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Discussion/Meta Negan's Harem: Are the women victims of rape?

Discussion in 'Negan / Jeffrey Dean Morgan' started by Doctor Grimes, Sep 12, 2016.

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Are the women in Negan's harem victims of sexual violence and/or rape?

  1. Yes, they are victims of rape. He coerces them into having sex with him.

    62 vote(s)
    59.6%
  2. No, they are not victims of rape. It was their choice.

    6 vote(s)
    5.8%
  3. They are victims, but not of rape.

    21 vote(s)
    20.2%
  4. Undecided / Unsure

    15 vote(s)
    14.4%
  1. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    Ever since the introduction of Negan's harem in the comics, there's been discussion about whether Negan's treatment of women (in his harem) is sexual violence and/or rape.

    Do you agree or disagree? Or is it not that black and white? Or are you waiting to see how it's portrayed in the TV show? Or is there not enough information to decide?
     
  2. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    He does if the guy has sex with a woman who has agreed to be his wife.

    In the case of Amber and Mark, Amber had agreed to be Negan's wife. Her and Mark (her boyfriend from before she was a wife) have sex. Negan finds out. He tells Amber he will let her work for her points and the harem is voluntary. She'd be able to be with Mark. This terrifies Amber (the "working for points" bit) so she tells Negan she loves him and she's sorry. She chooses to stay in the harem. Negan then tells her she knows what has to happen then, so Negan irons half of Mark's face as a punishment for sleeping with one of his wives.

    With Sherry and Dwight the backstory was never quite revealed, but the show seems to be covering it so it will be interesting to see how it happened.
     
  3. balladsinthebluegrass

    balladsinthebluegrass Hold to things that are bright.
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    I chose "they are victims but not of rape". Honestly, it's difficult to come to a hard-and-fast answer on this. I can see the argument that it is rape, for sure. But Negan wasn't saying they *had* to be his wives or get kicked out to try to make it on their own, right? They could have worked for Negan just like the guys? The women we saw in Same Boat weren't Negan's wives, they were just chicks who did his bidding.
    Of course, not everyone is cut out for the rough and tumble lifestyle. I think of women like Jessie who probably wouldn't have been strong enough to cut it out in the new real world and would likely opt for the option that suits them more.
    I get the impression that with Negan, when it comes to women, you have two options: fight or fuck. But as someone pointed out (was that you, @Doctor Grimes?) in the filming spoilers thread, guys weren't given the second option.
    So what exactly is Negan guilty of? Giving physically weak women an offer they felt they could not refuse?
     
  4. Clutterbuck

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    Blarg. I don't know if I can label it as rape because it is voluntary, no one HAS to join the harem, but that doesn't mean they aren't victims at all. I have a hard time not calling these women "victims" when their fears were prayed upon(you get protection/etc if you're in the harem, you really don't have to worry about your survival) by some psycho dude in charge so he can have sexual playthings. I'm actually a little scared that the show will gloss over it all and we'll get "It was their choice so it's all fine." :dale: because regardless of whether you want to classify it as rape or not the situation, to me, is utterly disgusting and not okay in the slightest.
     
  5. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    I think that's exactly what he's guilty of. Some of the women are given an extra option to fuck their way out of earning points. The men and some other ladies (I'm sure the ones like Molly) don't have the choice.

    I will come back with more thoughts on this later. I voted "Undecided" since I really think it will depend on how they portray some things.
     
  6. Butler36

    Butler36 What?
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    I definetly think what Negan is doing is sexual coercion. The definition of sexual coercion is:

    The only thing we can base Negan and his relationship with his wives is basically how he treated a wife that escaped from him. Dwight, Sherry, and Tina were basically being hunted down like dogs for leaving and taking the insulin that Tina needed to survive. I think there is enough evidence there to suggest that Tina was a wife and that she needed the insulin and was provided the insulin in exchange for sexual favors. When she and her family tired of that arrangement and stole the insulin and booked it, Negan went after her both for the insulin and because she was a wife who left the arrangement. Wade basically alluded to Negan's main concern in getting her back with his "He wants an ass that is willing."

    But when you need insulin to survive and a man is holding it over you to have it, but you have to have sex with him and give up all autonomy? Yeah, some would say you have a choice in that but the risk of dying and being put in that situation is not really a choice. That sounds rapey to me. And sexual coercion is a form of rape. JMO
     
    #6 Butler36, Sep 12, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  7. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    As it stands, without a doubt, all the people forced to work under Negan's rule are victims. Men and women both. Both are subjugated to horrible conditions and they must earn "points" in order to live (and the manner in which they get those "points" is far from pleasant).

    It appears Negan gives some women the option to become one of his wives for an easier road. Meaning: his wives don't have to work for points and get some benefits from living at the Sanctuary (food, water, shelter, safety in essence). All they need do is stay faithful to Negan and have sex with him whenever he wants. (Basically they opt to be sex slaves). They don't have to go out killing people, robbing people, etc.

    On the show, we've already seen some women who have opted not to be one of Negan's wives (Chelle, Paula, Molly, plus some others in the background at the line-up scene). This means not all women are forced -- or perhaps not even all women are asked. We have also seen women who have chosen to become Negan's wives (Tina) for safety (she needed insulin medication so it's possible she wasn't strong enough to be a soldier and sex was the only thing she had to offer).

    Why I am undecided on whether this is rape or not depends on how they portray the refusal process. If a woman refuses to become one of Negan's wives (after he offers) is the punishment more severe? Basically: does a woman who refuse Negan and opt to be one of the grunts get shoved onto the front lines? Are they basically signing themselves up for a harder road than even the men take?

    In which case, it is without a doubt coercive rape, because the women know if they refuse they have a higher chance of dying. Then becoming a wife isn't really voluntary or a choice -- it's really the only choice.

    But if a woman refuses and she's relegated to just "one of the guys"? While it's vile, I don't see how it can be called rape. At that point, it's more like the women just have an option the men (and probably some of the less physically appealing women) have. It's not a great option. It's literally "pick your poison", but it's still a choice.

    Now... it does suck to high heaven if the woman isn't physically strong -- like in Tina's case. She was a diabetic who really needed her insulin and couldn't earn the points to get the doses she needed. But, at the same time, if she were a man (or, let's be honest, ugly), she wouldn't have that option at all. She'd just die.

    Everyone under Negan is subject to his horrible tyranny. He's just a grade-A slimeball. His system is oppressive, operating by debasing and terrorizing those under his domain.
     
    Denie39, Gekari, box5angel and 3 others like this.
  8. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    I agree it's coercive, but if Tina were ugly or a man, she wouldn't even have the choice. She'd just be screwed. That's the thing that keeps swaying me from saying it's rape. It's not something Negan is holding specifically over someone's head for the purpose of forcing them into sex (so it's not targeted or applied to one person as far as we're aware). It's an option some of the women have to earn points without having to kill/rob/etc.

    It will really depend on how they choose to portray the harem on the show.

    Having said all that, it's obvious Negan is victimizing everyone. He's just a monster.
     
  9. Canuckgirl

    Canuckgirl Ricktator

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    They choose to have an easy life instead of working for points in order to get food or even shelter. You could say they are victims, but not of Negan, but of circumstance. They knew they weren't strong enough to survive on their own, so they picked an alpha male who guaranteed their survival as long as they sleep with him. Pretty sure a lot of women would have chosen this option if they were face with the end of the world
     
  10. MamaGrimes

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    It may not be rape but when you are offered/asked to use sex as social currency, it's indeed vile and disgusting. As @Butler36 illustrated with Tina, it was clear that she didn't want to be Negan's wife and in fact ran away from him. Why didn't he just let her go? Because she took the insulin and had to be punished? Are we to believe that, had she lived, she would have been given the opportunity to earn the points back in some non-sexual manner to make up for the theft?

    I would feel much better if these women are portrayed as hardened biker chicks who have been around the block and who embrace the idea of earning room and board on their backs. But, I have a feeling we won't be seeing that.

    Edited to add- How can Negan have sex with women who he knows are only with him for shelter and food? I mean, how is that appealing to him other than feeding his need for control over those weaker than him.

    It's messy.
     
  11. Appetence

    Appetence Eternally failing at productivity bc TITTD
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    This is an interesting topic.

    It's hard to say before seeing how they portray the situation on screen, but my initial instinct is that Negan's ultimatum is rather rapey.

    To me, at this point, the "choice" to fight or fuck, as @balladsinthebluegrass put it (clever ;)) is Negan's method of exculpating himself from something he claims to abhor. Sure, the women don't have to be his sex slaves, but if given those two options, and you knew you weren't a women with the strength or skills to survive, is that really a choice?

    For some women, it's like asking them if they'd rather fuck or die. Most people don't want to die.

    A rapist puts a gun/knife to you and threatens to kill you if you don't let them do what they want with your body. Negan forces you to either join the men in battle (and you aren't made for such things so you likely wont last long) or you let him do what he wants with your body. I don't see much of a difference.
     
  12. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    We have seen some female Saviors who are kind of like that: Chelle, Paula, and Molly. They're women who don't seem affiliated with Negan's harem 100%. They're soldiers just like the rest of 'em.

    I think that's the rub. You can't just leave the Saviors. It's like Woodbury -- there's no escape. I do think the insulin was the sticking point for them (Negan can't tolerate thieves), but it doesn't seem like someone can just willingly leave.

    Then again, it did look like Wade and co. were ready to just let them go. I think they just figured they'd wasted enough time trying to retrieve them as it was. However, we know Sherry and Dwight wound back up with Negan eventually (how that happened? I guess we'll see. Were they caught? Did Sherry want to go back?)
     
  13. TexasZAgal

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    I am undecided because while it may not fit the definition of rape, they are still victims of sexual violence. I never have read the GN but enough people here have so they know how Negan operates. It seems to me that the majority of his "wives" are given the choice, submit or be turned out to fend for themselves. So they submit to survive, so in essence they are sex slaves.

    My biggest fear is that this will be treated the way domestic violence was treated and that all the fanboys will be high fiving Negan. There is enough preying on women and we don't need another reason to make it OK.
     
  14. Butler36

    Butler36 What?
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    I think Negan is victimizing everyone but I do think his "choosing" wives is extremely problematic in the same way Roger Ailes picked his favorites at Fox. He is in a position of power. He is seen as almost a god to people at Sanctuary. Someone steals and they get their finger cut off. They disobey they become prisoners who have to be reeducated. Sure, Negan could say "No hard feelings if you don't want to be my wife, you just go back to earning points" but the reality is when someone has the power of life and death over you it is hard to say no even if you wanted to. Like how do you say no to someone everyone thinks of as a god?

    This actually reminds me of a documentary that came out about a cult leader in California who decided to have sex with member of his cult (men or women) and how they felt about it afterwords. All of them "chose" to sleep with him but all of them say that it was sexual abuse and they didn't like it. But because it was someone they thought of as god on earth? They did it. And the interesting thing about Negan is he not only is a leader at Sanctuary but also a cult leader.
     
  15. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    I completely agree with this, which is why I think I will be undecided until I see it portrayed. If Negan does honestly blow it off without taking it out on the women who refuse him, then it really doesn't seem like rape to me (gross and abhorrent? yes, but not rape). If he gets angry, spiteful, etc. at the rejection? And intimidates them or threatens them with harder tasks than what everyone else is doing? Then it's rape without a doubt.

    It'll just depend on how they decide to depict the harem, but like everyone else here has already said, I am terrified they're just going to gloss over all these implications of sexual violence. There'll be no deeper dialog than "The women chose, so it's totally okay."
     
  16. Canuckgirl

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    We have to think in terms of the survivors who had to see some pretty vile shit and narrowly escaped with their lives. If you were offered an easily life where you would not have to face the horrors of this new world and in exchange all you have to do is offer your body, we all know there are plenty of women who would not hesitate. I am not condoning the action, but I can see why some would take that route and would probably not consider themselves victims. Additionally, the fact that some willingly abandon their husbands/boyfriends kinda say something about their partners: they were too weak to protect them. If, someone like Lori or better yet, Jessie, had encountered Negan, I could totally see them giving their bodies to him. Life is shit, at least I do not have to fight for my life. Not everyone is cut out to be a Maggie or Michonne or Carol. Shit, Rosita sorta did something similar, although one would argue Abe is nothing like Negan.
     
  17. MamaGrimes

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    You nailed it. Negan is not only in a position of power but his power is absolute. Your survival begins and ends with being in good standing with him. And he uses that power to gain sexual favors from women who wouldn't have sex with him if he was just 'one of the guys'

    Ugh....like I said....messy.
     
  18. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    This is the other facet of it I want to see explored. Because while no doubt there will be women who feel victimized by the harem, there may just as well be women who don't think it's that bad or even welcome it (which isn't wrong if that is 100% their choice and they're happy with it). It will be interesting to see how they chose to show this.
     
  19. Butler36

    Butler36 What?
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    I think he likes the thought of their submission which again makes this highly problematic. Negan likes breaking people. That's his joy. It proves his strength and his wives are just one more illustration of that for him.

    This is a mess.
     
  20. MamaGrimes

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    Yes, I can totally see this happening. As @Canuckgirl said, there are women who would make that choice and lose no sleep over it. And they will get not one iota of judgment from me cuz....sharing the earth with the dead makes our current morality obsolete.

    I hope there is a balance on the show. Please Gimple, don't make a cartoon out of this.