Unfortunately, assaults are a part of our lives, no matter who you are or where you鈥檙e from. From Taylor Swift to Evan Rachel Wood, celebs are very publicly dealing with sexual assaults, and the world is taking notice. And though movies and shows often reflect IRL issues, that doesn鈥檛 mean we should be lazy or unwilling to face things as they are in order to change things for the future. That鈥檚 why some shows are now banning sexual assault as a plot device.

Lost Girl

Though it can鈥檛 be denied that assaults of all kinds are faced IRL (which would make it a valid storyline in that manner), it鈥檚 the rampant use of it over other options that doesn鈥檛 make sense (as well as the way it鈥檚 sometimes employed). Michelle Lovretta, executive producer and showrunner of Lost Girl and Killjoys told Variety, 鈥淚t鈥檚 a fast-hitting combo of a lot of powerful inputs 鈥 titillation, taboo, character conflict, deep betrayal.鈥

Another writer who didn鈥檛 want to be named further explained, 鈥淚t鈥檚 become shorthand for backstory and drama. Everyone knows rape is awful and an horrific violation, so it鈥檚 easy for an audience to grasp.鈥 She also added that with males dominating showrunning positions and writing rooms, it鈥檚 an easy option. 鈥淔or male showrunners, sexual assault is always the go-to when looking for 鈥榯raumatic backstory鈥 for a female character. You can be sure it will be brought up immediately, like it鈥檚 the obvious place to go when fleshing out a female character.鈥

Jeremy Slater, who is heading the revival of The Exorcist for Fox, says that while looking through spec scripts for possible writers, rape was overwhelmingly present. 鈥淚 would say out of those 200 scripts, there were probably 30 or 40 of them that opened with a rape or had a pretty savage rape at some point.鈥 Holy geez.

He added, 鈥淥ne of my hard-and-fast rules when reading spec scripts was, the second that there was a rape that was used for shock value and that didn鈥檛 have any sort of narrative purpose, I threw the script aside. And I was shocked by the number that had that鈥 It has become a plague on the industry.鈥


That鈥檚 why plenty of folks in the biz are banning it. Bryan Fuller, who鈥檚 currently behind American Gods, made an official rule when making Hannibal. Though there was plenty of violence, there was to be no sexual violence and no rape scenes. 鈥淚 personally think that it stains a story, in a way, in that it prevents you from being able to celebrate different aspects of sexuality. America as a country has a very fucked-up attitude regarding sex and sexuality, so there is something [troubling] about the punishing of characters for their sex and sexuality.鈥

It will be interesting to see how shows handle provocative storylines without the use of sexual assault. And seriously, it鈥檚 about time.

What do you think about some shows banning sexual assault as a plot device? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(h/t Jezebel; photos via NBC, Prodigy Pictures Inc.)