The episode of police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt as a guest star aired in the US last night and the scenes were highly distressing.
The former Ghost Whisperer star played a battered and bruised woman, Vicki Sayers, who has been brutally raped by the same man over a period of fifteen years.
As I mentioned in my Rape Culture post below, there is a disturbing number of rape plotlines in primetime lately.
True a lot of violent crime against women consists of rape. So I concede that it makes sense that, when women are victims on CSI or Criminal Minds, rape is almost to be expected.
However there is something very sickening about how it's increasingly fodder for entertainment, how it's depcted not so much in a horrifying way but in a kinky sexual way.
Of course, none of the shows sanction rape but they sure get lurid about it.
I don't know. Maybe I am just getting old.
What do you think?
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: I see from comments coming in -- which the Star mods have yet to post -- that some people believe that these TV rapes are instructive. Perhaps they are.
But here's the thing: The majority of actual rapes are committed not by strangers and serial killers, as we so often see in media, but acquaintancesof the victim.
Sometimes it's called ''date rape.'' Sometimes abuse. Sometimes incest. It's still rape.
So how do these gruesome TV plotlines fit in with informing viewers of men's responsibility not to rape if the perpetrators in these episodes are, more often than not, portrayed as sick, violent sociopaths?
The reality is different (PDF).
Police-reported data, which include victims of every age, indicate that the accused was a family member in nearly a third (31%) of sexual offence incidents that came to the attention of law enforcement in 2007, with extended family members (10%), the victim’s parents (10%), or some other immediate family member (7%) identified as the accused most frequently. Less often, relatives accused in sexual assaults were current or former spouses (4%), and rarely were they the victim’s child (0.3%). Similar to the proportion of sexual offences where the accused was a relative, 28% of police-reported sexual assaults involved offenders who were casual acquaintances of the victim. To a lesser extent, offenders were identified as friends (8%), authority figures (6%), current or former boyfriends/girlfriends (5%), or business acquaintances (4%) of the victims.
So I don't buy the notion that there's something ''instructive'' in the gruesome rapes (and murders) of women in entertainment media.