The new Netflix show Anatomy of a Scandal is shocking viewers with the gratuitous sexual assault scene which is one of the most dangerous representations of rape.
Created by David E. Kelley and Melissa James Gibson, the new British anthology series stars Naomi Scott, Sienna Miller, Rupert Friend, Michelle Dockery, Ben Radcliffe and Josette Simon. With six episodes, the miniseries will explore the deepest and darkest personal, professional and political scandals of the British elite.
Focusing on James and Sophie Whitehouse, the show explores how a scandalous secret threatens to disrupt the Parliament Minister’s family and life, as pursued by a barrister who caters to her own personal interests as well.
Ever since its release in April, the show has become one of the most streamed shows on Netflix. However, ironically, despite having been released during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the political thriller-cum-courtroom drama presents a misinformed representation of sexual violence on-screen.
Conservative MP has an affair with the parliamentary aide who soon accuses him of rape. As the MP appears totally taken aback, the show airs a scene that will go down as one of the worst decisions ever made by television directors, as the sexual assault is portrayed in a provocative manner.
Directed by S.J. Clarkson, the show appears to glamorise rape and present it in a horrifyingly sensational manner, involving heavy breathing, sounds of ripping fabric, the swish of hair etc. Alongside, the lyrics say, “Desire takes over, lost all control, how the mighty fall.”
The misery does not end there as the scene is continuously replayed in flashbacks throughout the show, with a special focus on the survivor’s face.
During a time when feminists are constantly trying to do away with the exploitative misrepresentation within rape culture, this scene from the show fetishises sexual assault and almost justifies rape by using perfect camera shots, angles and titillating music etc.
Instead of focusing on empowering the survivor and bringing them justice, the show seems to focus more on the sensational and visually enticing aspects of it, which is frankly disgusting and extremely derogatory and harmful to sexual violence survivors.