Although beloved by many, HBO’s Game of Thrones has sparked several controversies throughout the years regarding its portrayal of both rape and nudity. One of the show’s major characters, Sansa Stark, was the victim of a horrific and controversial rape in Season 5. But Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, was angry at the public’s response to the scene.
Turner’s recent statement are in line with previous comments she made to TIME earlier this year. In the article, she asserts that Sansa’s rape, perpetrated by her then-onscreen husband Ramsay Bolton, was used to bolster her drive to gain independence.
But many saw it as yet another example of sexual assault used for the sake of entertainment.
While it’s understandable that many take issue with onscreen sexual violence, Turner raises an interesting point: Why are fictional portrayals of assault acceptable to talk about openly when real-life victims are so often shamed into silence? Why can we all agree that Sansa was a victim, when so many real-life women are doubted and belittled when they come forward?
Whether you believe the controversial scene was a necessary part of Sansa’s development or not, we think that conversations involving power dynamics, assault, and victimhood should be the norm, not the exception, when a fictional show happens to bring them to our attention.
Let’s use this as a reminder to stay focused and aware of these issues every day, because as Turner pointed out, it’s happening every day.