FCC: Create a "Sexual Violence" Warning for Television Shows
  • Petitioning Federal Communications Commission and TV Parental Guidelines

This petition will be delivered to:

Federal Communications Commission and TV Parental Guidelines
TV Parental Guidlines
Director Media Relations, FCC
Tammy Sun
Chairman, FCC
Julius Genachowski
Comissioner, FCC
Robert McDowell
Comissioner, FCC
Mignon Clyburn
Comissioner, FCC
Jessica Rosenworcel
Comissioner, FCC
Ajit Pai

FCC: Create a "Sexual Violence" Warning for Television Shows

    1. Marcie Kaveney
    2. Petition by

      Marcie Kaveney

      Fort Myers, FL

***Warning*** This petition text contains references to sexual violence.

Right now, millions of sexual violence survivors are at risk for re-traumatization from the television programs they watch. But there’s one easy thing the FCC can do to stop that -- create a “sexual violence” content warning for television.

This would have been particularly helpful to survivors watching the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. The character, Jaime Lannister rapes his sister/lover in a scene that is later described by the director to "end" consensually. This was not the first time for the show as they continue to use rape as a form of entertanment. 

The title of the program and the information listed for the episode did NOT include information about a rape scene, nor was there a content warning specific to sexual violence at the beginning of the show. And it’s not just Game of Thrones -- in the past graphic scenes of sexual violence have appeared in The Walking Dead, Girls, Silent Witness, Bates Motel, Scandal and other programs.

The picture with this petition is of myself and two of my friends who are advocates and fellow survivors. As survivors and advocates we understand how damaging this content can be to someone who is not expecting it and is not able to prepare for it. Survivors’ memories of their own assault can be triggered by sights, sounds, smells or even feelings that they experience. These triggers can bring back memories of the trauma and cause intense emotional reactions and physical reactions, especially in survivors with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Millions of television viewers are sexual violence survivors. According to RAINN statistics, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That means that of the audience for the episode of Bates Motel which featured a rape scene, there were potentially over 450,000 survivors in the audience (assuming that out of the 4.6 million viewers, half were women and half were men). These survivors deserved a warning.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution -- The FCC, via the TV Parental Guidelines, should create a “sexual violence” content warning at the beginning of any television show that will be airing an episode with sexual violence.

Such a warning will empower survivors by giving them the choice on whether or not they want to watch, and if they do, they can prepare themselves for the scene. It will also allow families to decide what type of violent content they want to view. The FCC has already designated “fantasy violence” as a subset of violent content that affects viewers differently than other forms of violence, they need to do the same for sexual violence.

Please join us in asking the FCC to create a “sexual violence” content warning, including a resource for survivors like the RAINN 24-Hour Hotline (800) 656-HOPE, to be shown before programs with scenes of sexual violence.

To:
Federal Communications Commission and TV Parental Guidelines
TV Parental Guidlines
Tammy Sun, Director Media Relations, FCC
Julius Genachowski, Chairman, FCC
Robert McDowell, Comissioner, FCC
Mignon Clyburn, Comissioner, FCC
Jessica Rosenworcel, Comissioner, FCC
Ajit Pai, Comissioner, FCC
Create a "Sexual Violence" Warning for television

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. The Director of Sunday's Game of Thrones Doesn't Think That Was Rape

      Marcie Kaveney
      Petition Organizer

      ***Trigger Warning*** The following link includes footage of the actual rape scene from Game of Thrones.

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/04/21/game_of_thrones_rape_director_alex_graves_says_the_sex_becomes_consensual.html

      The Director of Sunday's Game of Thrones Doesn't Think That Was Rape

      Game of Thrones spent all last season carefully redeeming Jaime Lannister, turning the once-villain into something of a hero. Last night, director Alex Graves threw that all away by having Jaime rape his sister/lover in front of the body of their recently murdered son. This was not in the books....

    2. Decision-maker Julius Genachowski responds:

    3. Reached 75,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Sven-Eric van Osch VLAARDINGEN, NETHERLANDS
      • about 24 hours ago

      Because the victims should not be exposed to this kind of footage ever again.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ashanti Bennett GREENVILLE, NC
      • 1 day ago

      Rape culture in this country is subversive. Sexual violence in entertainment requires the same warning to the viewer as "adult language".

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • 1 day ago

      A survivor

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mercii Thomas BOWIE, MD
      • 1 day ago

      Within the past year, I have seen an rise in the number of rape scenes in prime time television without so much as a warning. I think it's disrespectful and irresponsible to norm this to television. I respectfully ask that there be some type of warning or indication that such a scene is coming so that I can make a decision about whether or not to watch or continue to watch rather than be visually assaulted by sexual assault.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Frances Patton MILTON, WV
      • 2 days ago

      Numerous rape and sexual violence survivors are at risk for re-traumatization from the television programs they watch. However, there's one easy thing the FCC can do to prevent that -- create a "sexual violence" content warning for such television programs.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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