Here we go again – triggered and angered by the television.
I was watching one of my favorite shows – Life on Mars (new U.S. version of a BBC program). The plot very quickly went in a direction I didn't expect.
The main character, Sam, ends up being drugged and raped by a woman. She, like my rapist, presented herself as a "damsel in distress". He, like I, informed her that nothing but sleeping was going to happen as he, like I, was in love with someone else.
She then drugged him, restrained him and raped him while he was barely conscious or unconscious – that part is unclear. His memories of the night were shown in a drug addled haze of confusion and hallucinations meant to be both humorous and bizarre. While he was shown as disturbed (at least on some level) by the event, it is unclear whether he viewed it as rape.
Of course, the show didn't treat it like a rape in the slightest. His fellow cops – both male and female found it funny. Yes, getting drugged, restrained and then forced into sexual contact is just hilarious. While it was a plot device and not the focus of the show, it was still completely mishandled. This was an opportunity to make an important point, but it was instead used cheaply and badly.
Sadly, this is a recurring theme in movies and television. Recent examples include the rape of men by women in the movies "Wedding Crashers" and "40 Days and 40 Nights". All three examples ("Life on Mars", "Wedding Crashers" and "40 Days and 40 Nights") treat the actual rape like a joke. Why should I expect anyone else to treat it like the crime it is when that is message Hollywood sends?
Strangely enough, I was less triggered than angered by it. It so closely resembled my own rape that I very quickly connected to it. How could I not? To top it off, some of the reactions from other characters on the show mirrored some of the responses I've received.
Folks, possessing a vagina does not absolve a person for their actions where unwanted sexual contact is involved. Having a penis does not mean you can not be raped. Erections do not = consent. A woman forcing herself on a man does not = getting lucky.
WHY IS THIS SO DAMNED HARD TO UNDERSTAND?????