ByChris McKinney, writer at

Those of us who are in love with the best show on TV, Game of Thrones, may have just experienced a dramatic churn in our stomachs after the last episode on May 17th after a rape scene. BUT, why are people just NOW freaking out about severe content?

Yes, rape is bad, and I haven’t read an article yet that tried to downplay the significance of it. Rape is a nasty thing, and it’s in many stories on many platforms, including television. It’s been seen as part of plots on many Oxygen station shows, but what’s the difference? Why is it more acceptable as a part of plot on one platform and not for another?

I’ve heard Senator Claire McCaskill announced that she was finished watching the series after the dramatic scene, “gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable”. Unacceptable? Ok. How about change the wording to “uncomfortable”. If you don’t want to watch the series now that a women has been raped, so be it, but don’t label it unacceptable. It’s part of a story plot, and the source material was written far more gruesome. These books are each huge sellers, so it’s hard to believe no one saw this coming. I think this is another case of bias. A WOMAN was assaulted and so now it’s an issue.

Remember when Ramsay Bolton, the same character who raped Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) tortured and castrated Theon Grayjoy? After Theon was threatened with a severe rape scene of his own? If you ask me, I think it’s obvious which of the 2 events was more harsh and far more dark. So where was the outrage for Theon’s severe scenes? Well he’s a man, and men get a lot less sympathy. Sansa Stark has been in quite an uncomfortable situation since her father’s passing, from one gross or potentially gross situation to another, this time she found herself in the grossest of them all so far.

Game of Thrones' Ramsay and Theon
Game of Thrones' Ramsay and Theon

But, like the stories on Oxygen, who is doubting Sansa Stark isn’t going to get her revenge? Also, she put herself in this situation, definitely not aware of how bad her situation would get, but she is with the people who brutally murdered people she loved, with full knowledge of the ruthless nature of her new husband. She maybe didn’t see her own rape coming, but she needs to be looked at as more of a hero and less like a victim. The way I have interpreted her situation is that she has accepted and is willing to endure horrible things in order to re-establish her home, be closer to the people who look to her as their leader, and closer to her opportunity for revenge.

Many of the characters in this show are brutal, and go to great lengths to establish themselves superior to others by doing horrible things. The Red Witch? Daunerys Targaryen was one of the first women of the show to be placed into an awkward situation in an arranged marriage to a barbarian, which later developed into love.

Game of Thrones' Theon
Game of Thrones' Theon

The show is pushing boundaries, surely, but Sansa’s rape isn’t the darkest or most gruesome content of the show. Too many women who are criticizing the show now after Sansa’s rape scene are just bias to serving women, only seeing the female’s rape, not the male’s. That’s not equality. If you’re going to complain about one, you need to own up to both. Otherwise you’re not being fair and you’re not benefiting the argument of equality.

Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a fantastic article on this topic today (@AlyssaRosenberg). She expressed, like many people, the displeasure of the rape scene, but pointed out the event was used as a portion of story, and done with care. It should also be noted that the actress herself felt that it was a tremendous step for the show and the character. Alyssa Rosenberg stated: “Women aren’t the only people who are subject to sexual control in Westeros and Essos, and “Game of Thrones” has actually fleshed out a number of these stories to make them more poignant and painful.” PLEASE check out her full and well written article, a great read!

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