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Originally from Texas, I am a reader, writer, pseudo-gardener, baker, record collecting student working on my Ph.D. in the Midwest.

Friday, November 5

Primetime Rape

I found this article about primetime rape, and it pretty perfectly states my feelings.
Last nights episode. KaDee Strickland did a beautiful job of portraying a rape victim*. Beautiful. They showed her having to comfort Coop (her fiancé) at one point and I know from my research that was spot on. They showed Addison trying to be close and then backing away as Charlotte described what happened (granted, Charlotte seemed to be trying to get her to back off, but that's another topic). They showed a re-traumatized Violet. It was beautiful.

I stand by, though, what I've already said. A violent, stranger rape is not the most common form of sexual assault. Mad Men depicting Joan being raped by her fiancé, that's the most common form. Did you know that research tells us that a person most often knows their perpetrator for 6 months? And, a good chunk of men would rape a woman if they knew there would be no consequences? And that's terrifying, I openly admit it, and that's why we shy away from talking about it or depicting it. I also think that it's important  that they are putting the rapist in the light of a "crazy man," thus furthering the stereotype that only crazy people do this.

A final thought: I've been watching the Private Practice fb page, because I've been curious to see what people say.  Most people are judging Charlotte.  No one blames her (ahem, violent stranger rape), but most people are judging her character.  Why didn't she say it was rape? Why isn't she stronger? Why would she comfort Coop? Why would she lie to the cops? Why didn't she report it? Why wouldn't she have a Rape Kit done; it's just like a pap smear."

And that, dear internets, is a fantastic picture of our society and our tendency to question rape victims.

*Victim: I fluctuate between victim and survivor in my work. I have seen victims who are still daily dealing (or not) with and hurting from and deeply affected by their assault.  I have also seen survivors, the people who have stepped to the other side of their assault.  For me, Charlotte is clearly a victim at this point.


Anonymous said...

Agreed - Charlotte is still a victim at the end of this episode. I guess I wanted her to still be strong - like she normally is - and she is strong as she comforts Coop & demands that she gets to choose whether she reports it or not. I know that we shouldn't look to TV to guide us in what we do, but I guess I was hoping that if she would have chosen to report it then maybe this character/show would be able to help victims find the courage to report rape.
Thanks for the reminders of some of the stereotypes that we perpetuate in our comments, thoughts, etc. Did not know you were working with rape victims and survivors. It will be interesting to see how they continue to develop this story in the next several weeks.

Nicole said...

I totally understand. As a person who loves the show I so wanted her to say something, because that's what I want. But I do appreciate them keeping it real, and I think that will have a greater impact in the end then her reporting right away... we shall see.