How did rape become TV entertainment? | Letters

Emily Watson as Yvonne Carmichael in the BBC1 drama Apple Tree Yard
Emily Watson as Yvonne Carmichael in the BBC1 drama Apple Tree Yard. ‘Hasn’t this story already been told?’ ask Doon Mackichan et al. Photograph: Nick Briggs/BBC/PA

The basic premise of the article (Apple Tree Yard: is this the first honest portrayal of rape on TV?, 30 January), that the “mundane framing” of this depiction of a rape, that is “shocking but by no means thrilling”, should usher in more dramas featuring realistic portrayals of rape, is cause for some concern. Our obsession with stories involving the degradation of women has reached dangerous overkill and we continue to ignite an insidious flame under it by repeating the same brutal story again and again. Another woman as terrified victim, afraid to leave her house, looking at her bruises, traumatised beyond belief. We are not safe anywhere: at the office party, in the street, at work. And woe betide us if we dare to add alcohol into the mix.

When did this become such a staple of mainstream entertainment? Hasn’t this story already been told? Happy Valley dealt with the fallout of rape, so did Shetland. We have already seen characters “bristling with the myriad wounds rape inflict”. And Apple Tree Yard is very clearly a psychological thriller in the same vein. This is not a “midlife crisis romp”; Emily Watson’s character is handcuffed in a prison van from the very start; it feels exactly like other programmes “where the act is couched in the context of a crime drama”. In an era where a man who talks about grabbing women by the pussy gets elected to the White House, it becomes more critical that we see stories of women who are empowered, not overpowered. There is a growing band of creatives who don’t want to write brutal and violent stories about women any more, and actresses who don’t want to have to film them. Let’s have a year without rape, violence, dead women on slabs. What would that year look like? It’s long, long overdue.
Doon Mackichan, Robin Weaver, Polly Kemp, Claire Cordier

• Notwithstanding the fact that The Archers is a work of fiction, are the Guardian (G2, 1 February) and female Guardian readers (Letters, 2 February) really showing sympathy for a repeat controlling, lying bully, who also happens to be a rapist? Is the next step to blame Helen because, as she’s a woman, it’s really half her fault anyway?
Roy Harvey
Skipton, North Yorkshire

• I am not sure that I would agree that Rob Titchener has had a “bad deal”. However, I would dearly love the contact details of Borsetshire education and social services departments. Any authority that lets one of its schools allow or overlook contact between an infant and a “scruffy unkempt male” urgently needs to review its safeguarding procedures.
Andrew Bailey

Join the debate – email

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit