In Westeros, rape is the sport of kings and a pastime for peasants. Game of Thrones-watchers have been moved to anger, angst and apoplexy over the steady stream of sexually-based offenses inflicted upon women in the Seven Kingdoms.
This is a puzzlement to Sophie Turner, who made her acting debut at age 13 as the highborn, ill-fated Sansa Stark in HBO’s mash-up of Middle Earth and the Middle Ages. The rape of the fictional character played by Turner provoked viewer outrage and boycott threats that befuddled the young actor.
“(Sansa’s rape) was the trending topic on Twitter, and it makes you wonder, when it happens in real life, why isn’t it a trending topic every time?” Turner wondered aloud in Time Magazine. “This was a fictional character, and I got to walk away….unscathed … “
Unscathed, yes, but not unchanged. Baffled by the “…. backlash when this is happening to women all over the world, every single day,” Turner looked for ways to divert the public’s attention from Sansa, who needed no help, to real rape victims who need help desperately.
Today, she is an activist on behalf of the half million Rawandan women who were systematically raped in the genocide that took place two years before Turner was born. As a patron of Women for Women International, Turner uses her starpower to bring attention to a program that provides meaningful help to women who have to survive and support what’s left of their families.
Florida’s rape survivors are provided with next-to-nothing in the way of practical support. While Gov. Rick Scott jumps aboard his private jet to troll fellow governors and peddle Florida as a great place to take a vacation or relocate a business, our large and largely ignored untested rape kits gather dust in evidence lockers. In some alternate, functional universe, Sansa Stark is Florida’s governor, and the rape kits get processed faster than you can say “Power is power.”