If you haven’t watched it yet I strongly advise you to watch the latest Feminist Frequency video on Women as Background Decoration.
One of the points she raises is that violence against female characters is used as a shortcut to establishing a character as evil, and in doing so portrays sexual violence as something done by only evil cartoon villains.
Something that comes up repeatedly in the media etc when talking about sexual violence is this whole idea of it being perpetrated by Evil Ones™ who appear a certain way, just look at the reaction whenever a popular celebrity is accused of sexual assault.
All of the usual excuses get dragged out,
“But he’s a nice guy!”
“But he’s so talented!”
“But he gave money to charity!”
I don’t know what some people expect really.
There’s this misconception that having positive personality traits means that they couldn’t possibly do anything as vile as sexual assault. It’s so hard for people to believe that those sort of people walk among us openly, and fool so many. I guess because everyone wants to believe their judgement is perfect and that they couldn’t possibly like someone capable of something so horrific, but that also contributes to victim blaming as then the onus is on victims to have known that they were around an Evil One™
It is totally possible for a sex offender to also be talented, friendly, generous and caring towards others. It doesn’t negate what they are capable of. Presenting them as a two dimensional villain is not only lazy but harmful too.
It’s how so many get away with what they do, they blend in, they don’t have “Rapist” tattooed on their forehead, or woven into a villainous moustache.
Some of them, as I’ve discussed previously, even convince themselves they are Good and Kind. They can’t possibly commit sexual assault, they are one of the Good Ones. This is even more so when the assault takes place within a relationship, then they can point to all the good things they’ve done for their partner as if it wipes out the violence.
We cannot keep presenting rape as something done by some monster, it allows too many through.