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The Wentworth Scene That Went Too Far

After her downfall from governor of Wentworth Prison to becoming a member of the general inmate population, Joan “The Freak” Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) gets attacked in an early Season 4 episode of “Wentworth.” In “Prisoners,” Joan is sexually assaulted in the shower by Lucy “Juice” Gambaro (Sally-Anne Upton) and her gang. Other prisoners are so disgusted by what happens that Joan’s even offered protection afterward, and this event is made even worse by the fact that the episode reveals through flashbacks how Joan has been assaulted in the past as well.

The scene could plausibly happen in a harsh prison environment, yet it’s so explicit and gratuitous that it feels exploitative, unlike other dark and violent scenes in the gates of “Wentworth.” In one thread on the show’s subreddit, u/MoonRiver974 writes, “I can’t shake the feeling [the scene was] done just for shock value.” At this point in the story, viewers already know how badly Joan’s schemes will blow up in her face, so there isn’t a real reason for the sequence except to surprise the audience. It’s a cheap reason to include a rape scene in a television series, and the writers arguably should have known better.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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