice last month
She did consent
"Nothing was shown on camera," she explained, "but in my mind, she did consent, even though she wasn't in the mood."
Zoe added to What's On TV: "Our producer, Iain MacLeod, wanted this to be something people talked about, with some people going, 'I thought that was perfectly acceptable,' and others saying, 'Are you joking? That is not acceptable at all!' And that's kind of what we got."
Rhona and Pierce got together after they found out their respective spouses were cheating on them together.
Emmerdale: Zoe said away from the camera she believes Rhona consented
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Emmerdale's most shocking moments
Thu, January 5, 2017
Emmerdale's most shocking moments: Explosions, car crashes and murder – life in the Dales is never dull. Here are the most dramatic scenes from the popular soap.
1 of 11
Emmerdale's most dramatic moments
Pierce has become increasingly controlling of Rhona over a steady period of time.
Zoe believes that had she not been cheated on by her husband, Paddy (Dominic Brunt), Rhona would not stand for Pierce’s manipulative behaviour.
The actress added: "She's putting up with something that in her right frame of mind – when she's strong and happy like she was two years ago – she wouldn't put up with."
Emmerdale continues tonight at 7pm on ITV.