WARNING: This post discusses a topic of a sensitive nature concerning sexual assault.
FYI, at least 50% of my blog posts ideas come from television shows. I see something and I'm all like "oh yeah, that'd make an interesting blog post", except a lot of times it falls flat and said post never sees the front page. But this topic, inspired in part by a show, just felt too important to not publish.
Do any of you watch Reign? If you don't, you really should! It's pretty much the story of Mary Queen of Scots, except way more interesting and addicting than it sounds. It's usually not a very heavy show. (Think Vampire Diaries and Originals, except minus the vampires and hello royals!) So, despite the fact that the events of last week's episode were somewhat rooted in historical fact, it was a controversial one.
Please note: The following paragraphs may contain multiple spoilers!
The above clip is only a portion of an immensely empowering scene that takes place between two queens moments after disaster strikes. The French castle has been invaded by Protestants in the middle of the night with the intent to assassinate the Catholic King. Mary, the Queen of Scotland and also the Queen of France through marriage, is found by the men alone in her bed chambers. It is at that point that one of the men sexually assaults her as another man holds her arms and yet another one watches. It was this scene (which you can watch an edit of here if you want, but I won't embed it because it hurts my heart </3) that led a handful of viewers to threaten boycotting the show because "she is a Queen!" and "why would they [the writers] do that to one of our favorite characters?!" Comments to which I respectfully wave a hand at and say "bye, Felicia."
I understand that it was a jarring scene and I think it would've been good for the network to have put a warning of some kind at the beginning of the episode (which they neglected to do), but I am satisfied with the way they included it, as well as the touching scene between two women that followed. It was tastefully done, well, as tasteful as something like that can ever been depicted (which, for the record, is difficult considering how utterly tasteless not to mention despicable the act is). It wasn't graphic but it also wasn't sugar-coated. It was real. And despite commenters insistences that they "didn't agree with it's inclusion because it was unnecessary" (a statement that makes me want to strangle puppies and smash head into walls), we have to remember that no one decent agrees with rape, and moreover, reality doesn't care if we agree. Reality just is. We cannot be afraid to see the things that happen in everyday life to everyday people. It's the outrage that people express and disagreeing with it being included in the media that contributes to the culture that makes women feel like they have to hide what happened to them.
The episode depicting Mary's rape, although difficult to digest, did so many important things. It showed the reality of the situation, the terror and the heartbreaking aftermath. That these things happen to Queens too, despite what society might lead us to think. That we can bond with each other over the horrible experiences that we have and lift each other up, as opposed to shaming each other. And that we are so much stronger than we ever imagined, that we can and will survive. How can anyone disagree with that?
These stories need to be told! Women, especially the young girls who might be watching shows like this one, need to see, they need to know, that survival is possible. That horrible, horrendous things like sexual assault happen. That they aren't to blame. That even a character that we love, a queen, someone who is quite literally guarded by an entire nation can be hurt in this way. This isn't an experience fated only to bad people. Horrible things happen to good people too, and as queens, we can survive it all.
What do you think about television shows incorporating heavy scenes like this into their shows? Please do share any thoughts in the comments below. If we don't talk about these things, who will?