A Rape Victim Speaks Out on the Sansa Scene

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

(THIS WAS SENT TO ME ANONYMOUSLY – POSTING IT WITHOUT CHANGING A WORD)

SPECIAL THANKS FOR AUDIO BY @YOURPOWERISMINE 

Woman looking out of window, close-up, cropped

Sorry. This is a 6,500 word therapeutic rant. But I had to write to get it out of my head. And then I had to tell someone, and you were the only person I could think of (sad isn’t it). I wrote it like a blog entry, but it is ridiculously long, waffling and probably in need of serious editing. I don’t know what else to do I am not strong enough to join the discussion forums. I hoped you could do something with it. You can do with it what you like. It is about GoT 506 and the Sansa scene. And why it was not a good change, and why rape shouldn’t be a plot device. But I don’t know how coherent it is. I am a mess, and I can’t face re-reading it. Please keep speaking up. I’m not strong enough. I’m sorry to dump this on you but you seem to get it. I just want to let someone know. I havn’t been able to sleep since Sunday, so this might not make any sense. I don’t need a friend or support, just a voice. I am sorry. I will not bother you again. Thankyou for your anger.

Rape should not be a plot device and I am the reason why.

I used to love the ASOIAF fandom. I’ve never posted in any forums, but I read them. There were always the assholes you get everywhere the dudebros, the ignorant and uninformed, the rape apologists. But there were also strong, vocal well informed and caring people who could speak well on difficult topics with care and compassion and tried to inform or educate the idots, the uncaring, the apparently sociopathic. People who stood up for people like me who were in the fandom but were not strong enough to join some of the conversations.

Because of the world we live in there is no surprise that Sansa gets a lot of hate. She isn’t my favourite character either, but I loved how a man was able to capture the naïve thoughts of a young girl. Yes she made mistakes. Every character in the series has made mistakes. Have you never made a mistake? But even after all she went through in the books there are some who want to see her puinshed more. See she “betrayed” their man Ned, refused their favourite Tyrion, so she deserves to be punished. And they are vocal. They show up in discussions of Sansa’s character arc, analyses of her character, SanSan threads etc. to restate over and over their hatred for this “weak”, “stupid”, “naïve” girl because she is not what they want her to be, or she doesn’t do what they think they would have done.

No, because she is not them. She is a surprisingly realistic depiction of a young woman who doesn’t know everything and is brutalised by the system she lives in and the people around her. I got used to these people. I got used to how they would go out of their way to intrude on any discussion to reiterate how “weak” she was (because feminine is weak to them), how much of a “bitch” she was, because of course they say that. But there were always strong voices pushing back, with quotes, with their own experiences and understandings of her development. These books offer such a rich world and characters to discuss, and I used to love to read along with the discussions, the essays, the analysis the crackpot theories. These books can stand up to so much of it, that is why I love them. This was my “home”, my fandom, my quiet place.

Then there was Game of Thrones…

More people joined the discussion which was great, I want more people to love what I love, because I think I love good things (just like everybody else does). But with them came more crap. This was to be expected, some people are crap, throw crap, or know crap all.

I convinced people I know to watch the show, because it was going to be one of the best things on television. An adaptation of one of the best works of fiction I had ever read. Realistic to the time period that inspired it, but with dragons, and direwolves, and white walkers and magic. It was going to be a complex political thriller, with wars and plots and murders. A chance to put on screen some strong female characters and well developed character arcs that genuinly explored the brutality and difficulty often glossed over in sword and sorcery tales. The Sopranos, meets The Wire, meets LOTR. I convinced people to watch it. Because I loved this work and this fandom. It was where I belonged. Even if I couldn’t join in.

After episode 506, I will not be watching any longer. I have asked the people I know to not watch, but they don’t understand and I can’t explain. They still think it is entertaining even though they admit it is getting worse the last two seasons. They are not big readers and prefer to watch things, and after all, I said this was the best thing I had ever read, I said it was going to be awesome. Me. I did that.

I can’t convince them to stop watching because there is a reason I don’t join in discussions. And it’s the same reason I love these books. I am a rape victim. Don’t call me a survivor. I didn’t survive it. It changed me. I used to be a different person. Outgoing, bubbly, intelligent, inquisitive, strong. I’m not me anymore. For half of my life now I have been some wasted shell of a person; useless, reclusive (literally), reserved, scared. What “survived” is not me.

I read fantasy books to escape. But that doesn’t mean I want them to gloss over what life is really like. I don’t want people like me erased from stories. We exist. ASOIAF knows that and shows that, in a way I can identify with, and I appreciate that so much. The strong women like Brienne, who is so delicate on the inside, Catelyn who doesn’t have to weild a sword to win a war and Sansa. Yes, even Sansa, the victim of so much, who learns how to keep herself safe in a dangerous world without becoming a violent monster like those around her (and yes, I’ll admit to SanSan shipping, because I’m still a little naïve in my head and want her to have her knight in rusty armour who would never hurt her, and for him to have a real family who loves him).

Mr Martin handles the content of his material well, in my opinion. He is a long-time feminist as far as I know, (though I heard him say he doesn’t use that word anymore, as someone told him men can only be allies – which I disagree with. Please use the word if you believe in equal rights ser, it needs to be heard from the mouths of men, especially ones with “power”.) He doesn’t shy away from the hardships women face, he doesn’t hide our pain, he makes you face it and always with respect for the victims. He doesn’t let you forget what happened to them, or why, or who is to blame.

In my opinion Mr Martin doesn’t resort to damaging, insulting and overused tropes like “rape empowers women”. He never has a character raped and have it not affect them (looking at you D&D with that god-awful sept scene). It is reflected on, talked about, dealt with properly. I wouldn’t read it if it was treated flipantly. In my opinion it is not used for shock value (some may disagree, but I can only speak from my experince). It always fits the story, the character, the situation, it is never glorified or glossed over (the Craster’s Keep scene anyone?). The plot never seems contrived just to fit in a rape. It always makes sense. The character’s reactions always make sense. And he doesn’t blame the victim.

Then there was Game of Thrones…

THAT scene in 506. It was well written, it was well directed and well acted, the set was beautiful, everyone who worked on it did well. I will accuse them or blame them, they are employees doing a good job, they deserve praise for how they handled it with dignity, especially Alfie Allen (WHERE IS HIS EMMY ALREADY, ENOUGH WITH NOMINATING DINKLAGE FFS! no offence Mr Dinklage). The buck for that scene starts and ends with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
It was them who read the books and “loved” the Jeyne Poole sub-plot. It was them who planned to include it since season 2 (apparently the only thing they planned ahead for). It was them who set it up so, defying all in-show logic, they could make Sansa go to Winterfell how and when she did.

Why did Little-Finger do that? How did he not know about The Bastard of Bolton? Why did he not send troops with her, or sstay longer? Why did Sansa agree? Why not wait until the battle was over rather than put his most valuable pawn in two types of danger? IT MAKES NO SENSE! It is contrived.

If they wanted to give Sophie Turner more to do, how about an intregue plot where she actually learns something, bests Little-Finger, or conquoers the Vale, or becomes the “hooded man” in Wintefell, anything else. Is it not exciting enough without the threat of rape? And to a character who has been nothing but a victim in their story. They already gave her Lollys’ “rape” in the King’s Landing Riot, although they had to stop short because Sophie wasn’t 18 then, right?

I don’t understand what was wrong with the Northern Lords being there and plotting, they lost so many great moments and all of the Stark’s vengeance with the changes they made this year. Not to mention cutting the only female heir and any mention of women having power in Dorne, in exchange for badly written cartoon female warriors, sorry I mean, “little girls”.

They wanted the Jeyne sub-plot, that is the only logical explanation. And they resolved to make it happen any way they could. Why not just leave in Jeyne then? We met Jeyne. I remember Jeyne. Jeyne looked like me.

They could have kept the line where Reek is told to get her ready and then cut away. You don’t need to be graphic. We know what happens to Jeyne in the books, but practically all of it is “off screen”, and that is all it needed to be. We know what Ramsay is like. We can imagine what happens. But then, they also had to put Theon’s torture on screen (and sexualise it) didn’t they? AND ALFIE ALLEN DIDN’T EVEN GET AN EMMY NOMINATION. They could have kept the part where she begs Reek to help her escape before the wedding and he can’t. At least she knew what was coming. They made Sansa look like either fool, or like a pawn. Have they even called the scene a rape?
I don’t blame Bryn Cogman for his questionable interview quote saying Sansa choose this, and was a hardened woman making a choice. He has to come up with stuff to justify what he has been told to write. But I don’t believe it. I didn’t see any real choice. Did THAT happen off screen?

They told us Sansa was empowered, a player. I mean, they literally had Little-Finger just say it. We never saw that for ourselves. All I saw was a clichèd costume change. If only I could get over my past with a new dress rather than over a decade of medication and therapy, how easy life would be. In the sample chapter Mr Martin released we see her learning and growing and safe(ish). SHOW DON’T TELL. Writing 101.

Then Sansa and Little-Finger were on the road to Winterfell when he asked her to go along with his plan, so what choice did she have? When was she fully informed? Could she have turned around and gone back to The Vale? No. Because Benioff and Weiss “loved” the Jeyne sub-plot, so she had to go. And the characters not knowing about Ramsay is just another contrivance to excuse their choice. I don’t buy that either. It makes no sense. It is an excuse for what THEY chose to do.

Sorry I’m rambling. This is hard to talk about.

Jeyne is not empowered by the rape. It is not a plot device to move her arc forward and make her a “player”. It is not something for her to overcome, it is horrific and devastating. Her and Theon are both abused in that sceen (yes Reek being forced to preform sex acts on Jeyne is also rape of him, but they managed to cut that out well enough). Yes Jeyne’s abuse serves Theon’s arc more than her own (she is not a main character, we are not all heroes) some of us are powerless, used by others and thrown away. That is life. That is gritty reality. And stories have to have side-characters or it would be impossible to tell any stories, and Jeyne is one of them. But she is not the only reason Reek’s arc progresses, there are also the hooded man, the Northern Lords, Barbery Dustin etc.

But her and Reek’s shared abuse leads him to sympathise with a “small-folk”, someone he would have looked down on before (like in that scene with Osha in season 1). And he remembers himself and risks everything to save them both (it is now her who is terrified to flee). Two damaged people fleeing their terrors into the unknown in the hope that they find safety, but knowing they will never be the same again. The broken saving the broken, no true heroes, just a chance to have some sembalence of life (even if it just to keep breathing). I know that feeling. Being too afraid to flee because worse might happen if you do, but running anyway, dragged by someone else, dead inside and all because of someone elses “fun”. It is not empowering. (What I experienced was nowhere near as bad, but I still identified with Jeyne).

This sub-plot is not something to be handled by men who can’t even decide what rape is. Did Cersei want it or not? D&D say one thing, the direector says another. Did Sansa have a choice? Cogman says yes (though has not clarified whether he considers this rape – hint IT WAS, even by in-world and historical satandards, old law does not change the definition of words, so stop trying to excuse it all you people in comments sections. It was). What do D&D say? Nothing. They don’t respond to internet criticism. They don’t respond to any criticism. They only give puff interviews for publicity. They don’t face any repurcussions so long as people keep watching.

Jeyne is not empowered, she is broken. She is not now going to become a player. So what will happen with Sansa’s character now that they have contrived to make her Jeyne? Do these men have any idea of the impact rape has on a person? (Nevermind the in her dead parents bed for the benefit of the people who murdered her family angle.) Have they talked to rape survivors/victims to make sure they develop the character properly and with respect? Have they even thought about it beyond – it will show Ramsay is a monster and Sansa is strong because it won’t “break” her and NOW she really has a reason to hate them (like killing her family wasn’t enough). And I bet she will even forgive poor Theon for all he did in destroying her home and getting everyone she knows there killed, if not her brothers, because women are forgiving, especially feminine ones like her right, that’s StrongTM? She isn’t a “badass”, and they don’t want her to be a “bitch”, right?

Jeyne is still broken. Mr Martin does not allow us to forget her, she is still there, still thought of, still in your mind. I remember Jeyne. Jeyne was like me. Broken.

The way this show uses women, makes them one dimensional, either masculine and strong, or feminine and victims, it is the opposite of the books I read and love. I see nothing of value in their depictions. No comments on the difficulties women face, how varied we are, how we can be strong and powerful with a sword or without. How we don’t have to be sexy to be valued, respected or loved. Nothing. Their Brienne is a brute. Their Cat had all her good ideas given to male characters, because she was just a mother. And their Sansa is a victim.
No, I don’t know where they are going with the character and I don’t care. Rape is not a plot device you can’t just force any character into. It changes people. It changed Jeyne. It is not a motive for vengeance, it is a violation of your very being. It makes you feel worthless, used, dirty. It is a stain that never quite comes out. It is always there in the back of your head. When you meet a stranger, when you start to trust someone, when someone you love touches you. (I don’t let anyone touch me now). It can’t be undone. You can’t be unraped. (I actually saw someone in a forum say “what do you expect them to do, I mean they can’t unrape her” as a way to stop people critising.)

Will Sansa seek revenge? Did she not have enough reason before? Is that what they think empowerment is? Revenge. If she stabs Ramsay the audience will love it…and she will have to live with that as well. A victim and a killer. No matter how justified, it doesn’t make it better. And it doesn’t make what they have written any better. It is just more gratuity and unrealistic writing. How many victims kill their abuser? Did they even think about that? What message are they sending out into the world with their “art”? That people like me should kill their rapists? (I can compare myself much easier to their ShowSansa, as I doubt they will go with the dogs that Jeyne feared – am I still too trusting?). Killing him would have made me feel like a monster, and I would still have been raped. They won’t have her fully take Jeynes role, with her subsequent characterisation as a broken, damaged, terrified girl. That would be bad television.

They have no respect for what they are “adapting”. They just loved the gratuity of that sub-plot. Thought it would be oh so shocking. So took out all context, all characterisation, all the surrounding events, and I guarentee will remove most if not all of the repurcussions for the victim. All for ratings. For your mindless enjoyment. No self-reflection needed.

They started planning for it in season 2 (when Sophie Turner was still a young girl) and have made jokes about it on set appently. Sophie Turner has said in interviews that Alex Graves told her she would be getting a “love interest” – yes he apparently called it that. And she has also said she got a congratulations on your fake wedding card. ‘Though they did not send one to Iwan (that would probably have been distateful). Do they know enough about all the women who work for them to be sure none of them have been a victim of sexual abuse (1-4/1-5 women)? Or did they just find it funny. Things like this, which really happen to people like me, is a joke to them. A JOKE! How is this not considered inapropriate behaviour at work? But then we’ve seen what happens to people who dare to disagree with D&D, they want to write them out more and then joke and laugh about that in a public forum, on video. Who would risk their job rather than keeping their mouth shut?They are oh so professional. They need sensitivity training, like anyone else who pulled this crap AT WORK, from a position of power even. It’s beyond.

They have no respect for the seriousness of the content they are filming, or that it is a thing that happens A LOT in the real world, to people who are watching their show, to people in their own family I bet (judging by the statistics). They are too arrogant or ignorant to understand their own limitations and blind spots (Duning-Kruger effect in action).

But Sansa made a choice.Well I made choices as well. I chose to date an older man when I was 14 (he was 17). I chose to trust him. I chose not to fight because he was bigger than me and much stronger, and had a temper. I chose not to say no because I knew it would make him angry. I chose to stay with him because when I tried to leave he got angry, and my father didn’t beat me when he was there (because he was big, and strong). I chose not to tell anyone because I was ashamed of the choices I HAD made. But I DIDN’T chose to be raped. I didn’t chose to be broken by it (I have worked so hard to overcome that year of my life) but it still broke me more than the 10 years of beatings. Bruises can heal, but I can’t be unraped. I still don’t let people touch me.
So tell me again what Sansa chose? To go there? To marry Ramsay? To go into that room? To be raped? – She didn’t choose this, she isn’t real. Benioff and Weiss chose this. And thought they should show it to the world. And it is doesn’t even make sense.

They are not adapting the Jeyne sub-plot. They are contriving to use the rape of Jeyne in Sana’s plot line. Sansa will not be broken – she will overcome – like a “hero”. Not like me. Not like Jeyne. We are weak. We don’t make good television. People don’t want to see stories about people like me. Well I don’t want to see stories like their’s.

I knew there was a “traumatic” scene coming up. But they were very careful not to say what. They are fond of lame twists. So while I had a very good idea what they were going to show I wasn’t certain. And they had four different options for rescue. They made that VERY clear. I knew a resuce would seem contrived, but the plot has been so shoddy this season it didn’t seem unreasonable that Sansa would be rescued.

  1. The stupid candle plan could have paid off, (if that isn’t a trap). Brienne could have arrived and saved her.
  2. Reek could have found himself again and killed Ramsay.
  3. Sansa could have been armed and killed him herself before he raped her.
  4. The small-folk could have helped, after all “The North Remebers” and all that.
  5. And as Little-Finger had obviously managed to get all the way to King’s Landing (1,000 miles don’t ya know?) Stanis had pleanty of time to arrive, and the bedding could be interupted by war-horns. (this is what I expected to happen).

So many options. So many “bad-enough but not that bad” options. So I watched. There’s always a “sexual violence” warning, it’s GoT after all, that could mean anything. There’s no way they would make such a stupid choice after last season right? They had more respect than that right?They know how many of their viewers are likely to be survivors or whatever right? They know televison is different to books, they do know that right? Seeing it and hearing it is different to reading it. You can skip chapters. No sentence can realy surprise you, you can read it at your own pace, skim ahead. Skip it. They know all of this, right?

But they did it. And I was transfixed, staring at the television, waiting for one of the rescues they had foreshadowed so bloody heavily. Certain the would be a twist, a hero moment, why else did they have Brienne there? I couldn’t look away. And I was back there. That pathetic little 14 year old who had made her own bad choices, trusted the wrong people, made the best of a bad situation. And then Sansa was screaming. And Theon was crying and he looked so horrified. And it faded to black and it was my face staring back at me (they did that on purpose). Tears streaming down my face. Shaking. I couldn’t move. No-one rescued her. How did Stannis not arrive? It made no sense. Why was she even there? It made no sense. Why did they include this scene? It made no sense. It was gratuitous. It was cruel. It was disrespectful. It was all intentional.

The actors said it was a traumatic scene, shocking. And I stupidly thought it was more overblown hype, because they love to use words like that in their promotions. Now I know Alfie Allen was trying to warn me. At least he had respect enough to do that, and I thank him for that at least. I wish he had been clearer, why keep this scene secret – because shock is more important than making sure you don’t re-abuse your viewers. Because that is what they did to me. That was actually traumatic. As in I have been traumatised by that. By them.

I havn’t slept yet. I can’t. Whenever I close my eyes I see it. Alfie Allen’s face, my face in the screen, HIS face, hear his words, hear Sophie scream, hear myself cry. That was not entertainment! Why didn’t Stannis get there, Little-Finger travelled further. Stannis should have gotten there shouldn’t he? Where was Brienne? Why did they pretend she had a chance of being rescued. I would never have watched it if I knew she wouldn’t be rescued. They tricked me. And yes maybe I was stupid or naïve. It wouldn’t be the first time obviously that I had made a “bad” choice. But I didn’t think they would go that far. It would make no sense. Ramsay broke Jeyne. They can’t break Sansa that wouldn’t be good television. No-one wants to see the woman Jeyne becomes. Broken people like us aren’t heroes.

The episode was even called “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”. A play on words obviously. What could “unbroken” be referring to? It didn’t seem relevant to anyting else in the episode, so it must have been refering to Sansa right? Maybe a specific part that was used in the past to wrongfully test for virginity even? You know? So it was a hint to people like me that it was ok. They weren’t going to go that far, right? They wouldn’t show that on television, they’ve read the books, they know how Ramsay destroys the life of Jeyne. She can’t be unraped. They wouldn’t do that to a main character with her own developed plot and character arc. Jeyne was only a means to move Theon’s story, but Sansa is a player. They said that. They wouldn’t put a main character in a role that only exists to move another character forward. She is a main character. One who overcomes her past and grows and who is safe and happy(ish) and has her own power and agency. She is not like me. ~She was never raped. She is who I wish I could have been. They wouldn’t do that. They are professionals. They know what they’re doing. Right? YES. THEY KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING! AND THEY CHOSE TO DO THIS! And that title was a sick joke.

I have trusted the wrong people again. I trusted these men. These stupid, ignorant, heavy-handed, unsympathetic, f***ing men. I used to defend these men. I convinced people to watch this show. I convinced people who I can’t tell about my past to watch this show, and they just got “entertainment” out of watching/hearing/whatever something that happened to me. Something that ruined my life. And I can’t explain. I can’t get them to stop watching this crap because I told them this story was the best thing I had ever read, so resectful to it’s subject matter, feminist even. I told them that, and they have made me a liar (#NOONEUNDERSTAAANDS).

And that brings me back to where I started. I loved being in the ASOIAF fandom. It felt like home. Even though it was too emotional and personal for me to join in. I am terrified of people, even on line. I am afraid that every time I say something they will know. They will be able to tell I am a victim. I will give it away. I didn’t want people to see I was weak. Because our culturre does not like people like me. Victims. We make them feel sad. They have to tiptoe around people like me and that isn’t fun. I know that. I don’t want to ruin other people’s fun. So I just read, and let others talk.

I went to the forums (Westeros.org), because I knew there would be people talking about this, people as annoyed, as betrayed, as angry as me (and everywhere else has turned into a dude-bro, rape apologist cesspool since this show started if it wasn’t one before). I read AngryGoTFan’s twitter feed because they would UNDERSTAAAND. And they did. But those other people were also in the forums and feeds. Going out of their way to go into threads (e.g. rant and rave) to disrupt, to victim blame, to be rape apologists, to argue that it was good television. To have a go at people like me, for being too sensitive, book-purists who just like to be outraged. They quoted Bryan Cogman saying it was Sansa’s choice. They quoted D&D saying Sansa was empowered this season. They said we were only upset because it happened to Sansa not Jeyne. They shouted people down and caused arguments, they wouldn’t listen. And so rather than banning them, the conversations were banned. The safest space I had was taken away because someone didn’t like that their favourite show was being criticised. (Please don’t stop the conversation and venting, just ban the assholes. This is important to talk about if we are going to fix this problem in our fandom.)

There’s no point in people like me saying anything, because no-one listens and I’m not strong enough to argue. I’m more like Jeyne. Of course I was upset when it happened in the book. But Mr Martin gave Jeyne her own arc, her own consequences, her own life. She was broken. She was realistic to me. Rape is not some plot device to be overcome, a set-back in the hero’s journey before they snatch victory from the jaws of defeat etc.

This is why the change in character matters. Not because I only care that it is Sansa, but because I cared about Jeyne and people like Jeyne. I’m more like Jeyne. The powerless who react in a realistic way, not some imaginary super woman who is made stronger by being violated by a monster. Sansa will overcome this, otherwise it wouldn’t be “good” television. But it will be unrealistic television. Yet another example of the same tired trope. Why do writers keep going back to this well. It never strengthened my resolve. I never got any revenge. My rapist won. He is happily married with children. I am a recluse with PTSD and very few friends, reduced to seeking solace in a fandom now swarming with people who think what happened to me was “entertainment” when they saw it happen to a fictional character. People who wish they could have “seen more skin”. People making jokes about it. Rape culture. Before you tell me it doesn’t exist, walk a mile in my shoes.

And yes I know the books and show had child murder and men being savaged as well. But really? Does that happen on a daily basis to hundreds of thousands of people and then get brushed off as something they will get over or something they “chose”, or were to blame for? No. It doesn’t. I know someone who was murdered as well, although not by a sword or being pushed from a window, do you? Because we ALL know someone who has been raped. If you don’t think you do, it’s because you are not the sort of person they feel safe telling. You need to fix that. You need to change and learn and then you will see. We are everywhere. One fifth of the women you see everyday. That argument is not the easy comprison you think it is just an excuse to shut down criticism and discussion of something so serious because you don’t care, you think it doesn’t personally affect you. That conversation is all some of us have to help us get through seeing this callous disregard for our experiences in the most popular show on television. Rape Culture. People like me need voices speaking for, trying to get others who havn’t been through it to understand and take it seriously, or nothing will change. Listen. Just please, stop and listen for once. You are hurting people.

These people think rape (by someone like that) is just a one-time thing that you should be able top shake off. It will make you grow as a person. Maybe it does for some women. I have never met one. Almost all the women I have ever known well enough to have these conversations with have been raped (and some men). They ALL still think about it. It is something they mention to their partners to explain why they may have “issues” sometimes. None of them can be un-raped.
And threads are being closed because of arguments. Go look, nearly all of the threads about this scene are closed. There is no safe place for people like me now in the fandom. Either they are closed because people are getting personal about things (why not just ban the individuals?), or because “discussions of what rape is, are not appropriate for this part of the forum” or “this thread has gone on long enough/run its course. Don’t start another”. The fact that it comes up over and over again means it is necessary and clearly hasn’t run its course. This is wrong. People who need to talk are being told to be silent. Everyone is being punished for a few assholes. I need to hear the conversation. I need to see people trying to explain why this change matters. Why rape is not a plot device. Why it should have stayed as Jeyne or been removed completely. Why it was a bad choice to film. And I need D&D to FOR ONCE acknowledge the criticism. LISTEN. No-one ever listens. And then they blame victims for not speaking up. It is sick. It is Rape Culture.

The rape apologists are not banned, from the boards or threads, not singled out and told to stop by mods, or repremanded in any way. (I hate to criticise somewhere that has given me a refuge and a place to discover new things about something I love, and I don’t mean to single them out but that was where I went and what I saw, It is still the best place to go and wallow in this world, but please let people talk about this, even if it can get ugly, personal things often are ugly. Assign a mod for the specific thread maybe, but please don’t stop the discussion. It is an important discussion to have, and is clearly relevant to these episodes, it is silencing and it hurts). And this is all because of Rape Culture. Because this is entertainment in our society. Because calling the men who CHOSE to do this, and play the “tune in next week to see if Sansa gets raped” game sexists, or hacks is not fair to them. Not fair TO THEM. After all, they work so hard. No. This was lazy. The development from here will most likely be lazy given their track record. And the reasoning for including this scene when they have cut so much, was lazy. They wanted to…that’s actually it.

What did they love about this sub-plot? How it would be shocking? Or how Mr Martin showed the complex and devistating impact it had on Jeyne and how she is ireparably damaged by the callous behaviour of those with power over her? Like a lot of us who have been abused.
Why pretend she was going to be saved? Why didn’t Stannis get there in time? Why foreshadow possible rescues they knew weren’t coming? Why did they do this? Why did they play it for shock rather than actually taking it seriously and warning people properly? Why will they never apologise for their mistakes? Why did they call the episode that. It is all some sick joke. A sick joke at the expense of people like me. I will never forgive them. I will never watch again. I convinced people I love to watch this crap. I convinced them it would be good. My fandom has been swamped by people who are steeped in rape culture, encouraged by shows like this. I need it to stop. I have nowhere else to retreat to. I’m already being as small as I can be. I can’t be the only one.

They didn’t have to do this. THEY had the choice. And they made the wrong one.

And even though I can explain how they tricked me, and why I trusted them, I will still be blamed for having watched it, over them being blamed for having planned, written, framed, filmed, edited and broadcast it. What did I expect, it’s Game of Thrones? I EXPECTED THEM TO HAVE SOME F***ING RESPECT. That was my mistake. It won’t happen again. Because I am not a Strong WomanTM. I’m more like Jeyne. And I’m done with this shallow excuse for “entertainment”.

And don’t tell me “It was in the books, are you going to stop reading them?” I read the books, and I explained that already, it was handled well in the books. It was treated with respect by the author, for what it really was. No-one ever said Jeyne made a choice. No-one ever blamed Jeyne (this is not a comment on Cogman’s quote, I believe his apology). Jeyne was a sympathetic victim, and Jeyne was broken. D&D chose to make it Sansa and everything that goes with that. She will not be broken, unfixable, destroyed, she is a trope now. One that erases people like me and reminds us no-one wants to hear our stories because were are to weak to be likeable. That is one reason why the change is important. It is not a small thing. Not to me. Rape ruined my life. I broke, like Jeyne, and I exist.

I’m going to go re-read the books now, to try to wash this disgusting fanfic out of my head.

P.S. I have my own theories on Jeyne’s character, because I identified with this minor character enough to wonder what wil become of her (because Mr Martin handled her story well). I want her to go to the House of Black and White, to ask for the gift, to end her pain on her own terms. Not a very strong or empowered idea I know. But pleanty of us victims go that route. I want her to meet Arya, to offer Ramsay’s name to the God of Many Faces, and for Arya to hunt him down with Nymeria and her pack like he used to hunt his girls. I think that would be poetic, if not “heroic” or strong. We are not all heroes, or their twisted notion of a Strong WomanTM. Rape has consequences.

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Comments
  1. Elba says:

    This was very powerful and I thank you for posting this and expressing your feelings so openly. You are very brave to do that. While I have never been raped, I too felt very betrayed by that scene because I really truly thought they would find some way for Sansa to get out of it. Your are absolutely right that they hinted at many different options that might have worked, some deux ex machina however illogical because logic went out the window with this storyline a while ago, that would keep her from being raped. Even up to the very end when she walked into the bedroom I still hoped and wanted to believe it so badly. As you said they intentionally tricked us in a horrible way including, yes, by calling this episode Unbowed Unbent Unbroken.

    It is a shame that the rant and rave threads on Westeros.org have been closed on this subject but I can link you to a couple of other sites where I have been involved with discussions about this show and this scene and where the discussions have not been shut down, and where we all agree with you. We’ve also noted the comments in interviews by Alex Graves about a love interest for Sansa. What an asshole. He is also the one who directed the Cersei Jaime scene in the sept and didn’t think they were filming a rape scene and described the over extended near rape of Sansa during the riot as beautiful and like a ballet. And the fact that Cogman thinks that Sansa went into this as an empowered woman is also disturbing. How did she have any empowerment in that scene? I heard that he titled that sequence in his script as “romance dies”?! Given these comments I really have little hope that they will handle the effects of this on Sansa in the rest of the season in any way that is responsible.

  2. belkala says:

    This outpouring of emotions is certainly heartfelt and does emphasize why people found this particular scene so distressing. Sure, people point out that Jeyne got it much worse, but the fact is that that particular storyline was not attempting to present the “rape makes you a badass” trope.

    That said, I’m not convinced by the attempt to bifrucate ASoIaF and GoT fanbases. Apart from AngryGoTFan, the majority of the discussions in the major internet venues for GoT talk are supportive of the Sansa scene, and most of those who are loudest in their support aren’t the avid Johnny-come-lately book-burning types either. Most show-only fans don’t have a strong enough opinion to even post detailed explanations of the dramatic logic of the scenes in question.

    The fanbase has always flirted if not gravitated towards open rape apology. How many people made excuses for Tyrion, for example, for his gang rape of his wife? Another female character who only exists to highlight the existential angst of yet another rich feudal lord. You’re only seeing more of the “dudebro” mentality because typical fantasy readership, judging from various informal polls, is an insular demographic that tends to be dominated by women. Once ASoIaF made it out of that hobbyist demographic, it’s a no-brainer that any semblance of a “safe space” would be swallowed up by more general attitudes disdainful of rape victims.

    And this really has everything to do with the man himself GRRM, who by all accounts and despite all the white knighting for his nonexistent banner, is still 100% behind the show. We’re not talking about an Alan Moore or a P. L. Travers, authors who openly butted heads with their screenwriters – we’re talking about a guy who came out immediately following the scene in question to tell everyone to STFU and support the troops, err, sorry, D&D.

    While some were looking for sensitive portrayals of the poor and underclass, it is clear that quite a bit more people were just titillated by descriptions of semen smell, narrated by an old guy who giggles like a pervert.

    • Paulo Pereira says:

      “How many people made excuses for Tyrion, for example, for his gang rape of his wife?”

      I’m confused. Why would Tyrion be blamed for this? Unless I’m misremembering something?

  3. chebyshov says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. This was so incredibly moving.

    I think your remark about the showrunners not having respect is so on-point. GoT is the biggest show on television right now. And not only did they choose to have such an exploitative plot to both the characters and the audience, but they did it in a way that created a space for apologists. Which I think is the most concerning part. I feel like creators of media should be required to take some sort of licensing test before they’re allowed to drive such a deadly vehicle of cultural change. And I think we know Benioff and Weiss are not the types who would pass.

  4. justanotherlistener says:

    Thanks for writing this. I understand how you feel, but there are still good people out there. We’re not all dudebros like Benioff and Weiss or all the idiots on internet message boards who think rape is entertaining to watch.

  5. Vestara21 says:

    Thank you for your thoughts and time in writing this. A lot of abuse survivors empathize with Sansa on a personal level. She is a main character, this is very natural. And they chose to go this way, knowing full well. They made this a rape for shock value, hiding behind excuses such as “This is Game of Thrones”, like they’re so “edgy” depicting an ugly world.

  6. Woof says:

    Thank you for your brave post. I want to validate some feelings that you have here and it is good to hear others confirm what you are feeling – like you mentioned, reading others defending the definition of rape.

    This was rape. Anyone saying it wasn’t — I just don’t understand them and it does make us as women feel belittled. We are not property. I don’t understand this mindset at all and I am glad for the debate except as with most debates — few minds are opened unfortunately. And mysoginists and others will continue spouting their disgusting viewpoints. I’ve been afraid to post on Facebook or anywhere with my real name and real account info to debate these lunatics.

    The show absolutely did not have to do this storyline with Sansa and it does not make any sense. It is completely full of plot holes and changes the characters seriously. One of the terrible things to see is people defending this with: “Sansa chose this.” One, as if that excuses marital rape — not excusable no matter what. Two, comparing this to Jeyne…Jeyne had no choice – she was forced into this. There is no reason Sansa would choose this. None of it makes sense and it was the showrunners’ choice.

    Thank you again for sharing your story and I wish you well and peace going forward.

  7. amsinc says:

    This piece brought me to tears. I know she says she’s no hero, but she is for posting this. EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS. People are so concerned about the ‘real life’ aspects of that scene, that it was to be expected from that society. Well, this is the real life consequence. This. Not some vendetta or assassination plot. This. Raw emotion, fear. I just wish I could give this lady a hug.

  8. Evelina says:

    All I can say to you is thank you for sharing and I’M SORRY. I’m sorry for this world and for the man who broke you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re not yourself anymore. I’m sorry for this stupid show messing with you. I’m sorry for watching too. I went to bed so disturbed and annoyed and sad. I never been raped but I feel the need to speak for you and women/men that suffered the same. (and I’m sorry for my grammar, english is not my mother language).
    If you ever feel the need to talk, I know you don’t know me, but I have a tumblr (loquehacenlasreinas.tumblr.com) and a twitter account (@evelinismos). Please feel free to send me a message. You shouldn’t be the one left alone nor silenced. And D&D, Bryan and all those idiots need to finally listen.

  9. This is one of the most important text I read for a while. I can hardly defined my feelings about it, I just want to thank you for this very, very important testimony.
    When I saw this scene, it felt so wrong to me. This was not the most horrifing scene from the show but it was the most free and useless violence-scene from far (in my point of view).
    It is impossible for me to imagine how hard it would have been on you to see this, you have all my sympathy about it (for what it worth), but be assure you will not have written your feelings with so many words in vain.
    People like you have the power to transmit your experiance to save other people and you did it here with an extreme bravery. For a long time now I try to fight rape culture around me and on the internet as much as I can, you know that already but you are not alone in this fight. The rape victims are not alone.

    I really hope Mr Martin will have a chance to read your text some day because I’m sure he will really appreciate it for it’s true value (whatever he says about the show on interviews).

    I wish you courrage and bravery to go through this difficult experiance. From what I could read you are much more of a heroe than most of the strong princes and princesses one can find on tales just for this simple text. A Heroe is someone that inspire other people and make them move and tonight you inspired me beyond anything I expected when I started reading. This goes much further than simply GoT to me.

    Thank you again, be happy.

  10. bluegoldrose says:

    You are brave, incredibly brave.
    You are brave enough to write this and to share your most deepest pains so eloquently.

    My heart breaks for you.

    I hope that you are able to read the comments which have been left here.

    You expressed so well everything wrong with the show and with the show runners. Everything wrong with our culture’s perspective on rape. I truly do hope that the show will lose many viewers because if this event. I only wish that it had happened sooner, so that many more people would not have been forced to endure this.

    I don’t think that I will ever forget you or your story, though you may never read my comment. I will always remember you.

    While as a fanfic writer I find your idea for Jeyne’s end very poetic and interesting, I hope for her healing. I plan to one day work with victims of sex-trafficking, more people who had no choice, more Jeynes. I have seen girls whose paths led to drinking from the pool of the House of Black and White, metaphorically, it was hardly so eloquent in real life. My heart breaks for them as well. I have seen others heal. It is a long, slow path. A path I have seen more than ten friends walk. They are why I want to help other victims, we were too young for me to understand it all at the time.

    I hope and pray for your healing. That some day you will have people in your life whom you love and trust and who love and trust you. People whom you trust enough to be close to, to touch, to be loved.

    I have never expected the Jeynes of the world to become wonder woman. But the Jeynes of the world are often the kindest, gentlest, souls in all the world. (There was going to be more, but I am too tired to think.)

    Thank you for being brave.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  11. Marykate says:

    As a rape survivor (and I go by survivor), I saw a lot of myself in Sansa. Made to be the victim, but steadily finding her ground and herself even with abuse that was laid at her feet. Martin did this without rape, though the threat was all around her. In the books, Sansa wields a knife against Dontos. She confronts Sandor when he visits her during Blackwater. Sansa is not as weak as they portray her in the show. How did they go from her wanting to push Joffrey, to this?? It doesn’t make sense to me. They took one of the strongest characters in the books (and I say that because I feel like its true) and ruined her. They took my favorite character, and then threw a trope on her because they took her characterization away from her and needed a quick fix to flip it back.

    I will no longer be watching GOT. I will no longer be supporting it. They have portrayed unnecessary rape three times now just because they wanted to save time and ‘cut to the point’. Dany/Drogo, Cersei/Jaime, and now this. And like Anon said, they have been planning this since Sophie was still a minor. If they wanted this subplot. They should have included Jeyne. It makes no sense to me. You want to show Sansa flip to her more canon self? Show scenes of her learning the game, shadowing Petyr (as much as I hate him) and then show her transformed at the end of the season and heading out for Winterfell.

    “I am stronger within the walls of Winterfell.”

    You know, until D&D have you raped in your parents’ bed.

  12. Loqui says:

    Thank you. Whoever you are, thank you. Words cannot describe how deeply this post touched me.

    Sansa is, hands down, my favorite character and to see how horribly they handled her is heart-wrenching. I will be sending this post to any of my friends that try to defend this stupid episode.

    Best wishes to you.

  13. Big Bucket says:

    As the others said, thank you for putting yourself out there. It was extremely powerful, and I cannot imagine how tough this has been for you.

    I also have been absolutely sickened by large portions of the fandom apologizing for D&D’s choice to throw Sansa into a rape storyline with no narrative purpose, and the thousands of out of character actions needed to place her in it because they “loved” the scene. I won’t say more because it makes me angry all over again and others have said it better than I can.

    The moderating on Westeros has been shameful. Instead of banning trolls and rape apologists, they’ve shut down useful conversation on a topic bound to get heated. The lack of sympathy and constant victim blaming from some has really put a sour taste in my mouth about the fandom in general. It’s really a shame.

  14. satsumarena says:

    I really hope the contributor of this post is reading this. As a fellow ex-GOT fan, thank you so much for this post. I have never been raped, but I have been subjected to sexual abuse and harassment. I am moderately “successful” but have those experiences affected me? Of course. Am I a “recluse” compared to many others? Actually, yes. Did it empower me, make me stronger? Uh, no.

    Luckily, I didn’t subject myself to S5E6. As soon as I found out that Sansa was to marry Ramsay, I could tell where this was headed. I actually hadn’t been sure if I’d made the right decision. Surely, I should keep up with one of the hottest shows around? Well, as it turns out, I feel my choices have been quite validated. Of course, many professional critics and respected fans of ASOIAF itself have backed me up as well.

    What you have done, which I haven’t seen most do, is point out that what D+D did, wasn’t just wrong because it was a violation of Sansa. It was an erasure of Jeyne. An erasure of those who aren’t heroes or villains, yet aren’t just nameless, faceless victims, either. But why should I be surprised? They erased Lady Stoneheart, who isn’t just an avenging angel, but a broken shell of her former self. They even erased Bran, the first one to fall, to “break”, from S5. Because broken people aren’t interesting, they’re not dramatic, they’re not worth watching, I guess.

    Well, D+D, guess what’s not worth watching for me, for so many others, now? Your show. I’ll give up the cool visuals, I’ll give up Dinklage!Tyrion (who’s erased the REAL post-ASOS Tyrion, who also broke, who also isn’t either a hero or a villian). And I’ll HAPPILY give up whatever version of Cersei’s public shaming is in store for the Unsullied.

    To the OP, I wish I could express myself as well as you have. I don’t know what else to say that won’t sound empty, or trigger you. All I can do is thank you, again, for sharing your perspective.

  15. Risto says:

    I can only admire such bravery to openly speak about how this piece of “art” affected you and please know that you can at least have the moral support of some of us. This has been so touching and moving and since Sunday, I have been on constant revelation of how many people this has affected.

    As a long-time Sansa fan, first and foremost, I have been utterly disgusted by distastefulness of episode title. I am not sure I will ever be able to look at the word “unbent” without having this in mind. It was such despicable word game that one has to ask what they were really thinking. And as the author of this piece said, the saddest part is that we kinda know where that came from.

    I have said too much about this episode. But, to reiterate the point I was trying to make. While Westeros is indeed a sexist place, GRRM’s writing has never been such. Alas, we can’t say the same thing for D&D+Cogman.

    Again, thank you so much for posting this essay. And also, thanks to AngryGoTFan for publishing it.

  16. devakikhanna says:

    This is a very powerful statement–very honest and brave. I agree with all that you’ve said. Sansa being shoved into the Jeyne subplot serves no purpose. Jeyne in her own subplot shows how little an ordinary person’s life or happiness matters to the players in the game of thrones. After all, who sends Jeyne to Winterfell to wed the Bastard of Bolton as Arya Stark? The Lannisters, who care for no one and nothing other than their family. ALL the northern lords, including the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, are invited to the wedding–did this occur in 5.06? A wedding in a godswood or a sept cannot be legal unless it is witnessed by a large number of people who are of a social standing equal to that of the bride and groom. So other than Roose and Walda, who else is there to witness this wedding? If the invites were sent to all the northern lords, it would give Jon Snow a means to get news of his sister, which is what happens in ADwD. And it would enable him (or Melisandre, who wants him on her side) to get someone into Winterfell–Abel and the washerwomen/spearwives, who help Theon and Jeyne escape Ramsay in ADwD.

    It seems highly unlikely that Littlefinger would let Sansa out of his clutches, especially to marry Ramsay Bolton. This man is obsessed with her mother and has now transferred his obsession to her. And how does Show!Baelish assume that Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion can just be wished away because it was not consummated and because he was accused of killing the king? I think the wife herself would have to request an annulment to be rid of her marriage. It is highly unlikely that Sansa would be able to do this, because she, along with Tyrion, stands accused of the murder of Joffrey. Any request for an annulment means that Cersei finds out where she’s hiding.

    And why would the Boltons accept this girl, who killed the nephew of the man she married, someone to whom she was betrothed, as a bride for Ramsay? Accepting Sansa Stark as a member of their family means that they are no longer allied with the Lannisters, whose cause they helped by participating in the Red Wedding.

    As a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, I was really delighted to learn that it would be filmed as a television serial. I have never seen the show, but have kept up with discussions of episodes, etc. The actors are excellent and the artwork is brllliant. HOWEVER, THE WRITING, DIRECTION AND PRODUCTION LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED. The plot is (as of now) as full of holes as Gruyere cheese. What is utterly appalling is the way the director discussed this episode with the actress–getting a new love interest, indeed. All we can do, as fans of the ASOIAF series, which I will continue to read, is to boycott the show. Come up with a statement, which we can put up on change.org or awaaz.com, explaining our point of view, sign it, share it and send it to the producers and HBO.

  17. jenni4955 says:

    How can I respond to this properly? I am not eloquent enough, nor good enough at putting my feelings into words. But you have said everything I tried to say, only I am not a rape victim but I have been attacked by a man when I was 18 who came at me from behind, from where he had been hiding in some bushes so that I couldn’t see him and he scared me out of my mind. I did manage to fight him off and run away before he could hurt me physically, but he did hurt me emotionally and although this happened many years ago there are still repercussions to this day, like my inability to trust people. You are right about so many things in this essay, like George Martin’s ability to write a young girl like Sansa so realistically, and this is one of the reasons I think people love her so much. All along we’ve lived with her, seen her grow despite some of the terrible things that have happened to her. Sure, she made a lot of choices which turned out to be the wrong ones, but she didn’t know at the time she made them that they were wrong or would lead her to what finally happened to her – the rape. Rape is not sex, it is not love but hate, from what I have read by experts in psychology or psychiatry. Rape is brutality. Rape changes a person for life, not necessarily in a good way. Anyone who says it makes a person ‘stronger’ is reiterating something shallow, dismissive and cruel in its own way, without really thinking it through.

    I agree the show did NOT have to do this to Sansa and that it does not make sense at all. My question has always been ‘where is she to go from here’? She and Theon have both been irreparably damaged by that monster Ramsay. Sansa is such a great character. Sure, when she was a very young girl and still at Winterfell with her family she was a bit selfish, shallow, etc., but that doesn’t make her a bad person, only just as annoying as any young girl can be. Those of us with daughters already out of their teens know all about this. But the person inside this young girl is still loveable and still has to go on the journey that will take them through life, teach them about people, what is important & what isn’t, etc., etc., etc. A girl like this will make mistakes and wrong choices, but that does not mean that they deserve to be brutalized in the way Sansa has been all through the series. Her choices may have led her to where she is now, but they did not mean that she had to be raped. I wanted to make it clear how I felt about that. I despise the showrunners for doing some of the things they have done. It is still a show that is well done in certain aspects, but changing so many things has made it weaker than it had to be, and now a lot of people are realizing this and becoming severely turned off. George Martin in his blog on Livejournal spoke of the butterfly effect. When they began changing certain elements of the story they caused great repercussions that have only escalated out of control it now. Too many loose ends, too many things that don’t make sense anymore. I hate it.

    You deserve a lot of love and peace for the rest of your life without having to be afraid anymore. I hope you get these things. I don’t know you but my love and concern are out there for you. I wish I could have said all this a lot better but I loved this essay and everything you said in it.

  18. Vlad says:

    That was a powerful message, to me as powerful as the scene. I’ve been feeling the same the entire week. A feeling of helplessness, I don’t have the words or the arguments to explain why this was so wrong. I’m not a rape victim, I’m also a man and Sansa is very far from my favorite characters and still this scene hit me incredibly hard. I did the same thing as you: I brought in my entire family, my parents, my sister, my cousin, my friends to Game of Thrones… and now I can’t explain to them how bad it has become, they almost take pity in me when they see me get angry.

    On westeros it got bad, but not as bad as everywhere else. Take a look at this review for this episode:

    They’re very decent people, very smart and they simply don’t get it. Just look at the end, when they bring in a girl who has read the books (one of the 3 guys has read the series, but he doesn’t really know it). I identified so much with her, she brought in a notebook, to try and make them understand…. and she can’t. And after that if you still can stomach it, go down to the comment section, no one understands (not to mention how aggressive they are). And usually the subscribers of the channel are very nice, progressive… it doesn’t matter and I guess it’s because what it’s written in the conclusion of the text: rape culture.

  19. Nanima8 says:

    I have so much respect for you. Speaking out like this must have taken a lot of courage and strength. Don’t sell yourself short.
    Personally, I can thankfully say that I have never been raped, but I know what abuse feels like. For over eight years I was constantly bullied. The way they mocked me, spit on me, and made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to be alive affected me deeply. It didn’t make me a better person. It made me almost unable to make friends, to speak to strangers, or even look people in the eye.
    I was an object to them, an amusing divergence and it is still affecting my life even now.
    I don’t want to say that my experience was in any way as horrible as yours, but it is just one example of how abuse can change a person.
    And Sansa was abused, even before she ever got near Winterfell (in the farce of a tv-show plot). She saw her own father executed, she was forced to stare at his decapitated head, she lived under the threat of the cruel monster known as Joffrey. There were multiple times were she was threatened with rape. Was that not enough? Was the rape neccessary for her to become “stronger”? No, that is not what made her the character she is as of ADWD. It was her own efforts at gaining agency. Her politeness, her perception, her secret meetings with Dontos.
    But D&D apparently think that having Ramsay rape her will only make her stronger. It’s appalling and bizarre.
    I have zero faith in their abilty to portray the consequences this experience would actually have for Sansa. The show is now dead to me as well. I am currently staring at my dvds of the first four seasons, asking myself ‘why’. I used to love this show, watched it together with my father and enjoying every minute. There were always problems with it, but I could deal with them. Then the Jaime-Cersei rape happened, and I was wringing my hands at the absurdity of it all. It took a while for me to get over it (though I still hated), but I thought it was a fluke. Silly me.

    Thank your for sharing your opinion with us. I am disappointed at the closed threads as well (though like you I don’t post), but at least there are others out here who feel just like us. Things like this need to be adressed in our society. By not talking about it we are changing nothing. Thank you again, I wish for you to have happiness in your life.

  20. Maguay says:

    Thank you, for saying it out loud. Sorry that happened to you. I ‘ve read all the books, and I stopped watching the show last season. It got too violent, it’s not like the books aren’t violent, it’s just that they are trying to make the show more gory and sex-related so more people (and psychos, like you said) feel compelled to keep watching it. Now, what they have, is less viewers. After hearing you, I went straight to youtube to watch the scene, and I have to say, it doesn’t differ much from Daenery’s first time with Drogo (apart from the fact of Reek watching, etc). So, why is most of the people angry? Because, unlike Drogo, who was a brute but a real tender and loving person, we know what Roose is like. We know what he is capable of. And I can tell you, the 5th book was very difficult for me to read, as a woman, because we know the kind of monster he is. And yes, reading something is not like watching it. Like you said, you can prepare the scene, fade to black, hear her moaning, but it’s not the same.
    Hope one day you’ll feel like yourself again. Take care

  21. ServantOnIce says:

    1. Thank you Shen Angry for sharing this and thank you to the author for letting us know how a real victim of sexual assault feels about this scene and the depiction of sexual violence in literature, television, film and Internet.

    2. Sansa is a fictional character, nothing happened to her in real life becuase there is no real life for Sansa, she is a creation of a genius author GRRM and of great writers David Benioff Friedman, Daniel B. Weiss and Brian Cogman. GRRM even mentioned that in his response on his blog.

    3. GRRM has written abuse for Sansa, and he has taken heat for writing about sexual violence in his novels. GRRM has taken the reality of The Dark Ages and mixed it in with Fantasy. That is what he has done and it matters. That is the reason the, “Dark Ages” were dark. So for Weiss, Cogman and Benioff to catch flack while GRRM skates, is unauthentic. Also, as Elio and Linda pointed out we don’t know what horrors await Sansa in books six and seven if she makes it, she may be raped, BWC Inc. may have given us a heads up. They have met with GRRM and they know the fate of every character in the series. GRRM did say they will kill of folks on the TV show who will never die in the books, so we know that they may be wrong about this as well.

    4. I believe Cogman, Weiss and Benioff did this for shock and awe. They did it as the lazy, normal plot advancement we see often in media. I’ve given examples in posts and responses all over the Interent of this and how lazy it is.

    5. I don’t know what to say to the author of this column, but that I hope you reach out to the organizations or someone, anyone to help you, because what happened to you was real and whoever did it needs to be put on radar, so they can never do it again. I hope you heal, becauase I believe as hard as it is sometimes, there is healing for you.

  22. Rosemary Yang says:

    I cannot tell how much I was moved and sad after reading your post. As one of the fans of Sansa, I cannot tell how much I admire your courage to stand out and speak for her, for ASOIAF.

    My friend shared this to me. We speaks in Chinese and English. We both love Sansa and could stand how this happens to her. Although we come from a different culture, we still have those people shouting around and make excuses for this show, we share the same sadness and anger. For the people hurt by the show and for the character we love.

    May I ask you if I could translate your heartbreaking into Chinese and share it through Chinese social media, if you would allow me to? We have a social platform called Dark Castle in China, it’s like our own ASOIAF fandom and we shares any fantasy fictions information on that. It is also where there are people who really take the books seriously and anger about the show’s editing. We hope let more people to hear decent voices about this scene, about why we should care.I won’t do anything unless you give your permission to me. Thank you for reading and bearing my immature English. I will give all my hugs to Jeyne and say my spirit will stay with you, always.

  23. Earl C says:

    That was a brilliant and nuanced response! I hope you do not mind but I will be reposting it every chance that I get. Your words have power.

  24. Philipp says:

    I was really moved by it. I am so sorry to hear what happened to you. You’re really brave for talking about it. I am seriously sick of people who try to defend the show.

  25. Rachel Maher says:

    I honestly don’t even have words to properly convey what this made me feel, but thank you for writing it and sending it to AngryGotFan. You are stronger than you know, even if you do not realize it. I also hope you do not mind if I repost this and show it to other people. It is by far the best explanation I have seen out of anyone, profession or otherwise, for why that scene was so awful and unforgivable.

    Thank you again.

  26. Rinturiel says:

    Thank you for your testimony. I felt like crying after reading this.

    It is so important especially in the wake of overwhelming denial, rape and show apologists turning up in droves in every corner of the geek universe I carved myself on the internet. Since Monday I have given up on every geek outlet I used to read, because I just couldn’t take it. I couldn’t understand why these people just didn’t get the implications of this scene (and not only in a narrative sense, but, like in your case, real world consequences). This atrocious reaction showed me the true dimensions of mysogyny and rape culture and I can’t breathe just thinking about it.

    And I can’t stand that this show is still a worldwide phenomenon it has become, that week in and week out it rates highly, that it is a topic of weekly conversation, that my friends watch and enjoy it. That only a week ago I was defending the show from “book supremacists” and recommending it to my friend who’s only read the books. I feel utterly betrayed and like a moron who let herself be tricked twice (I already stopped watching after Jaime/Cersei rape, but was lured back into this sinister TV show by the cultural pressure to know what happens next). The only solace I have now is that it is also the most pirated show on the planet right now, so at least HBO isn’t making as much money off this vile product as it could be.

    Now I intend to wait patiently for Mr Martin’s ‘Winds of Winter’ and ignore this show’s existence completely, even refusing to be drawn into conversations about it. I’m so traumatized by the last episode, that I can’t even look at the actors right now, though they are just doing their job (though given their elevated standing after 5 seasons of massive success and the already signed contracts for further seasons they could question some decisions on set once in a while; OK, Sophie, Iwan and Alfie are one of the lower tier actors and are only at the beginning of their careers, but Lena and Nikolaj, experienced and established actors, could have said something about the way they filmed the sept scene).

    Stay strong and know that your words have made a difference.

  27. It’s been a while since I was this heartbroken by an article.
    I do not think that I can say anything that hasn’t already been said by the posters above, but I can’t really begin to describe how much I want to sit down with Weiss and Benioff and make them read this. Just read. No comments, no discussion.
    If this could get them to understand, then they truly are beyond the pale.

  28. Hi says:

    I don`t know english very well, but I will try to write.
    I have never been a rape victim. A cople of friends have been close, but luckily one of them run faster and hide and the other have friends close.
    They are fine,now. But I know they are scared of some things like walk alone.
    But they are not brocken. And Jeyne is not brocken. And YOU ARE NOT BROCKEN too.
    I know you feel that way. But trust me. You are alive. Live have so many hope, even when it is not esasyly see. You have had a horriful event on your life, but you suvirve. Yes, you are a victim, but you are a suvirver too.
    I really hope that you find more hapiness in your life in the future. I know that you can`t be unraped, but I know that you can live with that and you can be happy even with that. Please, don`t be in the GoT fandom. They don`t usually are “good”. But please stay in the asoiaf fandom.
    There are a lot of “bad” people here, but there is a lot of good people too.
    And with jeyne, I hope she lives if she wants it. If not, a quickly and clean death.
    And hope she will be happy, and have a long and safe life. She will never forget, but I know that she alredy suvirve ramsay, so I hope know that she is going to live, not only survirve.

    I hope you will be fine. Thanks for your words.

  29. Peyton says:

    Thank you so much for writing this whoever you are. I want you to know that you are a hero for this even if you think you are not. I also wanted to say that I’ve always imagined endings for Jeyne as well. But mine is maybe “happier” than yours. I always hope for her to make a community for herself of these women that are exploited in ASoIaF, the ones we don’t get to see. Because I think that’s the best she could hope for. Thank you again. I needed this.

  30. thisisyouth says:

    Powerful words. You present the much-needed human side to this debate, one which I have to believe many Internet commenters simply have never experienced; because I cannot imagine people who understand the power of rape making many of the posts which have been polluting the debate.

    Thank you for putting this out there, even anonymously. It takes tremendous courage and it proves that you are not as broken as you might think.

    I wish you the best of luck in your recovery and your life.
    Thank you for the words.

  31. […] enough to give testimony of what happened to them after they were raped. And I urge you to read this rape victim’s reaction to the episode. Like she says, Jeyne is not good TV, Jeyne is broken. And […]

  32. Christy says:

    Thank you for helping me understand your point of view. I feel like you’ve opened my eyes to how a lot of other people see the world. I understand a bit better now why people react strongly against rape scenes. Myself being a women and never been raped, I think I let the media influence me to think that if I ever did get raped that I would be empowered by it. The media portrays rape likes this almost always with no consideration as to how the victim actually fairs after the fact. It’s like condoning rape and saying, “it’s okay, you’re better for it anyways.”
    So, thank you for helping me understand and hopefully I can influence those around me.

  33. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday.
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  34. Go on Then says:

    Thank you for your strength and clarity in posting what you have and I could not hope to understand what you have been through. There is no doubt that rape is a serious crime and it does not get the exposure it deserves. It is a crime that devalues the victim to the point of objectification. However should we hide from it, should we turn away from the horror of it, because there have been victims who feel like hiding away. Most people know that rape is bad, but i would guess a lot of people see rape as the victim saying no with the perpetrator continuing on, despite remonstrations. Rape can take a number of forms and in all cases it is horrible and can be disempowering for the victim.

    However what i am seeing is some hypocrisy around this scene. There have been a number of instances of rape in the show, some of which have been more graphic. Some have involved the rape of male characters. The world of the show has rape as part of the culture, “A wedding must have a bedding”. So why were those other instances ok but this one a step to far? Are you saying that you as a rape victim represent all rape victims and that your opinion and experience of rape should be replicated in fiction, all other representations are moot? Are you saying that a rape victim should be defined by the crime commited on them? That they cannot do things, after the act, that can be empowering and good.

    In my mind rape doesn’t define the person, any crime doesnt, the person defines themselves. I am not trying to devalue you experience and whilst i have not been a victim of the crime of rape i have been a victim of crime.

    • Jack says:

      This post is ridiculous. You’re ridiculous.

      I was raped and it didn’t ruin my life nor do I define myself by it, so I’ll do my empowering and good thing after the act and tell you that you’re erasing the author’s feelings because you don’t think you would react in the same way to something with which you admittedly cannot empathize.

      At no point did she argue that rape should not be depicted. At no point did she presume to speak for anyone other than herself or others who may feel the same way she does. At no point did she solicit advice from you, the audience.

      You’re taking someone’s honest feelings about their own experiences being shoved into a narrative box wholly unrepresentative of their reality and literally doing the exact thing she’s raging about.

      Saying that you’re not trying to devalue her experience after spending an entire post doing it and doing exactly that in the preceding sentence as well as the very next clause is absurd. It’s akin to me telling you that I’m not trying tell you that you’re contributing to the very same problems that spawned her rant.

      You are part of the problem this woman is so desperately trying to combat and if you had a shred of humanity you’d delete your comment.

  35. Leopoldo says:

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  36. ArabellaVidal says:

    Thank you. Someone finally says it. How can they diminish the agony of Jeyne’s horrendous situation by supplanting her with a completely different character, one who is finding strength in her experience precisely because of who she is and what she endures which is extremely muted when compared to the Jeyne plot line. I admire Sansa out of all the female characters because she represents the women in my general vicinity and culture. Women like Sansa and Catelyn and even Daenerys find in themselves the strength and the ability to use patriarchal norms that they have been victims of, to subvert and survive and even thrive. But there is a great need to recognize the Jeynes and Lollys’ out there. Their pain is far worse. They are victims. They cannot just be blotted out.

    I have never been raped, but casual sexual abuse has been part of my life as it has been for other women around me. And one thing that Martin understands better than even some female writers is that even a small inappropriate touch or encounter NEVER leaves you. It affects your personality and affects your relationships with those around you. As it does with characters like Brienne, Sansa and Daenerys who have had it much worse than I ever did. So when it’s something like an actual rape for characters like Jeyne and Gilly I have some glimmer of understanding of the sense of worthlessness and violation that they endure.

    And to top it all off, they’ve decided to use this as a “toughen her up” plot device for Sansa. Which doesn’t make sense. She has already been toughened up. Read the books. Jeyne hasn’t. There is a reason for that. Jeyne has never, from the moment she is kidnapped by Baelish upon Cersei’s orders, had a secure place or person to turn to. Probably not even in her head. Her entire family, all her protectors are taken from her from day 1. She does not even have the tiny bit of comfort that Sansa’s Lady or family identity can bring her. She has absolutely no moment to spare to stand up for herself or someone else or to flee from her post for even a moment to take a deep breath.

    To just have it become a plot device for empowerment is a cliche that has no basis in reality.

    Thank you again for articulating all that you have so well and so honestly.

    To reiterate: Yes, the rape scene was unnecessary and gratuitous because it served no logical purpose that couldn’t be affected another way if they hadn’t been too lazy to think.

    Finally, people should please stop telling victims of this or any other violent crime what they should feel or think or how lacking they are as individuals because they can’t get past it quickly enough for them. As the writer says, stop shutting them up just because you can’t be bothered to feel their pain for a second longer than you consider necessary.

  37. Uros says:

    Nice analasys, and I am sorry that you felt this way 😦 I agre with you, tho, it is a bit pointless to fantasise about what should or could have happened in the series, everything that is not according to book is an utter stupidity. These shameful money grinding ‘shows’ are using more or less explicit scenes to promote violence in order to keep people watching, I have read the books and every thing they changed from the original plot, I didn’t like it, this was an overly huge aberration on the original story, and for me it’s the end with this stupid HBO show, it’s the drop that has fill the cup, myself neither will watch this garbage anymore. I STRONGLY suggest to fans, if you haven’t read the book, go read it, and stop watching this bulls..t, it’s not worth it.

  38. […] Voi sapete che in diverse occasioni ho toccato l’argomento. Pochi commenti ogni volta, perché di cose da dire ce ne sarebbero davvero tante. Mi sa che ora siamo arrivati al dunque. Ho iniziato per FantasyMagazine un approfondimento – forse due – sullo stupro nella narrativa fantasy e sulla realtà dello stupro. Non so quando finirò di scrivere, mi sa che ne avrò per un po’. Intanto vi lascio alla toccante lettera di una ragazza che si identifica con Jeyne Poole e che vuole che tutti sappiano che alcune cose non vanno trattate con leggerezza, come se fossero solo un cambio d’abiti, perché cambiano davvero la vita di una persona: https://angrygotfan.com/2015/05/21/a-rape-victim-speaks-out-on-the-sansa-scene/. […]

  39. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I
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  40. System pressures lower than these indicate a problem ‘ usually a low refrigerant
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  41. Mary Holder says:

    what a powerful piece of writing about Sansa and what happened to her. I feel that with Martin you do get to read about the pain of what happens to Jeyne Poole and how she was left. But have D & D addressed we saw with Sansa and her feelings about what happened to her? Unless you count the part that say she is empowered.
    I hope that writing this makes you feel positive in your contribution because you obviously have given great thought to publish your feelings and thoughts and how you say it. Emotional yes an outpouring yes but it came from your heart. Thank you for your contribution it certainly made me rethink about Sansa wedding night and how it would have affected Sansa.

  42. […] Sue explaining why they stopped promoting the show following the infamous rape scene in S5E6, and here is a very personal piece by a rape victim about her reactions to the same episode. I really don’t want to summarize […]

  43. I feel like saying that I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said or added already, but I still want to speak up and give you another voice. Someone who hurts with you. I can’t speak for my own sake when it comes to rape (no comment), but I feel for you.

    You are beautiful and I thank you for writing this. For writing it wonderfully and easy to understand.

  44. Paulo Pereira says:

    That was…tremendous. Thank you for sharing.

  45. Matthew Murdick says:

    I can only hope that this woman finds some semblance of peace coming to her, and I applaud her for her bravery and honesty in sharing this. – Matt Podcast Winterfell

  46. I can only hope that this woman finds some more peace in her life at some point and I applaud her for her bravery and honesty. – Matt (Podcast Winterfell)

  47. Carol says:

    Jesus, this was really strong. The part that breaks me is when you say that people don’t want to hear your histories. We do. That’s why the books are really amazing, they tell victims histories. I was never rapped, but I identified with Jeyne because I was beaten too, treated like a dog. I sort of understand you. We are strong.

  48. Sophie Prince says:

    My heart goes out to you. I wish I could talk with you and give you a hug. Your pain is so poignant that I can feel it. I’m a die-hard ASOIAF fan, & while HBO’s Game of Thrones started out well, the last two seasons have been disappointing (excluding Hardhome; that was incredible,) and now that they’ve surpassed the books, I believe it will continue to go downhill. But back to Sansa. My favorite YouTube reviewer sarcastically remarked on how they (the show) actually enhanced the sound of Ramsay undoing his belt & letting it drop to the floor. It was vile.
    I understand how you wish for Jeyne Poole to go to the House of Black & White & drink from the pool. I understand that very well. Ever since I first read about it, I have wished we had such a place in our world.
    You may be broken, but I promise you, every single person who has read this has the utmost respect and admiration for you and your strength in writing it. God watches over you still. And you are not alone.

  49. […] pretty much opposites politically and have never communicated.  I also do not know the author of A Rape Victim Speaks Out on the Sansa Scene, which is the post that started WotW-gate.  Never met her, never talked to her, and have no idea […]

  50. […] Carol on A Rape Victim Speaks Out on th… […]

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