Awesome “Law and Order: SVU” Moment

Law and Order costars Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay posed together

Last week’s episode of “Law and Order: SVU” featured an awesome moment that I wanted to share with you all. While victim-blaming has become disturbingly common in the mainstream media, the writers over at SVU provided a refreshing alternative to this familiarly misogynistic paradigm.

The moment came when Detective Elliott Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) was interviewing a victim of sexual assault. She is describing the crime, and begins by recounting the fact that she had been on her way to work as a stripper when it took place. She says “Yeah yeah, I know, I’m a stripper” in anticipation of being victim-blamed. His response? “It doesn’t matter what you do, doesn’t mean that’s an excuse for you to be sexually assaulted.” Elliot FTW.

While the concept that no woman deserves to be sexually assaulted may seem like a basic, even rudimentary notion, we all know it can be shockingly tough for some folks to grasp.

And while I sometimes have difficulty watching SVU because of the extreme depictions of violence against women and sexual assault it contains, I think we can all agree that this was a pretty great message to be sent in a primetime TV show. I also appreciate that the show exposes some of the extreme misogyny that underlies sex crimes, and, for the most part, the show is cutting edge when it comes to dealing with gender issues.

H/t to Heidi Vanderlee for bringing this bit of feminist media to my attention!

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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