Krysten Ritter Praises 'Jessica Jones' Spot-On Handling Of Sexual Assault & Says What We Were All Thinking
Every time I think I couldn't possibly love anything else about Jessica Jones, I go right ahead and do it. And the newest culprit? Star Krysten Ritter praised Melissa Rosenberg's treatment of sexual assault on Jessica Jones, confirming both that the women behind the scenes are supportive of one another and that the show's dedication to refusing to shy away from the harsh issues and nuances that made Jessica Jones so captivating doesn't go unnoticed even by the cast. The Marvel show was both created, written, and executive produced by Rosenberg, who had previously co-executive produced shows like Dexter and The O.C., and written the screenplays for all five Twilight movies, so there's already a lot to admire about her. But what I want to stress in particular is how dexterously Rosenberg brought forward the topic of sexual assault in regards to Jessica Jones' origin story.
She placed that assault at the center of the narrative in a way that the comic had never explicitly touched on. She gave a name to the abuse perpetrated on Jones by Kilgrave, who has the ability to release pheromones that compel his victims to submit totally to his verbal commands. Even in 2015, the concept of "consent" seems to trip a lot of us up, but, according to Ritter, in a recent interview with Vulture about the series, the event at the heart of Jessica Jones was always crystal clear to Rosenberg. "She’s a feminist with a capital F," Ritter says. "The comic book never uses the word 'rape'. This is a story of how [Jessica] gets past feeling victimized."
It's something that a lot of other shows would hint at, or imply, dancing around the events themselves as if the onus for the crime somehow falls on the survivor instead of the perpetrator. But Jessica Jones doesn't go in for that, placing the blame squarely on Kilgrave for his actions, without even a moment of side eye at Jones for drinking the way she does, or dressing the way she does, or talking the way she does, or being the way she is, or not fighting hard enough. Which, by the same token, doesn't mean she's just supposed to shake off the trauma as though nothing ever happened. She's affected by it, and the show is honest about, and sympathetic to that, without ranging into pity, which I couldn't appreciate more.
It's a fictionalized show, and I know that, but I can't overstate how important it is for us to see responsible portrayals of the victims of sexual assault and rape, especially in a show like Jessica Jones. It would've been easy to paint a generalized portrait of a female superhero without delving beneath the surface to get the full details about how and why she ticks, but that's not what Rosenberg did, and Ritter wants to make sure that the audience didn't miss what a powerful act that was. Slow clap for everyone involved here, but especially Melissa Rosenberg — you and your work are appreciated.
Image: Giphy; Netflix