A deeper discussion for rape scene

If you don’t know who Dakota Fanning is, you’ve probably been living under a rock.

Need some help? She’s that cute little blond girl who outdid Brittany Murphy in Uptown Girls, ran from aliens with Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds and wowed America with her cuteness in Charlotte’s Web.

Recently, however, you may have heard about her controversial rape scene in the Sundance premiere of the new movie tentatively called Hounddog.

In the movie, Fanning plays a 12-year-old who suffers a cycle of victimization. The most controversial scene of the movie occurs when she is graphically raped by an older boy while on a quest for Elvis Presley tickets.

Sound disturbing? That’s because it is.

The scene has generated a tremendous wave of debate about whether the young actress, and others acting in similar traumatic storylines, has been taken advantage of because she did such a scene. Fanning and her mother have both defended her right as an actress to decide what steps to take in her career.

“Once she has become part of the sexual economy of adolescence — about which Americans are so clearly conflicted, living as we do in a hypersexualized era that is also peculiarly hyperprotective of children — she can’t go back,” wrote Meghan O’Rourke for Slate.com.

Similar blog posts and editorial columns have analyzed such traumatic scenes’ affect on the young people who act them out.

They’re missing the point.

At least these young actresses have a say in whether or not to do such a scene. At least these young actresses have someone looking out for them. At least these young actresses have tens of thousands of dollars to get Grade A therapy if acting out such a violent scene does get to them.

Some girls and boys aren’t so lucky.

The public has an increasingly sick love affair with Hollywood — constantly getting wrapped up in stars’ business and escaping through their personal lives. Fanning’s well-being is certainly a legitimate concern, but the Hounddog scene should instigate a bigger discussion, not just one about the young starlet or the debate about the movie’s quest for shock value or social consciousness.

Perhaps the scene is so disturbing not because it is America’s golden child star, Fanning, but because it is so real. It took the art of the movie to a new level — a realistic level. The public has been able to ignore such a reality for a long time.

Rape, especially child rape, is more terrifying than anything you could see on the big screen. Leave the worrying of Fanning’s mental state to her own mother and take from Hounddog the profound sense of what rape is. Take from Hounddog the courage to reach out and help those who have gone through such a situation.

It happens more than you’d think, and even the fantasy world of Hollywood celebrities can’t take away the scariness of that fact.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.