How 'Outlander' Star Sophie Skelton Wishes The Show Would Have Handled Brianna's Rape

How 'Outlander' Star Sophie Skelton Wishes The Show Would Have Handled Brianna's Rape
Credit: Source: Starz

Heading into Season 4 of Outlander , fans of Diana Gabaldon's books had no idea how the show was going to handle Brianna's (Sophie Skelton) sexual assault at the hands of Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers). In light of the heightened awareness of sexual misconduct in real life, there was talk that the series might exclude the scene altogether.

But that didn't happen. Last week's episode, titled "Wilmington," featured the attack, though producers opted to depart from the books and cut out the more explicit parts of the scene.

In an interview with Vanity Fair , Skelton opened up about her character's assault and expressed a little regret about how it was handled on the show.

The Outlander star explained how cutting out the explicit scenes shows "how far we haven't" come in terms of talking about sexual assault.

She also went into great detail about the other version of the assault and revealed that she did a lot of research on PTSD and how sexual assault victims cope with their trauma prior to filming.

Skelton and the rest of the crew filmed several versions of the rape scene. The scene that was cut focused solely on Brianna while the assault was happening. It also stuck closer to what happened in the book, minus the vivid details.

Although Skelton was disappointed, she understands that producers had to navigate some tricky waters given all the recent scandals. At the end of the day, they did not want to be insensitive to what is going on in the real world.

She also believes that including the rape will open up conversations and raise awareness about sexual assault.

"I do think it will encourage people to talk about the bystanders. They’re not the ones doing the rape, but the fact that they’re seeing it and doing nothing puts them on the same page as being guilty," she added.

Given how the series departed from the books, it will be interesting to see how they handle the aftermath of the sexual assault from Brianna's point of view.

New episodes of Outlander air Sunday nights on Starz.


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  • Ms Ives
    Ms Ives Dec 31, 2018 5:25 PM PST

    If she thought the writers were not showing enough attention towards the rape than she should watch the horrific gang rape scene in the series Black Sails where the victim Max is portrayed as being blamed for what happened to her, choosing to be violated. She's raped by a group of men in a public beach where people are just watching.Sure the men are killed but a specific character "Charles Vane" allowed his men to beat and rape her not wanting to lose his crew because she owes the men a debt was loved by fans and excused for his actions as the thing of the time and apparently because the woman was a prostitute she can't say no. Not to mention Jack Rackham saying a who** isn't worth upsetting and fighting the crew. They barely acknowledged what she went through after she was removed from the beach where she was kept, as if it didn't happen. It's as if the writer's just used rape as a means for sick entertainment and to make their story a little interesting and they don't know how to handle the aftermath of the crime. Oh it's the 1700s it happened and it wasn't considered rape, it's not a big deal unless it happens to someone they see as important, like when some pirate made a threat to Vane love interest Eleanor, the guy threatened to rape her to death and vane killed him for it. Ironically Eleanor use to sleep with Max, and with the full knowledge of what Vane had done to Max, she still slept with Vane because he took out the man who threatened her. Oh and it didn't help that not only was Max a prostitute but she was born into slavery, father owned her and her mother thus she was a product of rape obviously, which means she has no rights in the eyes of the characters in the show and the writer's simply don't give a sh**. Sure she gains power in the end but is judged for how she gets it through out the fight between civilization and the pirates.

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