You had a responsibility – one job really, to deliver good TV. No one is asking for great, no one expects Shadowhunters to win Golden Globes. No one expects anything besides a plotline that makes sense and is cohesive, words that can drive the story forward, and some enjoyable character moments.
I get it – you, the writers of the second season of Shadowhunters, were left with a monumenta task. Somehow you had to create watchable TV out of the clusterfuck that was Ed Decter’s first “season” of this show. I get that there were already a million plot holes and a million things wrong.
I get it.
I respect the fact that you are have to try to please a million people and book fans and TV fans alike. I get that you are trying to unite a fandom that is so deeply broken that every day in it is a horror show, and that you don’t know what to do. I get that you have to try to rope in a book audience that felt deeply betrayed and disrespected by this show’s first season – because you need them. So I respect the fact that you found a way to introduce Clary’s incredibly important ability to create runes.
What I don’t get? How you allowed the perpetuation of rape culture.
Maybe I am offended because I survived being raped. I survive it every day. Maybe I am offended because I will never forget the feel of someone wrapping their hand around my neck and squeezing it so tight that I thought I was going to die. Maybe it’s cause I will never forget the fear.
See, I can’t understand how you had a house full of raped women in the show for no reason. Really, it’s for no reason. So you could create pulp entertainment that made use of rape for effect? This wasn’t the threat of rape — it was rape that had been enacted a dozen, a hundred times, on women by Iris and her demon. It was rape that Alec and the other “heroes” of our story had no reaction to, didn’t even seem disgusted by. All so you could introduce some monster of the week demon? So you could fill a story hole that you don’t know how to fix? So you could introduce more original characters we’re not interested in, that will take time and story space away from the main characters who desperately need it
Rape can have its place in a story. No one wants a policy of total silence on topics that affect real women every day. The idea of exploring the darkness of the existence of warlocks, almost all of whom are born from rape, wouldn’t be a problem. The fact that Clary was almost raped but remained unaffected and that the house full of raped women was a prop of the week that the Shadowhunters don’t seem interested in investigating? That’s a problem.
Even then, I could have just written a really bad review. I would have left it at that. But the show runner and members of the cast decided to make jokes about the situation. Jokes.
And it makes me sick to my stomach.
Let me give you some facts about rape –
· 1 in 4 women and 1 out of 6 men are sexually abused in their lifetime; Department of Justice)
· In 8 out of 10 rape cases, the victim knows the attacker; (Department of Justice)
· Nearly 6 out of 10 sexual assaults occur in the victim’s home or the home of a friend, relative or neighbor; (Department of Justice)
· 13.3 percent of college women say they have been forced to have sex in a dating situation; (Journal of Interpersonal Violence)
· Only 28 percent of victims report their sexual assault to the police; (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
Date rape is not something to joke about. I was raped on a date. I attempted suicide from it. My life was changed in a way that I can never describe. Let me tell you what I can’t do because of it. Think about these before you make fun of rape.
· I can’t hold a relationship
· I can’t sleep through the night
· I can’t be stuck in an elevator
· I can’t ride in a car with a man unless there are others present
· I can’t hold normal conversations
· I can’t sleep in the dark.
· I can’t let anyone hug me.
And that barely covers the tip of the iceberg.
So when you write about something about rape, when you make a joke about rape – think twice. There are people out there listening. There are people whose life has been affected by it. I don’t get to make jokes about it, because I live it. Daily.
For the rest of my life.
And the fact that you decided to take it so casually – that you could joke about the attempted rape of a main character and the rapes of many minor characters… you perpetuated rape culture.
Sure, I get we got to see Clary’s power. But there were a million other ways to do that. The moment in the book where we discover what she could do was immensely cinematic. I wish I’d been able to watch that instead of the triggering nightmare I got instead.