Is Rape Entertaining?

silenthillI saw Silent Hill: Revelation 3D and it was terrible, but thankfully, unlike the first one, there was no barbed wire rape scene.  I won’t describe it for you, but you can look it up if you wish. Both movies were gruesome and terrifying without the inclusion of sexaul assault, and the writer and director of the sequel didn't include that element in their new movie. For sure, they included a lot of other horrible stuff including torture of other kinds. But it seems to me that rape stands out from all other forms of asault and torture. My question is, why do we include it in horror movies? Is rape entertaining?

Mosevildeadt of us, well, hopefully all of us, would say no. So, why are graphic rape scenes portrayed in popular movies as entertainment? Movies like Generals Daughter, Silent Hill, Deliverance, Last House on the Left and even old comedy classic horror movies like Evil Dead have pointless and brief tree/rape scenes. Perhaps some creators of movies are having second thoughts. Sam Raimi, the director of the Spiderman Trilogy also directed and wrote the horror classic Evil Dead that included the tree/rape scene. He followed up the first movie with a sequel, Evil Dead 2, that, because of some licensing issues, repeated much of what happened in the first one, including the scene in which a woman is pulled into the woods by the evil trees. However, in the 2nd one, rape is not included in that scene, only the abduction. Perhaps Raimi understood that this scene was scary enough without rape being included.
One might argue that this is part of the story antheaccusedd it’s understandable that someone would want to portray that part of it. However...most of these movies are not based on true stories, and even if they were, that scene would have been written, acted and filmed. What I mean is, that rape scene is done on purpose. My question is, is that ok?  Yes I understand that rape happens, more often than we think and it’s horrible. The Accused, starring Jodie Foster, is a movie about a brutal rape that occurs with bystanders watching and cheering on. This movie tells the true story of how a young woman fights for justice and sets a new standard of law. So it’s understandable that this movie would show what happened to her. Showing the reality of her true experience is perhaps beneficial to those of us who don’t ever see that side of life so we can react accordingly. But this is the exception to the rule. More often than not, a rape scene in a movie is not based on a true story, but written into the plot of a fictional movie created for the purpose of entertaining.
generalsdaughterOk, so what’s the danger here, what’s the big deal?  25 years ago a study was done that compared exposure to pornographic and non-pornographic viewers, and their response to the punishment of rape. You can read it here:

They had three groups of people, all watching roughly four hours of media a week. Some watching only porn, some watching a mixture of regular movies and porn, and a third group watching only movies without pornographic scenes. Many very interesting findings were made in this study, but the one that applies directly to this topic is this quote:  

“Porn seemed to condition participants to trivialize rape. Participants were asked to read about a legal case where a man raped a female hitchhiker and then recommend a length for the rapist’s prison sentence. Males in the No Exposure Group said 94 months; the Massive Exposure Group said 50 months (nearly half that of the No Exposure Group).”

This means that people, specifically men who watch massive amounts of pornographic material will punish a rapist much less severely than those who don’t watch pornography. Massive amounts, by the way, was 4 hours a week, 25 years ago. 4 Hours a week is considered pretty common practice now.

What’s my point? This study proves there is a correlation between what we view and our perception of the world, how we think how bad certain things are. If pornographic movies that depict consensual sex affect us this way, one might infer that depiction of rape might affect us in a similar way.

Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that viewing a rape scene in a movie will automatically create a rapist out of thin air. However, if media can desensitize us in a way that trivializes rape, I would hope that all of us would consider this a bad thing.

Let me ask this. Even if there was no proof or evidence that the graphic depiction of rape in a movie affects us in a negative way, should it still be shown to us? Is rape entertaining? And if so, should it be?

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