Television’s Rape Epidemic – Post by Tim Challies

challies-thumb-800x533-335I found this to be a very interesting read concerning today’s mainstream media. Downton Abbey is a show listed in Tim Challies’s article that I have invested in, but I know many people invest their time in other shows he points out. Give it a read and share your thoughts. What do you think is the next frontier for explicit television viewing?

I don’t watch a lot of movies these days, largely because it’s rare that I can find something that promises to reward me more richly than spending the same amount of time in a good book. That said, I do enjoy the occasional miniseries when I can catch it on Netflix or iTunes; I guess I find it easier to part with forty minutes than two hours. Even with that limited exposure there’s something I have observed and something that has spelled the end of my interest in more than a few shows: Rape is in.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

You might also want to give one of my older posts a read and share your thoughts: Why Christians “Prefer” Violence to Sex. 

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My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, and home owners. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, book recommendations, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For updates on my upcoming books, visit my webpage at

9 Responses to Television’s Rape Epidemic – Post by Tim Challies

  1. bwbyars says:

    I saw an interview with Joanne Froggatt (who plays Anna on DA). She talked about that scene and how they deliberately did not depict the event onscreen. I felt that in that show they did such an excellent job of showing her mindset as a victim, her lack of rights, attempting a contrast with the mindset then and now. (How some things have changed, other things haven’t changed enough.) My wife and I discussed it afterward and both felt it was handled so well. Nothing was “glorified” or “gorified.” It wasn’t taken lightly. It’s a terrible thing, but the director handled it very well.
    I haven’t seen the other shows mentioned, so I can’t say how well this is always handled. I think we have to set apart those shows that are just intended to entertain and those shows that have a more didactic intention. I came away from almost every episode of DA with something to think about – something to think about seriously. I never felt as if I had only been entertained, like I do with so many shows.
    I’m thankful for one of my professors in college on a more general topic here. After a controversial chapel message, pretty much denying that any Christian could ever watch anything out of Hollywood (I attended BJU), she was willing to open her class by asking, “Why would a Christian want to watch a PG movie?” No one was willing to answer at first. I think most students were imagining Admiral Ackbar (“It’s a trap!”), but I answered, “I can tell you why a Christian would want to see a rated R movie.” That made most of them jump. I continued, “I love the book ‘Last of the Mohicans’ by Cooper, and now that they’ve made a movie about it, I’d like to see it.” (I date myself, I know).
    The ice broken, we were able to have a good discussion. I recall seeing this quote, “I’d rather have the R-rated truth than a G-rated lie.” I think the Passion of the Christ demonstrated that, as well.
    I’m certainly not encouraging more shows to explore rape, but I do think we have to ask ourselves, “Why is it there?”

  2. Thanks for posting the article. I think using rape merely to develop a character or to add tension can’t really be justified. That can be done a million other ways and just seems to be done for shock or out of laziness. You need to really justify it in larger terms. It has to say something more. Not just about the character but about us all. It has to comment on our desire to watch it and think it’s necessary for that character or that story. It has to be generalisable. The same with a murder. If people go away thinking, oh he raped her, he’s a bit of a baddie, isn’t he, that kind of trivialises the whole thing, really. And showing the rape itself: what does that add? Why do we need to see it? Does it make it worse than saying he did it? I don’t know. Thinking off the top off my head.

  3. Unfortunately, it’s not just in movies. School kids now, and even when I was in school, use “rape” lightly in jokes. If they beat someone in a game, they “raped” that person. “Got schooled” seems to have been replaced with “Got raped.” It’s sickening – I think because maybe kids lack empathy for victims of this crime. They don’t realize how life-altering and painful it is.

    On the one hand, I understand taking a potentially tense subject and lightening it with a joke. We have even done that with the Holocaust. My multicultural friends in Los Angeles have done that with race. But rape isn’t something to be minimized – unlike the Holocaust, it’s still here. Unlike race relations, normalizing it won’t make it go away. People walking around in our schools or work places today are victims. People we know still bear scars, if not at least mental. It’s an issue that deserves gravity because it can’t be minimized – it must be obliterated.

  4. Good article. I actually “dropped out” of regular TV watching a while back, preferring books and the occasional BBC documentary on YouTube. Even before this current rape epidemic (which I’m glad I’ve missed), the lying, cheating, and backstabbing were getting to me. Not much of TV fell into the “Whatsoever things are true, just, pure, and lovely” category, so I bailed. Violence, too, has gotten far more explicit, and I don’t feel I need to see a lot of that. And I used to love TV and movies. This is not to say all TV and movies are bad. There are some excellent movies and shows — but one has to be more careful than ever. I’ve only seen a couple of movies in the last two years (and recommend both): “42” and “America.”

    I do hope that people drawing attention to the downward spiral gets the viewing public to demand a return to slightly less frequently and less vividly depicted evil. With “Downton Abbey” as an example, I’d say that the “Free Bates” movement a few seasons back makes it clear that people still want to see justice done and are outraged by injustice. Evil exists, and it must be acknowledged, but justice should be swift and virtue should be a lot more common.

    But thanks for sharing the article — and for your blog in general.

  5. Thank you for this. I’m now following Challies on fb.

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