Friday, April 10, 2009

Trigger Warning For Movie Observe and Report

For those who haven't already heard about Seth Rogen's new movie...
NY Mag: Does Seth Rogen Rape Anna Faris in Observe and Report?

Not surprisingly a commenter scolds the author of this article for not waiting until everyone who was planning to go see this movie does so before raising this issue. For that man, fostering debate is far more important than warning people about a scene that could be triggering and traumatizing.

This attitude which puts one man's desire above other people's needs is more than ironic in this situation.

From the description given of the scene, Rogen's character does rape Faris's character, a woman unable to consent. Since this is a MO which is often minimized or flat-out denied by those who are quick to label reports of this type of rape as a "drunken romp" this is far more than a debate about whether people liked or disliked a particular movie.

The way this scene is framed by the rest of the movie is also important because that framing can easily reinforce dangerous attitudes which help people rationalize sexually violating another human being. Many times this rationalization is so entrenched that when someone rightfully reports rape they are widely accused of making a false accusation.

A movie can be respectful without being preachy. If a particular director or writer cannot do this then the problem is with them not the medium.

The Sexist discusses this scene and not surprisingly in the comments it is disclosed that a rape survivor was blindsided by this scene.

Also not surprisingly some men are more upset about the backlash against a date rape included in a movie than they are about the minimization of rape. At least one of these men flat out denies that this was rape because the movie decides to have the rape victim wake for a second mid-rape and fulfil the fantasies of rapists everywhere.

This movie making decision doesn't undo rape anymore than deciding that after having a character shoot another character that the character who was shot will realize he is bleeding to death and say, "Life wasn't that good anyway." We get that this statement doesn't retroactively turn a killing shot into assisted suicide.

If as I've seen alleged, this scene is okay because Rogen's character is unsympathic and unsympathic people often commit crimes then the discussion by people connected to this film will be about the rape scene. They might explain why one or more characters don't view a rape as being what it is just as actors explain why their characters don't view murder as being what it is. What they won't do is deny that this is a rape scene.

As another commenter responded: Consent needs to be given before sex begins. That this basic concept is so "radical" and nonsensical to some people tells us why rape is common and why so many people rightfully accused of rape are certain they have been wrongfully accused.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:18 AM   2 comments links to this post


At April 10, 2009 2:34 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

As a rape survivor whose victimization occurred while blacked out—I find this movie to be repugnant and damaging.
April is National Sexual Assault Month and should be reserved for creating awareness of this horrific plague on our community.

Please do not see this film as it makes an utter mockery of rape.
I cannot even begin to understand the cultural damage this is going to do to our society. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men become victims of sexual assault in this country.
The reality is that many females will be walking into the theaters over the next couple days with no knowledge that this scene is in this movie as it has not shown up in the commercials. This could trigger devastating PTSD affects and will cause re-victimization for many survivors of sexual assault.

Jennifer Storm, Author of Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America

At April 10, 2009 11:20 PM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) said...

This is very important, thanks for writing about it. I'll link it over at my blog.


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