I started watching Game of Thrones with my boyfriend. In Season 3, there is a scene where Sansa is about to be gang raped by a mob when the Hound saves her. This scene sparked a conversation. We briefly mentioned how hard it had to have been to film a scene like that as a teenage girl. With my knowledge of history and present day, I had to mention it was totally accurate saying, “can you imagine it actually happened, though?”
I didn’t even mean to bring myself into the equation. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it until the words were leaving my mouth. I quickly glanced at my boyfriend seeing the look in his eye. We had the same thought at the same time. Sometimes, I can forget. I was barely older than Sansa when a Hound never showed up to save me from the fate Sansa narrowly missed in that episode.
We like to say how horrible it is shows like Game of Thrones use rape to further the plot…. But it’s realistic. Are we forgetting rape was incredibly prevalent then? I know we like to forget how prevalent it is now. We say that rape is just being thrown in there to add shock value. People don’t want it in the show because they don’t want to see their favorite characters go through something so traumatic. I get it.
There are actually people who have to live with rape in their pasts, their presents, their futures. Not so long ago, I was raped more often than I needed a new roll of toilet paper. No writer added a rape scene into my weekly routine for shock or entertainment value; it just was life. I highly doubt any writer wants to write a rape scene. Personally, I have never enjoyed it. It’s grotesque. It always makes me feel vile and dirty. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. If I’m writing about my life… I have to write about rape. It’s a part of my life. For so many women and men too, it is a part of our stories. Just because they aren’t as open about it as I am, doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
Art mimics reality, and rape is a reality. If we leave it out of our TV, books, art, or any other form of narrative, we’re not showing reality; we’re engaging in escapism.