writingfail asked: Hello! Sorry for bothering you, but I've been meaning to ask you something concerning Utena. You once said that Utena was raped by Akio in episode 33 and I recently got a message asking me how it was rape. I found that I couldn't explain it very well and, for the sake of closure, I would like to hear your reasons for thinking why that particular scene was a rape scene. Thank you!
Ah there have been some posts! WHO WAS IT. Liz I think. Let me see if i can find it in my tags? Ah here we go, I’ve answered the question before, I’ll repost it. trigger warning for rape, obvs.
I don’t think that was me, it was liz or utena tfln or someone, but sure, I’ll answer your question.
I think it’s referring to the recap episode late in the series that’s framed by Utena and Akio having sex, though at least I didn’t realize this till the end of said ep. It was thirty-something I can’t remember the number.
now, this is easy not to recognize as rape because it’s not how we’re used to media presenting it- a girl screaming nonono while a strange man she doesn’t know beats her up in a dark alley. The fact that we’re taught to consider rape as that black and white, and that it has to be responsibility of the woman to scream stop and no multiple times rather than the man’s responsibility to make sure a woman wants to have sex with him is a big reason for rape culture, and we’re all taught that way, so I don’t blame you.
But I’d say it qualifies a rape even though Utena didn’t scream no at the top of her lungs. First of all, she’s fourteen and Akio is an adult (scratch that he’s like a billion) (he’s also in a position of power over her, as her landlord and school chairman). Consent laws or different all around, but yeah, I would consider just that aspect of it making it rape.
Second, it’s pretty clear he was the one who coerced her into doing it (and it would naturally be under false pretenses, since he knew exactly what he was doing and was well aware he was lying to her about, oh, everything). We see shots of her presumably before the act, and she could not have made it clearer she wasn’t ready to have sex without flatout saying it. She’s not only nervous, she’s terrified. She’s bouncing off the walls, she’s babbling on and on about stuff that has nothing to do with what they are doing in an effort to draw his attention from “let’s do it” (she mentions Anthy like twenty times, clearly and effort to remind him and herself of his sister the reason she knows they should not be doing this- he clearly ignores this). Most telling of all, it’s implied he’s the POV of camera, and she rarely makes eye contact with him.
Then we see her during the sex and it’s the exact thing same. She’s not looking at him, her face is ALL pain and distress, and she’s talking about dinner and Anthy and food and Anthy and basically just laying there limply, babbling on and on about anything but the fact a dude is currently on top of her. No, she never says stop it outright. But if a girl starts talking about food and your little sister and how we should go home while you’re doing it, that’s a pretty clear signal she wants you to stop but she’s scared to say so directly. If you’re having sex and especially if you’re in a position of power, it’s your responsibility to make sure your partner is comfortable and not afraid of you/trying to give signals to stop. If you disregard that, yes, you’re raping them. And of course Utena is afraid of saying so directly. She’s fourteen, this is an older man she’s intimidated by and doesn’t want to displease and this is her first time in anything remotely like this situation. She does everything short of actually saying no, she makes it clear to anyone with eyes she doesn’t want to do this, and that should be enough for anyone.
The most horrifying part is the fact it’s pretty clear Akio doesn’t let up when she starts talking more and more desperately, but clearly just goes harder. The part where she’s cut off in the middle of her sentence and gives a gasp and sort of goes silent always makes me shiver. It’s definitely not “pleasure-pain”- Akio’s thrusting and hurting her while she’s trying to get him to stop. He doesn’t ask about her pain. He doesn’t care. Even if she had said no, you can bet he would have still kept going.
Afterwards, she’s just…completely broken and she places all the blame on herself. It reads to me very much like the reactions of a rape victim.
and now i’m depressed. In conclusion, yes, it may not have been gory and obvious, but I see it as rape, and it’s another example of the show letting us know that things like this are not always super simple, but incredibly manipulative and subtle, but just as evil and awful.