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TV shows should take proper care in accurately depicting assault victims’ stories

TV shows should take proper care in accurately depicting assault victims’ stories

TV shows should take proper care in accurately depicting assault victims’ stories
November 21
21:43 2019

The representation of assault victims, whether it be sexual, physical or verbal is important. 

It’s important to talk about trauma. It can help victims not feel so in the dark about it and help others learn about the depths of it. Yes, it might be hard, but seeing the darker side of things is beneficial.

There are shows like “13 Reasons Why” that don’t do a good job of representing victims and instead have the audience sympathizing with a rapist.  

There should be a special emphasis placed on the aftermath of being assaulted. The fear of not being believed or of nothing coming out of it. Being brushed off is something that tends to happen after an assault, too. Life after being assaulted is difficult and the aftermath of it isn’t really something that gets depicted. 

Many have gone through some form of assault or abuse at one point or various points in their lives.

Trauma shows itself in different ways and can be depicted in the media in more ways than one. You can lose touch with reality and your memory can be impaired when it comes to what trying to remember what happened.

These are conversations we should be having and more depictions of victims in the media makes room for that. 

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU)” has been around for about two decades and shows a dramatized version of things. There’s a focus on the detectives and their reactions to cases, the legal system aspect of it, and even insight on the victims. The victims’ stories are still heard and touched on which sets a good foundation for representation.

Although the show does have a history of glamorizing some of the issues presented, it has still opened a discussion about sexual assault and has even helped educate viewers. We often see detectives going out of their way for victims in the show, but that’s not necessarily the case in real life. 

A couple of months ago Netflix released the show “Unbelievable,” which is centered around the story of Marie Adler, a rape victim. There are doubts about her story, even coming to a point where she’s accused of making the whole thing up. Something that makes this show different from similar ones like it, is that it’s based on a true story. The writers of the show worked closely with the real-life Adler and reporters of her story.

It’s a properly executed portrayal of her story that brought more awareness to her case. The show is captivating and does a great job at depicting a heartbreaking story and trauma that others can possibly relate to. There is more focus being placed on the victim in this show than in “SVU.” 

In season five of adult cartoon “BoJack Horseman,” an example of physical assault is shown with BoJack strangling his co-star, Gina Cazador. BoJack strangles her, to a point where it nearly kills her. Yet, it ends up getting swept under the rug. The aftermath is touched on later though in an episode of the recently released sixth season.

No one around Gina knows what’s going on with her or what caused such a change in her demeanor. Although it was only one episode, there’s still the other half of the season left to be released to see how her life afterward will continue to unfold. This storyline shows the fear of what happened becoming something that “defines” you when there is always much more to you than that. Gina Cazador wanted the focus on her to be about her career as an actress, rather than just being a victim. 

Assault is a topic that can be touched on in many different shows and as evidenced in “BoJack Horseman,” even animated adult ones can. 

It’s real and dark and there shouldn’t be a stigma around it. Showing these struggles will help spread an important message and raise awareness. 

There’s a horrible reality of not coming forward because of scenarios like Marie Adler, but with more representation in the media for stories like this, it can help spark up an important conversation and potentially bring awareness to this important topic.

Featured Illustration: Jeselle Farias

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Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas

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