Violence Defined in “Law & Order: SVU”
Violence is an act that is intended to cause physical or emotional harm to another human being. This covers violent acts which requires a person to make unwanted contact with another person (hitting, attacking with weapons, etc.) or threats that make the victim feel uncomfortable or in danger. Not included in this definition is self-harm, because it tends to have a psychological rather than behavioral origin; it also does not include accidents, such as car accidents. As long as the action is unintended, it is not violence. However, if violence is intended towards a particular person and another person is affected, this meets the definition.
This definition of violence was applied to the television show, “Law & Order: SVU”. This show features a police unit dedicated to sex crimes and crimes against children. This episode was about a woman named Kelly who appeared in Central Park in lingerie after having been raped and had no memory of the incident. The first incident of violence occurred when Kelly, upon being admitted to the hospital, was confused and attacked the hospital personnel who were trying to help her. Detective Benson (a female) calmed her down and explained to her that she was raped. The second incident of violence occurred when recordings of several rapes was discovered and played for the detectives. The video showed women being held down and beaten as a prelude to rape. This depiction was particularly graphic and disturbing. The final incident involved Jeff and his former fiancée, whom he raped. She approached him as a means of identifying him for the police, and Jeff screamed at her that she liked the rape, it was her duty to allow him any kind of sexual access to her, and that she was overreacting. His former fiancée flinched at his words because she had been through a horrific ordeal and he was making light of it while threatening her if she testified. He then proceeded to threaten all of the victims who made an appearance in the station house.
The show primarily focused on the idea that avid pornography ingestion can lead to an idea that women want to be raped. Men see the violence in the films and assume that all women are that way. The first scene with Kelly taught the viewer not to trust anyone and never to leave one’s drink alone when in a bar with unfamiliar people. While the depiction of the consequences was horrific, the viewer knows that such an act of violence can be prevented by being careful or going out in groups. Kelly was a professional woman who was raped on her way to a business trip – she was not a club hound trolling the bars. The second incident was frightening in that there are so many drugs available that can cause a person to lose memory or to cease forming memories altogether. Finally, Jeff’s attitude toward his victims was the most frightening aspect of the show. He had no remorse for his actions and no empathy for his victims. Viewers might learn that even a professional-looking man can have a dark side.