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The inaccuracies in SVU really both me, not just those about twins and trans people, but those regarding just about everyone in the known universe.


1.  The show grossly misrepresents rape as a crime committed by a stranger against a stranger. I lost track counting how many stranger rapes – i.e., rapes of a woman [victim is almost always female] where the perp is not known to the victim – form the basis for eps, but it’s disproportionately more than rapes shown as acquaintance rapes, where the victim has some connection with the perp. However, it is statistically much more probably that people will be raped by people they know, which the show does not address.

2. The show misrepresents the victims of SVU cases. SVU cases are not just “sex perverts cases,” but cases perpetrated against particularly vulnerable members of society, including minors, elderly people, people with disabilities, etc. In the show’s case, though, the victims are almost always either able-bodied kids or young women [in their teens and twenties].

There are a few eps that showcase people with disabilities as victims, but far fewer than the disgustingly high stats of how many people with disabilities are actually sexually victimized.

And forget about elder abuse, which is a growing problem in the US [setting of SVU], especially with the general aging of the population. In my survey of most of seasons 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, I saw not one ep touching on abuse of older people.

3. Perhaps not surprisingly for a show mainly about sex crimes, SVU defines all its female characters in terms of their sexuality. Either the women are victims of SVU-worthy crimes, usually rape, or they, like Benson, are driven by an SVU-like past.

Benson, we are constantly reminded, was the product of her mother’s rape. This seems to be the defining feature of her past and the plot point most frequently trotted out as if to explain who she is now. [By contrast, the defining feature of the past of her male partner, Stabler, appears to be that he became a cop because he needed to support his growing family and also that’s what his dad did.]

Finally, if the women aren’t sex crime victims or detectives defined by sex crimes in their past, they are attorneys and lawyers dressed in low-cut outfits and spike heels that accentuate and exaggerate their femininity to a degree that would never be seen in real-life courtrooms. In one way or another, SVU reduces female characters to their sexuality and tends to objectify them, whether through constant victimization, through simplistic SVU-worthy pasts or through the fashions they wear.


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