Nonconsensual Sex is Still Rape, Game of Thrones by @willvanstonejr

Nonconsensual Sex is Still Rape, Game of Thrones, Rachel Thompson

*potential trigger warning — non graphic content*

Game of Thrones is well known for its depiction of rape; in Westeros, even King’s Landing where the king rules from the Iron Throne, it seems guaranteed sexual assault will happen. Sometimes, it’s front and center while other times, its somewhere in the background as storyline-moving events occur. When rape happens, it’s treated as a bad thing, which is the way it should be (hear that, General Hospital?) and, as I’ve said before, as long as it’s an honest depiction and fallout, I take no issue with it in stories. Game of Thrones, for all the complaints lobbed at it, handles it correctly.

At least, it did. Until it didn’t. Oh, yeah, #spoileralert.*

*If this is a spoiler, too bad. It happened last year.

Damn it, HBO, why’d you have to go and fuck it up!?

(And if anyone out there says, “the culture is different in Game of Thrones, so rape’s treated differently” this is for you.)

Sympathy for the Rapist

First off, I’m getting sick of seeing Cersei treated like a second class citizen. She’s a goddamned Dowager Queen, yet everyone seems to think she’s there for whatever purpose they see fit. I already bitched about her Walk of Shame – and that felt so good – but today I’m bitching about something even more heinous: her rape at her own brother/lover/babies daddy’s hands.

Ugh. Incest-rape. So gross.

Of course, it’s not the actual assault that annoys me; it’s the whole “oh, it wasn’t really rape” crap that came after, in a weak defense of the scene –and Jamie being all good and noble afterward that made me want to kick him in the nuts.

Listen, a rapist is a bad person. A very bad person. A very bad person who deserves to be punished for their crime in severe, scream-inducing ways. They should never be “redeemed,” and sent by their rape victim to bring their incest-baby home. Would you send your attacker after your (shared) daughter?

Um, no.

Now, I admit that when I first watched the episode and the scene beside the Brat-King’s cold body, I didn’t see it as rape. See, I’ve been a fan of the show since day one and all that time, Cersei and Jamie have had quite the twisted love affair, even for siblings. So, what I saw was another power play between the two. And, yes, I hoped Cersei was gonna grab that cloth, pull too hard and have Joffrey’s body fall right on top of them.

(Yeah, I know, I have a sick sense of humor. Get over it.)

Afterward, as I normally do, I hopped online for one last pre-sleep social media crawl. Unlike typical Sunday nights, there weren’t gasps and shocks and freak outs over some character’s demise; this night was filled with pure venom spat at HBO over the shocking rape scene that wasn’t in the book (it’s purely consensual there, George R. R. Martin even took to Twitter to say so).

Wait, what? Rape? When’d that happen?

So I rewatched it. And, yup, there it was.

Holy shit. What was gonna happen next? They’d spent a lot of time trying to make Jamie a sympathetic character, not that I ever bought it – he did push a ten-year-old boy out a window, and tried to have him assassinated when he survived – but others had.

What was HBO thinking?

Director Alex Graves said it was “consensual by the end because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.”

Um…what? Dude, she said “no,” like, a bunch of times and he said “I don’t care,” and refused to stop. That’s sooooo rape. Gah!

Nonconsensual Sex is Still Rape, Game of Thrones, Rachel Thompson

You can judge for yourself if you’d like. I can wait.

See? I told ya.

Now if y’all can see it, why can’t they?

Rape is Rape, No Matter What the Director Says

I guess I need to go over this again because there are some really stupid jerks out there who like to claim “it’s okay when she just goes with it,” which is never, ever true, plain and simple. The rule is so easy to remember; it’s only three small words:

No. Means. No.

But because reasons, some people try to make it somehow less rapey with phrases like nonconsensual sex. Weird, I thought that was the textbook definition of rape. Even Dictionary.com agrees:

“unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.”

Maybe Graves didn’t see that…or any other definition that basically says the same thing. Perhaps he’s illiterate? I mean, he’s the director, not the writer. Oh, wait, the writer put in the word “don’t” multiple times, so did he or she not realize what they were doing? Sure, sometimes when you’re typing away you don’t notice certain things, but someone, somewhere should’ve been like, “um, dudes? This doesn’t seem kosher.”

But nobody did. Not s single person has stated they tried to stop it, knowing full well that Jamie The Raper was going to continue his journey toward heroism.

Stop turning these bastards into saviors. It’s offensive to good taste, among other things. And stop taking strong characters like Cersei and using them for “shocking” scenes that amount to nothing but a hill of beans. If you wanted this horrific scene, which once again showed how talented this cast, especially Lena Headey, is, fine. But make it count. Rape is not something to treat lightly; it’s a serious event with serious consequences that can haunt a victim or survivor for years.

Why Bother Speaking Up?

Someone asked me, after writing about Luke and Laura, why I’d talk about something that happened before I was even born. This is why. In 2014, we had another rape/not-really-rape/sorta seduction on television; proof that society still sees rape as something that doesn’t deserve to be portrayed honestly. Hell, the director went so far as to defend his “interpretation” of the scene and basically tell everyone they were wrong.

No, dude, you were wrong. You were so busy trying to shock your audience, you showed your lack of empathy, compassion, and understanding. What a tool. Like DC Comics and General Hospital, Game of Thrones took what could’ve been an amazing opportunity to show how someone — in this case, a strong, powerful woman — is affected by something so intrusive and demeaning it can change everything. Instead, it was another write-off, and the criminal became his victim’s ‘white knight.’

So Hollywood.

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. I have a happier article in store, which proves not everyone is remedial. Well, it starts out not-so-nice, cause rape, but at least one show handled it so well, it should be the new standard we use to rate all others.

But that’s next month…

Broken Places is available NOW from Booktrope. It's already hit #1 on Women's Poetry and Hot New Releases on Amazon! Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo).

All content © 2015 by Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.


Why Everyday Sexism Should Matter To You

men-and-women-at-table--1024x683I want to share what I’ve experienced, a sort of report if you will, in sharing my stories about childhood sexual abuse, my experiences as a female human, and the responses from men. All of these examples are on my public Facebook wall or Twitter.

I want you to read these, and I want to hear what you have to say.

Before we start though, you have to watch this amazing video by John Oliver on Internet Sexism because he says it all. You can just stop reading and cruise around his YouTube channel for awhile. It’s cool. I don’t mind.

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

No explicit info here, so no trigger warning required. As most of you may know, I’m an author. I’ve written two books about CSA, Broken Pieces and Broken Places, published by Booktrope. Both have won awards and are bestsellers on Amazon. I’m now the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing others’ stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life. All amazing and I’m beyond honored to be in this position. I also created #SexAbuseChat on Twitter (join us any Tuesday, 6pm PST) with Bobbi Parish, survivor and certified therapist.

I share occasional snippets from my work on social media. This is a great way to not be all, ‘Buy my book!’ spammy, while still offering a glimpse, and if someone wants to purchase my work they can go to my bio where I have conveniently placed a link. When I shared this quote, from my latest memoir, Broken Places:

abuse alone

I received this response from a fella named G: You need to get over it.

I responded: Who is to say that writing about it doesn’t mean I’m not over it? And what if I’m not? That’s my business. Minimizing it shows a lack of compassion on your part. That line is from my latest release, which is memoir, meaning where I was at that time. Writing about our abuse is how we share and create community.

Now, I’m not proud of myself for getting defensive, so I’ll put that right out there. I am human. What I find very interesting here, however, is two-fold:

1) not one single woman has ever made a comment to me like that, in the four years since I released my first Broken book, but the other even more fascinating point, that I’m really digging deeper into is,

2) why does discussing abuse mean I’m not over it? Why does one have to equal the other? And even if I’m not ‘over it,’ (ever hear of PTSD?), why should that affect a stranger, a man who knows nothing of me personally except for this snippet I shared on social media?

I’m curious why there is this dismissive minimizing of survivor’s pain. What does that mean in the scope of our humanity? 

This has occurred with SO many men on the daily on my social media (and with so many other women), I could make this section pages long. I imagine it’s because I’m not afraid to discuss sexism, or feminism (that scary advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men — gasp!), or racism…as my friend Naomi says, maybe it’s the red hair. I don’t know.

I do know this: It’s a dangerous dance between fragility and strength many survivors balance daily. Compassion keeps us upright. That’s all I wish for anyone.

(I do feel the need to address the good men out there — there are many good men like many of you reading this, and I acknowledge that not all men, that most men are not like this. This article isn’t about you, the good men. I know you respect women and wouldn’t say these things. I have good men in my life, too, who are just as horrified at these comments. I feel you and thank you for being the honorable humans you are.)

Where does this derisive marginalization come from? Why do some men feel they are better than women, particularly in light of the fact that they were all birthed by woman?…but that’s so Freudian I’m afraid we’re getting into cigar territory here.

MANSPLAINING

Most people have heard this term but aren’t quite sure where it came from. I happened upon a wonderful article by Rebecca Solnit, feminist author and brilliant human, in Guernica Magazine — a thought-provoking piece she wrote back in 2008 titled, ‘Men Explain Things To Me,’ updated in 2012. I shared this piece on my Facebook wall and was promptly mansplained by a fellow named L, who took this article personally, apparently, explaining *cough cough* what is wrong with the piece and with Solnit’s sharing of her experiences.

L: My problem with blogs like this, and with the invention of new words like ‘Mansplaining’ , ‘Manterrupting’ and ‘Bropriation’ is that there is a huge logical gap between encountering arrogant males, and the concept of ‘male arrogance.’ Everybody (not just women) have to deal with arrogant males, interruption by males, and appropriation of ideas by males. But guess what — everybody (not just women) also have to deal with arrogant females, interruption by females, and appropriation of ideas by females. You can’t tarbrush the entire genus based on the actions of some members of the genus.

Me: Solnit has every right to share her experiences, and does an admirable job of saying that it’s ‘some men,’ not all men. What I see lacking here from most men who respond to this article (and the reaction, save one, has been defensive) is a distinct lack of empathy for what many women experience on the daily. This DOES happen and it DOES suck. Why is that so difficult for men to accept? Not all men do this, I agree. It’s not a competition. Yes, jerks exists in both genders. That’s not the point of her article.

He further explained: I am not dismissing Rebecca‘s experiences. I am pushing back against the invention of a new Lexicon that attempts to describe this behavior as an attribute of male-ness. That’s unfair to the entire genus, the majority of which would not behave this way.

I hope that’s clearer now?

Me: Did you just Mansplain, L? #irony 

Here are some great articles to read if you’re L, or any guy who needs to understand that maybe, just maybe, we females don’t think that every guy is sexist (though when trying to prove you’re not a sexist human, mansplaining what mansplaining is or is not to a woman might not be the best place to start — ya know, for future reference):

8 Things Some Asshole Says in Every Debate About Sexism via Cracked by Luke McKinney

Getting Called Out: Why Acknowledging Oppression Matters More Than Your Hurt Feelings by Erin Tatum

QUOTES BY FEMALES

I shared this quote just last week by Indra Nooyi, the female CEO of Pepsi:

indra nooyi pepsi CEO

and it was shared over 25 times. On one of those shares, D, a male friend of a friend, called out her quote as ‘stupid’ because it was:

D: Too optimistic. But I can get behind, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”, though (Hanlon’s razor).

I suggested that perhaps he should consider the source, given her success.

D: Nope. My viewpoint on ideas doesn’t change based on their source.

Okay, then.

  • I shared this quote by Ayn Rand: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” and five men scoffed with ad hominem attacks on her personal life and her looks.
  • Coco Chanel (liar and ugly),
  • Anne Sexton (boring),
  • Sylvia Plath (spoiled rich girl)…it goes on.

Nine out of ten times I post a quote by a female writer, guys comment (usually, with false information or assumptions) on the writer’s looks or personal life. Point is, I don’t remember needing male permission to post quotes by female authors and poets.

Oh right, I don’t.

My Own Quotes

If you know anything about social media, you may know that visuals get like, a lot more shares and retweets (okay, 94% more) than non-visuals. I usually use ReciteThis, and now I’m liking a new one so easy by Buffer even a monkey can use called Pablo by Buffer. I love it because in thirty seconds, you can take a quote, add it to a royalty-free pic they provide, even add a book cover or logo, and violá! Instant graphic.

So, I shared a snippet from a meme I created: write as if nobody is watching#WriteWhatScaresYou — I coach writers on this as well — and a fellow I’ve never interacted with before says:

J: It’s odd to quote and meme yourself. #justsayin 

Me: Well, considering that this is for my business, not so odd. I coach authors to write what scares them. Thank you for your input. 

J: You’re not understanding me. I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s a good thing. You shouldn’t do it. 

Well, since he doesn’t like it or approve, that’s all that matters, right? At this point, a girlfriend saw this public conversation and spoke up.

Her: Do you know that Rachel is a Huffington Post blogger and writes marketing articles for authors? That she is well-respected and a best selling author? She also created one of the most popular memes on Twitter, #MondayBlogs. It’s like telling Picasso how to draw, dude. 

J: Huh? 

Her: My point exactly. 

(It’s lovely having friends who have your back and make you feel fancy.)

Another example:

I received a message the other night from a right-wing conservative republican Christian (according to his bio) male:

Him: You’re gorgeous!!!!

Me: I’m here to advocate for sex abuse survivors and as a professional author, share my work.

Him: A thank you would suffice. Geez, girly, can’t you take a fuckin’ compliment? Fuckin’ feminists. 

Sigh.

SEX ABUSE CHAT

So many inappropriate comments from people who ignore the hashtag, don’t know that a chat is a chat, or throw in their two cents completely off topic, etc. The most egregious are the men who demand that the chat be private, because discussing abuse on a public forum is “embarrassing” or “inappropriate,” as if survivors have done something wrong. (Don’t even get me started on the man, a professor, who told me American women should ‘stop whining and be thankful for ‘a little bit of rape’ that happens on college campuses, because that’s nothing compared to what happens in the Middle East or Africa.’ I know.)

The entire point of having a public Twitter chat is to remove the shame and stigma associated with childhood sexual abuse! CSA knows no boundaries, and it occurs, sadly, to both genders (1 in 4 girls, 1 in 6 boys before the age of 18, and 90% know their abuser — Source, RAINN.org).

We need to recognize that the need to explain ourselves is closely related to our desire for approval ~ Bobbi Parish

Gosh, that explains so much, doesn’t it?

POSITIVITY

My goal, in sharing many of my quotes and articles, is to show that while trauma sucks, recovery doesn’t. It’s a beautiful, positive way to help others while helping myself, to show those who are struggling there is a light. I receive so many wonderful messages from both genders that my words have helped them in so many ways, and that warms my heart. It’s been the most surprising and heartwarming part of this strange trip.

Just last night, in fact, as I was about to fall asleep, my phone buzzed. It was a DM from a lady who read my above quote about compassion. She thanked me for sharing that little bit of consciousness, because she was ‘having a wobble, and your quote set me back on the straight path. Your words matter.’ I cried a little bit at that.

Makes up for all the shit, doesn’t it?

For every person who slams me down, I thank them in my heart, sincerely, because they reaffirm that I am on the right path, because even a negative reaction is creating an emotional response.

It’s like getting a 1-star review: at least they are taking the time to read and respond, and that’s a win. But even I have boundaries. I’ve blocked a few of the above guys who’ve become abusive, or show their colors right from the start.

Nobody deserves that.

I want your examples, thoughts, opinions, darts, whatever below! And thanks for reading.

Broken Places is available NOW from Booktrope. It's already hit #1 on Women's Poetry and Hot New Releases on Amazon! Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo).

All content © 2015 by Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.


General Hospital’s Fail: How Rape Became Seduction by @willvanstonejr

General Hospital's Fail: How Rape Became Seduction

Luke and Laura are the super couple that all other super couples on daytime (and sometimes nighttime) soap operas are compared to. The two of them saved the world more than once, acting like a pair of lovesick superheroes straight out of any Marvel … [Continue reading]

The Secret You Shouldn’t Keep by guest Allison J. Kennedy (@authorajkennedy)

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It gnaws at the frayed edges of your nerves. It makes you wish you were invisible. It rests quietly and doesn’t speak until you close your eyes to go to sleep. It spills out of your eyes and burns your cheeks like acid because you have already cried … [Continue reading]

How Social Comparison Makes Facebook Suck

blue wall office

I just read this on someone's Facebook wall: "If you post something on your wall that I don't like, I will attack you. I don't have to agree with what you post, so expect my vitriol." Huh, I didn't realize that was how this worked. I thought my … [Continue reading]

Please Stop Censoring Me by guest J.C. Hannigan (@jcahannigan)

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There is nothing that I detest more than having someone tell me what I can and cannot write about. When someone tries to censor my storytelling by telling me not to write about certain topics….I get pissed. My stomach twists with aggravated … [Continue reading]

Josh Duggar’s Victims Deserved Better by @TruthisHers

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The internet has been buzzing since police reports were made public on Thursday, May 21st detailing charges that Josh Duggar molested five minor females on multiple occasions in 2002 and 2003. Josh is the eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, … [Continue reading]

We’ve Lived In Shame Long Enough

trashed car interior

This article first appeared as a guest post on the amazing Nicole Lyons' The Lithium Chronicles and is reprinted here with attribution and her permission.    Every morning, as I drive my child to school and back, I pass an old brown El … [Continue reading]

The Reason Batman Failed the Boys Who Idolize Him by @willvanstonejr

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Please welcome new contributor Will Van Stone Jr. to the blog! Will has been a huge help with #MondayBlogs and I'm pleased to have him to share his Superheroes & Survivors series with us.  Damien Wayne is a rape baby. Wayne. As in the son of … [Continue reading]

#MondayBlogs Giveaway May 2015

MB-FINAL-LOGO-KLM

Since I created #MondayBlogs in late 2012, even I'm shocked at what an amazing success it has become! Thousands participate each week, generating more than 5,000 tweets! And it is because of all of you that we can say that with a lot of pride and a … [Continue reading]

Abuse Survivors, It’s Time to Heal Ourselves by @TruthisHers

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  I’ve been in recovery from my childhood abuse for thirty years. For the last 18 years I’ve worked with thousands of survivors as both a therapist and a trauma recovery coach. Healing from childhood abuse is a complicated, lengthy and … [Continue reading]

Top 3 Reasons Censoring Your Writing Is Holding You Back

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There will be cursing today. Run away if that bothers you. I don't mind. Do you worry what others think about you? Do you sit at your computer screen, paralyzed to type what you really want to say for fear of what your mom, husband, brother, … [Continue reading]

Bullied, by Guest Steven M. Cross (@stevecrosswords)

bully-655660_1280

Please welcome booktrope author Steven M. Cross as he shares his story on bullying.  I despise bullying. I hate it, and that’s why I wrote a book about it. The ironic thing is that my intense dislike of it happened not so much because I was … [Continue reading]

Self-Promotion Sucks…Because You’re Doing It Wrong

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There have been a few posts circulating recently about how authors who self promote are basically assholes, because self-promotion doesn't work to sell your books. I agree. Wait, before you freak out on me, She Who Is A Marketing Person, let me … [Continue reading]

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