Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rape ≠ "Messed Up Romantic Relationship"

This is an FYI for Stephen Goldmeier, who says this:
By far the most dark and twisted relationship on Dollhouse, though, is that between Sierra and her original handler. Her handler, on multiple occasions, took advantage of the preternatural trust programmed into the otherwise blank Sierra to take advantage of her innocence and rape her.

It's one of the most twisted sexual events Whedon has yet crafted, and it further proves his fascination with strange, unconventional, or even downright disturbingly messed up romantic relationships.
Which, no. Just no.

I'm not one who believes there is a total disconnect between sex and rape, forever and always. I am one who believes rape is a form of asserting power, but rapes come in many different forms. There are rapes that do exist within "disturbingly messed up romantic relationships". One of Whedon's own shows even examines that: Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Spike trying to "make [Buffy] feel it" is an excellent example of where power and sex manifest into attempted rape.

Hearn raping Sierra doesn't fit in that pantheon. It is the classic rape-as-power. Hearn says it himself when Adelle asks him, "Did it make it better? That she didn’t struggle?" and Hearn responds, "No. It made it easier."

This was an abuse of the power a caregiver has over his charge, nothing more and nothing less. To describe Hearn's continued abuse of Sierra in romantic terms is to completely misunderstand the presented scenario, and to categorize all rape as somehow romantic in nature, no matter what.

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