How to Portray Rape on Television

Rape is a crime that has become increasingly prevalent on TV shows. There’s even an entire show dedicated to it’s litigation, Law and Order: SVU. While it is not inherently bad for such crimes to be used in television, it is important that a character’s rape be an important moment in their history. For the victims of sexual violence in SVU, their stories very rarely last more than 45 minutes. One tragic story is substituted for the next creating a seemingly endless conveyor belt of sex crime after sex crime. I would argue that viewers almost become desensitized to the crimes, after potentially watching all sixteen seasons of the show. I believe Law and Order: SVU is a poor representation of portraying rape on screen. There is one show, however, that uses a horrific gang rape to permanently change the characterization of one of its lead characters. That show is Sons of Anarchy. Continue reading