So I was very recently directed by Lady Geek Girl to an article on BitchMedia called True Blood: A Werepanther Rape is Not a “Sex” Scene, and I feel the need to address it. You can find the original article here. I would like everyone to know that I do not watch True Blood. My old roommate used to, so I would see clips of it on occasion, but overall I don’t know what the show is even really about, except vampires, and due to overuse in the media nowadays, my interest in bloodsucking night creatures has sadly died off.
I feel the need to warn you that I will be talking about rape quite a bit in this post, and this may be triggering, so continue at your own risk.
To start off, like many women out there, I have had some personal experience with rape. I almost fell victim to it quite a few times, and I have numerous friends who have experienced rape or sexual assault of some kind. This can be a touchy issue for me, and some of my worst flashbacks have been caused by people writing off rape as unimportant or crudely making fun of the people it’s victimized.
BitchMedia makes a very strong point at the end of its article; the fact that people consider what True Blood did a “disturbing sex scene” or even a “consummation of a relationship” reflects an overall view society has when it comes to rape: men can’t suffer it. As a woman, I have had some horrible things said to me about what almost happened, and I can’t even begin to imagine how the rest of society makes this experience feel for a man.
In a recent True Blood episode, a man named Jason is drugged by (I think) his former love interest, Crystal, and then tied to a bed. A bunch of women in the werepanther clan proceed to force sex upon him in hopes of becoming pregnant to stave off their race from dying out. Jason looks at Crystal and tells her that he wished they had never met. How is this considered anything but rape? Please explain to me how someone drugged, tied to a bed, and forced to have sex against his will is not rape. I would like to know. Really, I would. What’s the overall mindset for this? The directors even said that Jason had this coming to him, because he’s a man who likes to brag about his sexual exploits with women and now he’s being objectified himself.
Is that why this is considered sex and not rape? Because Jason is an asshole?
I’m going to make something very clear right now: rape can never be justified. It doesn’t matter who the victim is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a male, a female, a psychopathic killer, that asshole who lives down the street, the jerk who thinks it’s okay to objectify women, or an innocent child walking home from school. It is always wrong and no one deserves it.
I don’t think this would be even that big of an issue for True Blood to do this, if they had recognized the scene as a rape scene and treated it thus. If a rape has to occur in a fictional piece of work, whatever; read or watch at your own risk. But to laugh at it? To say that character deserved it for whatever reason? To call it anything but a rape? That will never be okay.
And as sad as it is to say, the way people are treating this fictional rape is the same way they treat rape in the real world. I can only assume it’s because people don’t know just how traumatizing rape is, how humiliating it can feel, how those feelings never truly leave. Or even just how many people go through it. Mostly, I don’t think many people even realize what rape is. Society’s take on rape seems to be a simple “just get over it” or “it’s not that big a deal”.
What True Blood did is disgusting, and there’s no excuse for it.