To everyone: producers, director, cast and crew and all directly involved in the recent Orange is The New Black rape episode:
I find it shocking that I cannot find an easy internet site to figure out which episode and when, but I know it was recent, and frankly it really doesn’t matter when you aired this episode.
I don’t have a lot of time for nuances, and there is no need. I must write this plain and simple so I can go on vacation and not be haunted by your behavior, namely not putting a trigger warning at the beginning of your show for all viewers to know. It is our responsibility to all rape victims, victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse (all of which are rapes anyway), that we protect them from unnecessary PTSD relapse to put it plain and simple.
As a therapist who works with very traumatized people, many of whom have been raped, I am disgusted that none of you on this episode had the decency to make sure that the viewer be warned at the beginning of the show that some of the content of this episode contains graphic depictions of rape.
You have power with your show, with what you depict and how you depict it. IT’s a popular show, and it is safe to say that many people watching your show have been raped. The power of one sentence shown before the action of the show began is immense; you could have saved millions of viewers from suffering relapses of symptoms.
If you have been raped or are close to a rape victim, you are aware of all the terrible aspects of this horrible trauma and how much suffering it causes.
Where it was necessary for the arc of your plot to have this happen on your show, you need to be told, and I speak for the patient whom I know was severely harmed and retraumatized by your show, and I hope I am speaking for many rape victims out there whom society has silenced, whose stories have not been told, you need to issue an apology to all these trusting loyal veiewers on your show, that you should have warned them and you could have prevented a lot of needless suffering.
If you don’t get this, I will spell it out, when you don’t issue a trigger warning to a rape victims, guess what happens while they are watching your show, that is caused directly by the content you put on it; they are brought back to the rape event or events they experienced. You might as well be forcing their eyes open and shoving their experience in their face for them to watch someone on the screen be raped. Symptoms will include dissociation, activation of the amygdala area of the brain flight/fight repose and the person’s system will resort to any available coping mechanisms, often the more unhealthy ones such as self cutting, binging, drug abuse and others.
You have created this directly and made a person sick from watching part of an episode of your show.
When people watch your so called “fictional” episode with a rape occurring in detail before their eyes, the traumatized brain doesn’t care if this really happened or not, because from this brain’s point of view it is happening and this is true. Watching a so called very graphic “simulation” of a rape is much more harmful than hearing a quick description of a rape crime on the news.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, for the future, be very aware of the power you have, and do not abuse it again. These people have suffered enough and been shamed and stigmatized for doing nothing wrong, just being unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And for rape victims nd others who were effected by this episode, your show was the wrong thing in the wrong place and the wrong time.
The TV show Homeland which like your show, has as its “normal” traumatic events occurring on every episode, actually had the decency to issue a written warning at the beginning of the episode of a big bombing. It was the right thing to do, but there is something wrong with a society that makes it ok to care about people traumatized by 9/11 and the bompbings but not care about a single individual being raped by another human.
Until you issue an apology to your viewers, I urge people to speak up about this. I saw what you did first hand in a session with a survivor and I am still devastaed by the effects and quite concerned for this person’s well being.