Game of Thrones is one of the most violent shows on television, and that extends to sexual violence, as well. Every other episode tends to feature a scene where mobs, armies or even main characters attempt to rape those around them. It was all overlooked for the most part through earlier seasons of the show, but then a controversial scene involving Jaime and Cersei Lannister set the internet alight and brought the topic to the foreground.
Since then, there’s been a lot of discussion on the sexual violence perpetrated against the women of Westeros, with some accusing the show of using rape as a crude plot device for cheap shocks. Others argued that the show was just following cues from the books, which are as full of rape as the medieval societies they’re based on.
Rape acts in Game of Thrones the TV series (to date): 50
Rape victims in Game of Thrones (to date): 29
Rape acts in ASOIAF the book series (to date): 214
Rape victims in ASOIAF (to date): 117
By her count, the books contain at least four times as much rape as the show and probably more. She later describes how difficulties estimating the number of gang rape victims in the books result in her numbers skewing low. Some other stats:
Rapes/Attempted Rapes that Appear In Both Works: 34
Victims in Both Works: 24
Rapes/Attempted Rapes that Appear in the Show Only: 16
Victims in Show Only: 5 (see below section re: Craster’s daughters)
Perhaps someone should nominate George R.R. Martin for a Guinness World Record: Most Rapes in a Series of Books. Martin had this to say regarding the accusation that his series had an over-reliance on sexual violence:
My novels are epic fantasy, but they are inspired by and grounded in history. Rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought, from the ancient Sumerians to our present day. To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the books: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. (And the heroes too). Each of us has within himself the capacity for great good, and great evil.
I’m sure the debate will rage on through the remainder of the season, as events in Westeros don’t seem like they’re on the verge of getting better for anyone. But while a healthy discussion is good, there’s an even better way to take this Game of Thrones debate and get something positive out of it: The same Tumblr user who compiled those rape stats also started “The Sansa Stark Project,” encouraging people to donate to rape crisis centers.
Every 107 seconds, a real woman is raped just like the character Sansa Stark was. Their trauma doesn’t end when a TV show fades to black.
If you’re in the US, your donation in Sansa Stark’s name would help RAINN or a local rape crisis center.
If you’re in the UK, your donation or volunteer work in Sansa Stark’s name will help Rapecrisis.
If you’re in Australia, SASS has a list of rape crisis centers that need your help.
(via Daily Dot)