It’s been nearly two days since I first viewed HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 3 (entitled Breaker of Chains). And the more I’ve thought about it the more I have fumed about it – in particular that rape scene. But something strange happened while I was jogging this morning. I came to wonder if this wasn’t the most grandest anti-rape advertisement of all time.
Please bear with me a moment on this one.
6.6 millions viewers watched this episode. And of these, a large chunk took to social media to view their opinion about the rape scene between Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his sister, Cersei (Lena Headey). Most of these Twitterers were vocal in saying that they believed that Jaime had raped Cersei – regardless of the fact that she succumbed to his advances at the end.
Let’s look at some real time statistics on rape:
- In the US, a person is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes. This adds up to approximately 237,868 people per year.
- Of this, approximately 60% of sexual assaults are never reported. Why?
- Because approximately 2/3 of assaults occur between people who know each other. 38% occur by friends or acquaintances of the victim.
- Add to this the fact that 97% of rapists will never see jail time and society now has a real problem on their hands.
Which brings us back to Jaime and Cersei. So guess what? They know each other. They know each other well, so well that they quite often involve themselves in consensual intimacy with each other. We now fall into that ‘2/3 of the victims know their assailant’ category.
And this is where the majority of Game of Thrones fans got it so wonderfully right: just because you know someone, and have had sex with someone in the past, doesn’t make it okay to bully them into consensual sex when they say no. So now all those people who make up that 60% of victims who never report the crime have just been told by the majority of the viewing audience of Game of Thrones that they agree that ‘no means no’ and that ‘just because you know the person’, it doesn’t make it right.
Way to go guys!
This brings me to the other thing about this rape scene. For every person out there that watched Game of Thrones on Sunday and went, ‘So? It’s Cersei, she’s a bitch and deserved it anyway,’ there was a multitude of people around them – because, let’s face it, EVERYONE talks about it over the water cooler – saying that, no, actually, it’s not okay. Regardless of what you think of someone, no one is EVER deserving of rape.
Not even when they know the person.
Not even when they say no, but end up saying yes.
HBO – even if they inadvertently did it (and I by no way think this was their true intention of that rape scene. I think they did it to out-shock people and for nothing more meaningful than that) – has now let people talk about and voice their opinions on where exactly that line is when it comes to rape.
Now maybe people who thought they wouldn’t report their sexual assault will hopefully think twice.
Now maybe those people out there who think it is okay to coerce people against their own better judgement will think twice.
Now for the other side of the coin:
This is where the toeline for rape gets REALLY murky in shows such as Game of Thrones – historically they are doing no wrong. That’s right, for every rape or corruption towards a female character we are seeing nothing more than what history has already shown us. For a TV show/novels such as George R.R. Martin’s, we are faced with the fact that if we want historical accuracy, we must also expect brutal honesty. For even though A Game of Thrones is based in a fictional world, there are certainly parallels between it and our medieval history.
For a great flip side to the rape debate regarding Game of Thrones, check out Connie J. Jasperson’s article by clicking here.
Sources: zap2it.com - Ratings: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, episode 3 matches series high in viewers
Rainn.org - Statistics page
(Photo Still Credit: HBO Inc.)