Violent scenes in films must not become commonplace
Imagine it’s the week before finals. You’re tired, you’re stressed and you really just need a break.
Enter the only night in the entire week you haven’t had gargantuan amounts of work glaring at you. Because one of your favorite actors is in a movie playing on campus, you gather up friends to go get a couple hours of relaxation in the theater — only to end up watching a horrifying rape scene.
Instantly your relaxing break is over. I think I’ll take that homework right about now.
This was my reality just before winter vacation. I simply wanted to see actor Alexander Skarsgård of “True Blood” in the movie “Straw Dogs,” which was playing on campus. I knew it was going to be a scary movie — it was R-rated — but this horror scene went one step too far.
Instead of getting my mind off my work, I found myself walking out of the theater midscene, horrified and unable even to wait for my friends in the hallway. I could still hear the actress screaming at her attacker on screen.
What happened to the line in the sand dividing the scary from the atrocious and offensive?
The recently released movie “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” also includes a vicious rape scene. But people have given rave reviews to the film, somehow able to ignore this sequence. The movie is a wonderful thriller — you can’t deny that — but it would have been just as good, if not better, excluding such a graphic sexual assault.
Movies, in many ways, are an imitation of life. Because rape, murder and violence are realities in life, it could be argued that these subjects have a place on screen.
But do explicit and vulgar scenes show any more of the reality of rape than a scene that merely suggests it?
Rape is an unfortunate reality, but that doesn’t mean the act should be considered normal. With the release of such films, it seems violence and rape have become commonplace, teaching society that rape is part of the norm.
Explicit depictions only increase acceptance among the public — but rape and sexual violence should not be allowed to become a norm on any level.
The more gruesome and explicit movies are when it comes to murder, rape and other violence, the less viewers see these acts as unordinary. No matter how often these crimes occur in reality, individuals should not be allowed to grow accustomed to them. Normalizing these acts makes them appear as one of life’s inevitable truths instead of an atrocity we need to fight against.
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a great show that involves the subject of sexual assault. What makes this topic work in the show is not glorifying rape or making episodes sickening to watch. It makes a point in every episode to show that there is not enough being done for victims or to stop attackers; it makes a point to show that rape is disgusting and wrong, but it does not make you watch helplessly as a victim’s body and psyche are violated.
Explicit rape scenes are not what inspires audiences to watch or buy thrillers. They only force horrible violence to become a larger part of our lives.
The film industry needs to care a bit more about what it’s suggesting and the effects it will have on society — otherwise they will lose customers. I know the next time I go to the movies, I’m sticking with a comedy.