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Talking TV: Has rape become epidemic on screen?

Talking TV: Has rape become epidemic on screen?
Click the image to join our conversation on a difficult subject. Times TV critic Mary McNamara and reporters Yvonne Villarreal and Meredith Blake discuss the depiction of rape on TV shows today.

Has rape become epidemic on television? Two recent episodes of "Game of Thrones" sparked an emotional debate among critics and fans that quickly expanded to the depiction of rape in general.

Certainly it has become more prevalent, as event and backstory, than it's ever been before.

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"Downton Abbey," "The Americans, "Top of the Lake," "Mad Men," "House of Cards" and "Scandal" have all featured the rape of a main character, either in real time or flashback.

TV reporters Meredith Blake and Yvonne Villarreal joined with TV critic Mary McNamara to discuss the issue from every angle. Is it a case of upping the ante or extending the story? Do increased depictions and discussions of rape increase awareness of the crime or diminish it to "entertainment"? Is it a sign of the increasing number and depth of female characters or just a new way to fixate on the victimization of women?

What do you think? Leave your comments or tweet us using the hashtag #asklatimes.

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