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"I'm No Longer That Girl": Rape and Roofies in Veronica Mars

by Ethan Tussey

by Victoria E. Thomas for IN MEDIA RES

Veronica Mars is a survivor of sexual assault; an identity marker that is often overlooked when discussing her character. This revelation is given after several cast members mention Veronica’s reputation of being sexually promiscuous. The retelling of her rape is portrayed a way to persuade the audience that Veronica is not sexually promiscuous but a survivor of rape.

The flashback of her rape shows no assault or assaulter. This choice puts the focus on her as a survivor but effectively removes the rapist and the act of rape as something that is traumatic and emotionally detrimental. The experience of her rape is restrained to a roofied drink, her waking up in a strange bed alone, a pair of her white panties on her the floor, and a single tear streaming from her eye once she realizes that she has been raped.

At no point is the audience allowed to see her heal or receive support as a rape survivor. Veronica even asserts that she “is no longer that girl”, erasing her experience of rape and separating her identity from that of a sexual assault survivor. Her rape is not a focal point in her narrative until later in the series, in which she wishes to discover who raped her. Her healing is tied to finding out who raped her; a simple solution to a complex issue. This choice could mirror our present day stigma and lack of support for survivors of sexual assault, or it could simply allow the producers to erase her identity as a sexual assault survivor, leading the audience to believe that the strength of the character is not tied to her rape.

Veronica Mars is portrayed as strong, spunky, clever, loyal, and resourceful. The most traumatic events of her life are connected to the murder of her best friend and how her support of her father ostraticized her from her high school friends. Her rape is the opposite. It is quick, unmemorable, and no longer who she is.

Veronica Mars and Sexual Assault

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A clip from Veronica Mars

from Veronica Mars (2005)
Creator: UPN
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey