Jessica Jones and Relationship Violence

"All you gave me was shame!"

[Content warning for discussion of rape and domestic violence]. [Not SPOILER free].

Frankly, it's one of the best things Marvel has done. But this show deserves credit for something else.

We victim-blame. We sympathize with attackers.

According to RAINNonly 3 out of every 100 rapists ever spend a day in prison

Jessica Jones shut that right down.

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Just in case the images won't load, here's the text of that scene:

Kilgrave: We used to do a lot more than just touch hands.

Jessica: Yeah, it's called rape.

Kilgrave: What? Which part of staying in five-star hotels, eating in all the best places, doing whatever the hell you wanted, is rape?

Jessica: The part where I didn't want any of it! Not only did you physically rape me, but you violated every cell in my body and every thought in my goddamn head.

Kilgrave: That is not what I was trying to do.

Jessica: It doesn't matter what you were trying to do! You raped me. Again and again and again.

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Something horrific happened to this woman.

And then he convinced himself that he was the victim, that he had done nothing wrong.

And when he finally realizes she doesn't want him...

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"Or maybe I'll just kill her."

For most victims of domestic violence, the times when they try to leave their partners are the most dangerous. Abusers adopt the mentality of "if I can't have her, no one can", the most extreme iteration of a repeating pattern of abuse: treating their partners like objects or possessions.

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Jessica Jones is a hero.

Jessica Jones stood up for all of those women and said no, this isn't love.

"Abuse thrives only in silence."

It can be easier to examine fictional villains to see patterns that can lead to violence, and it can be empowering to look up to fictional heroes when we need courage.

Actual feminist. Awkward explorer. Professional fangirl. Definitely always hungry.
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