graphic by Aditya Shukla | el estoque

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students break down their experiences with sexual violence in media

by aditya shukla 

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exposure and reflection

"Well, with something like a manga, if you're reading it thoroughly, like really looking at all the [art], it's not like a TV show where the images keep going by you,” Marwaha said. “You're there until you choose to scroll away from it. So it's either an active decision to say ‘OK, I'm done looking at this and I understand what's going on’ or you just keep staring at it and let it sink in.”

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"“I think [the portrayal of sexual violence in movies] is a good thing," Anumala said. "We're talking about it, and especially with Me Too, I think it's a good thing that we're finally talking about it in our literature. It's a step ahead, we’re progressing. Obviously we want to make sure that this never happens again to anyone and I think displaying it as a horrifying element of life kind of makes it better in the sense that it won’t happen again- like they’ll irk, they’ll shiver a little bit. They’ll feel for the person getting attacked. It's all about creating empathy through learning.”

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A problem with industry

"You see a lot of sexist stereotypes being perpetuated through [manga and anime], like women always being in the kitchen or the oversexualization of women in anime,” Nguyen said. “It's a very old fashioned thing, which is pretty uncomfortable, at least for me, and it's just not something that I feel is really beneficial to anyone at all. It perpetuates sexist stereotypes and it  doesn't bring anything to just constantly showing off disproportionately drawn women's bodies in a fictional setting. It's just completely out of hand.”

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the right way

“If [sexual violence is] done just for the sake of it or done just as a side thing and is glanced over as not important, I wouldn’t really enjoy that,” Marwaha said. I wouldn’t really support that as much as I would  authors taking the time to actually use [sexual violence] as a turning point in the plot, because it absolutely deserves to be."


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If you are concerned about the inclusion of sexual violence in any books, TV shows or movies and want to research more about the content that you consume, make sure to check out Common Sense Media or Unconsenting Media’s database. Not only does the database contain information about whether sexual violence is included, it also provides specific information on how it deals with the subject matter as well. Here are the descriptions and ratings for “Berserk”, “The Last Duel”, “Game of Thrones” and “Sword Art Online.”


RAINN: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network — HOTLINE NUMBER: 800-656-HOPE(4673)

NSVRC: National Sexual Violence Resource Center  —

SAFER: empowers student movements to combat sexual violence on college campuses  — 

Prevent Connection — 

Office on Women’s Health — HOTLINE NUMBER: 1-800-994-9662, 9 a.m. — 6 p.m. ET, Monday — Friday