A few nights ago, I had a bit of a meltdown. My husband Michael and I were watching an episode of the TV show Outlander (season 1) and the main female character, Claire was about to be raped FOR THE SECOND TIME in the SAME episode. If you watch the show, rape is not an uncommon theme.
The night before that, Michael and I were watching another TV show, Good Behavior. In this particular episode, the main female character Letty, was nearly raped.
Then there are shows like Game of Thrones, where rape and violence towards female characters is all too common. Rape has also been used as a plot point on Downton Abby, Scandal, Law & Order SVU, The Walking Dead, House of Cards, The Sopranos, Veronica Mars, Mad Men, Inside Amy Schumer, Orange Is The New Black, Tyrant, Stalker, Shameless, The Americans, Top of the Lake among many other TV shows, movies, and books.
Back to the other night. As the second assault was about to take place on TV, my already high boiling point (when I see such scenes) hit the roof. I yelled, “Enough!” I got up from my chair, abruptly displacing the sleeping cat on my lap and continued to yell at the top of my lungs. As I marched out of the room, my husband called out to me, “Are you upset with me? What can I do to help?” As I stomped down the stairs, hitting my full freak-out stride, I screamed back, “I’m so sick of seeing this. It’s NOT entertainment!”
Energy was coursing through me. I was so angry. I was flooded with adrenaline. If anyone crossed me at that moment, they would have been left a bloody pulp. It would have been a great time to take a kickboxing class. I paced the kitchen, with my hands gripped together. For a few minutes, the fight or flight sensation stayed with me. Then I began to come down, off of a high almost. My hands were achy from gripping them too tight. I noticed my throat raw and sore from screaming. After a few more minutes I was drained of most energy and at 8:30 pm, I decided it was probably best to just go to bed.
The following day, I felt tired and drained. I felt defeated, small, and insignificant. My body was sore from an hour of hard weight lifting the previous day. But the sensation was adding to my overall feeling of weakness. Usually, I’m fairly strong both mentally and physically. But not that day.
I’m so tired of seeing violence towards women everywhere – TV, movies, the news, comics. Hearing about it everywhere – Harvey Weinstein, John Besh (chef) and everyone who came before them (who we know about) and those we don’t know about. Child brides, the sex slaves, the sex trade, prostitution, selling of humans and on and on and on. It’s endless.
In India, female children are sold so their family can eat and rape is a common everyday occurrence. In Asia, prostitution is a highly sought-after commodity. In the Middle East, woman are oppressed, not considered equal and even their dress is decided so men will not be tempted. In the US – where do I start?
How does this change?
Where do we start?
How are we listened to, heard, and taken seriously?
How is this issue not blown over and forgotten about?
How are excuses no longer accepted?
How is this behavior no longer part of a “good old boys club”?
How does the abuse, objectification, and sexualization of women no longer turn a profit, boost ratings, cause a social media stir, etc. and is no longer accepted as entertainment?
Anything less than wanting the answers to these questions and the willingness to help seek out those answers is – part of the problem.