HBO's fantasy hit Game of Thrones is notorious for shocking its viewers with scenes of gore, violence, and sexual content, but this Sunday's episode took things to a whole new level — and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is having none of it. After the episode ended with the appalling rape of an underage female character, the congresswoman took to Twitter to express her disdain. In a curt message following the episode's airing, McCaskill tweeted about Game of Thrones, "I'm done."
"Okay, I'm done Game of Thrones ... Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable," she wrote. "It was a rocky ride that just ended."
McCaskill has been an outspoken advocate in the fight against sexual assault and campus rape since her Senate appointment in 2006. In February, McCaskill and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a bill that would require public high schools to teach "safe relationship behavior" to students in order to prevent domestic violence and date rape, something that at the time was not required under federal education mandates. McCaskill was adamant that students have access to curriculum that taught the importance of understanding sexual assault, especially prior to the start of their college and university studies.
"One thing we've learned in our work to curb sexual violence on campuses and in the military is that many young people learn about sex and relationships before they turn 18," said McCaskill, citing a Department of Education survey last December that referred to the increased likelihood of assault against women ages 18 to 24.
In light of the increasing cases of campus rape in recent years, the vocal senator has also helped spearhead several bills that would help destigmatize victims claims and encourage them to come forward. In July 2014, McCaskill, along with bipartisan co-sponsors Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand(D-N.Y.), Sen. Kelly Ayotte(R-N.H.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and current 2016 presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, introduced legislation intended to provide further training to university staff, provide confidential advisers to victims of assault, and enable greater transparency in reporting practices. Schools that did not comply with the new mandates would be subjected to budgetary penalties.
"To curb these crimes, students need to be protected and empowered, and institutions must provide the highest level of responsiveness in helping hold perpetrators fully accountable," McCaskill said of the legislation in a statement that month.
With her vehement advocacy in a widely growing platform, it's no surprise that McCaskill, like so many other viewers, took issue with this week's hotly debated episode.
In the final moments of Sunday's "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken," 13-year-old Sansa Stark is wed to the violent and unstable Ramsay Bolton, who proceeds to consummate their marriage by raping her as childhood friend and pseudo-brother Theon Greyjoy is forced to watch. The episode immediately came under heavy fire by fans who felt, like McCaskill, that the scene was gratuitous and unnecessary, and surprisingly enough, by series' author George R.R. Martin, who said that the show had veered from his books in recent seasons. In a somewhat apologetic statement on his blog, Martin wrote:
There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. ... David and Dan and Bryan and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can. And over here I am trying to write the best novels that I can. And yes, more and more, they differ. Two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, I suppose... but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place.
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