“Girls” Explores The Concept Of “Space Rape”

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If I ask you to go away and you don't, that's space rape.

Warning: spoilers ahead! I thought the most controversial moment of last night’s episode of “Girls” would be Hannah’s breakup with Sandy and ensuing discussion about fetishizing each other’s race. Actually, that was really interesting. But then Adam broke into Hannah’s apartment and committed “space rape” and I forgot about the rest of the episode. I went from thinking about Hannah cutting her bangs, to being confronted with all the grey zones of stalking, domestic violence and abuse. I was left not knowing how to feel about Adam, about Hannah, about the whole situation. 

Although Adam didn’t physically harm Hannah — in fact she shoved him — he clearly violated her space by showing up at her apartment, uninvited and refusing to leave. Hannah identified this as stalking and I concur. I would take it a step further and say that it’s a violation of consent. (Adam later pointed out that Hannah stalked him in the past, showing up at his place unannounced in knee socks. But this seemed different to me in the sense that he didn’t feel violated or threatened by it.)

Adam entered Hannah’s apartment using a spare set of keys that she had given him when they were dating, so not technically a break in, but a clear violation. Things continued to get more uncomfortable when he snuck up on her while she was in bed and scared her, put on a creepy animal mask, scared her again, and tried to play it off like it was a joke. Hannah firmly requested that he leave repeatedly, to which Adam responded, “I’ll go when I’m done.” If that’s not a threat, I don’t know what is.

From there, Hannah snuck off to the kitchen to get Adam some milk and called 9-1-1. Although she second guessed herself and hung up, I thought Hannah was totally justified in making the call. As a viewer, I felt unsure as to what Adam’s next move would be, whether he was going to turn all bunny boiler and try to hurt Hannah or come to his senses and just leave. Things continued to escalate. When Hannah finally got Adam moving toward the door, he said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“You shouldn’t come back tomorrow,” she said.

“But I might,” he pressed.

“If I ask you to go away and you don’t, that’s space rape,” she asserted.

And that’s when the cops arrived in response to Hannah’s 9-1-1 hang up. First, she denied calling, then defended Adam, then admitted that she called because Adam was “stalking” her and she wanted to take out a restraining order. As the cops dragged him off to the station for public urination and some unpaid parking tickets, Hannah yelled after them “He didn’t do anything wrong …I just wanted him to stop texting me … I’m so sorry.”

I don’t agree. I felt that Adam did do something wrong. But I also understood Hannah’s confusion over what had just happened. I understood why she would blame herself. I understood why she would question if she had done the right thing. I understood the many layers of emotional complexity of the situation. I think that’s the thing about grey zone violations, they make you question your own instincts. Although no one has ever space raped me, I have experienced moments in which I felt violated, unsure how to classify the violation, and in turn, unsure of myself. Isn’t this how violence begins? With justifications, with confusion, with incidents that are hard to classify?

What do you think? Did Hannah handle the situation properly? Have you ever been “space raped” before?

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