“The Handmaid’s Tale” Episode Review
I have a lot of complicated feelings about season four of this show, and this episode has only made that apprehension worse. When I turned on season four episode eight of The Handmaid’s Tale, entitled “Testimony,” I did so with anticipation for exactly one thing. I was hoping that this one thing would be addressed within the first ten minutes of the episode.
It went on to not be referenced at all.
The last scene of the previous episode, entitled “Home,” was of June raping her husband Luke.
Lest you disagree with my use of the term ‘rape’ here, let’s review the facts.
June climbs on top of him while he’s asleep. When he wakes up to her groping him, he is visibly confused. She takes out his dick, and he says:
“June, wait. Wait, wait, wait. June, wait. Wait, wait, wait.”
He then slumps back, avoids eye contact, and seems to visibly go numb.
But wait, he could have pushed her off, or explicitly said “no.”
Except, she just got out of a country where she was raped and beating horrifically and regularly, and he knows pushing her away from a moment of desired sexual contact would fuck her up. And he loves her.
Make no mistake, physical force is not the only tool rapists use to assault their victims. Using head tricks, emotional manipulation, and pedantry are all ways perpetrators of sexual crimes commit sex crimes and insulate themselves from the consequences. By and large, we recognize this in cases when men assault women, and the rest of society is slowly picking on the fact that women can rape women and men can rape men, and that’s not okay. But we’re still refusing to call rape rape when committing by a women against a man?
So, we agree that June raped Luke. I don’t think that necessarily means that June is automatically a terrible person. In fact, if this had led to a discussion about the humanity of rapists, a statement that people who commit horrific crimes are not monstrous, unfathomable entities who should be punished with no regard for their sentience, but are people just like us, capable even of being victims themselves, we can remove a…