In the season one episode of All Saints, The Hard Yards, nurse Jarad’s football hero Gazza is admitted, having been stabbed by his girlfriend. Gazza is claiming an unprovoked attack by a jealous, insecure girlfriend; the girlfriend is claiming rape. Devoted fan that he is, Jarad wants to believe Gazza. But in a drug-induced haze, Gazza admits to it, still maintaining that she wanted it. See, to his logic, when he comes home pumped after a hard day’s training and wants sex, he won’t be easily discouraged. Even if that means a little “˜persuasion’. Because (in his opinion) she was just playing silly games and really wanted it, even if she said no.
Jarad sees straight through this, and realises that Gazza raped her. And he can find no excuses for his hero’s behaviour. Next day, he tells Gazza he’s calling the police. Gazza first tried to justify his actions, for which Jarad’s response is to laugh at him. He then tried to intimidate Jarad, who responds with confidence that he’s doing the right thing. Then he pleads for the sake of his career and – most audaciously – the sick children with cancer who look up to him, Jarad coolly tells Gazza they’ll have to find another hero. There is nothing Gazza can say that can redeem him, having raped a woman.
I know a lot of men who have absolutely no tolerance for men committing rape – no matter what the circumstances. Once “˜no’ has been said, that’s the end of it. But you rarely see that kind of man-turning-against-man attitude towards rape on television. How many episodes of SVU and CSI have we seen where men offered each other alibis in rape cases, even when they knew the person they were alibying was guilty as sin? As if the man’s victim was nothing more then an inconvenience? It’s my honest belief that far more men empathise with women who are raped then the men who rape them then the media would lead us to believe.
Perhaps if writers and producers went into this more, they’d have to face up to the fact that many men find rape reprehensible – and then maybe they’d have to rethink their own attitudes on it.
We can only hope.