I watched Game of Thrones on Monday (finally caught up--thanks Tivo)! I was astounded by all the hype around her rape scene. Unlike the Lannister rape (which was definitely non-consensual. Even though they'd had sex before doesn't mean Jaime can his way any time he wants it. See this article on tea and consent if you are still confused), everyone seems really clear that this was in fact, rape. I thought GoT deserved kudos for tackling a subject like marital rape, which is still contentious. It wasn't even acknowledged as a crime until the late 1970s and wasn't illegal in all 50 states (and DC) until 1993. It's still rarely prosecuted.
The click bait headlines referred to it as gratuitous rape (an idea I found so offensive that I had trouble deciding to even click on the articles). Here's why I thought the show was on the money.
- Rape happens and it's disgusting, messed up, and gross.
- Rape happens in marriages.
- It happens under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Rape also happens under the influence of power, social norms, and peer pressure (which is why there's a need to change the cultural conversation around rape).
- In GoT, the rape was in character for Ramsey. He expresses his disdain for others, like Tyrion, who didn't consummate the marriage. He needs a witness, not just to control Theon/Reek and Sansa, but to cement his need for position. He can do what the powerful Lannister men could not.
One of things I like about Game of Thrones is it's willingness to go there and to cross the line. It doesn't hide from the idea that rape happens, and it effects the victim and the people who care about her. Rape isn't nice. It's not an expression of love (ewww, Lannisters, ewww). Prejudice exists. Abuse of power exists. Bad things happen to people even when they make all the right choices. Finally, please don't reduce rape by calling it just a "plot device". Go deeper Senator McCaskill, because one person can change the world...the question is will you change it for better or worse?
Links to Referenced Articles:
Tea and Consent: http://rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com/2015/03/02/consent-not-actually-that-complicated/)
Marital Rape: https://www.rainn.org/public-policy/sexual-assault-issues/marital-rape
GoT rape: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3088849/Democratic-senator-says-s-quitting-Game-Thrones-gratuitous-rape-scene-actress-defends-controversial-episode.html, http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/game-of-thrones-rape-sansa-stark
GoT gay trial: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/03/game-of-thrones-anti-gay-fanatics.html