Jessica Jones; Abuse and Consent








[[Spoilers. Just click the videos if you’re not interested in some shoddy, half-baked analysis.]]

[In the very first episode of this terrific show (Jessica Jones), you are acquainted with the protagonist, Jessica Jones, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress after her previous and abusive “relationship” with the antagonist, Kilgrave. Kilgrave’s behavior depicted throughout the series offers the viewer a look into how an abuser thinks and acts, with Kilgrave literally controlling Jessica and others (since he has the power of mind control), saying he is the victim (as he was experimented on in his youth, or because he gives Jessica material items), repeatedly expressing his love for Jessica and stalking her despite Jessica’s rebuffs, and so on.]

[This scene, where Kilgrave and Jessica talk about their past “relationship”, offers many examples of Kilgrave’s abuse and how each of them comprehends/understands it.]

[The above clip is after the clip below, but the above clip contains much more explicit examples, which is why I posted it first; for example, Jessica wanting to kill herself because she wanted to escape Kilgrave and Kilgrave refusing to believe that Jessica wanted to do such a thing; Kilgrave’s demands (“Come down now Jessica!” and “If you can’t listen to me you don’t need ears. Cut them off.”) and Jessica not wanting to listen to him; Kilgrave portraying himself as a victim (“You never appreciate anything I do for you”) and acting considerate of Jessica immediately after his abuse (hugging Jessica at the conclusion of this scene).]

[Jessica telling Kilgrave (in the first video) “You saw what you wanted to see” illustrates that abusers never quite see the reality of the situation. In the second video, Kilgrave thinks that he kissed Jessica, when in reality Jessica never did. Kilgrave notes that he “wasn’t controlling her” and that “[she] stayed with [him]”. This is because abusers usually conceptualize lack of consent or verbal confirmation as confirmation, and refuse to acknowledge themselves as being abusive, either in the situation or afterward. In another scene (see below), Kilgrave again portrays himself as the victim, saying to Jessica, “Which part of staying five-star hotels, eating in all the best places […] is rape?” with Jessica retorting, “The part where I didn’t want to do any of it!” Again, abusers think giving their victim material gifts make up for their abuse, or actually validate it.]


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