There is no equivalent between Buffy wailing on Spike in the previous episode, they hit each other all the time.
It's not the same as the two of them punching each other like they do in Smashed
and plenty of other times. In Dead Things
Spike decides not to defend himself and tells her to "put it all on me" and Buffy pounds on him savagely until his face looks like a hamburger. (Apparently, in the first shoot they made his face look even worse, but Joss said it was too much and they changed it.) It's pretty disturbing and, unlike their regular fistfights, it looks like a domestic violence situation, which is why a lot of fans I know never quite got over it. Although I don't agree with people who equate it to a real life domestic violence situation, since Spike starts it by throwing her into the alley, to stop her from giving herself up to the police, and after she first punches him he goes into vampface and goads her into it, thinking that she needs to unload her self-hatred on him rather than herself. Spike is in the one in control of what is happening in their relationship throughout Dead Things,
even in that scene. I should also say that I sympathize with Buffy a lot there, she was in a very bad emotional place and at the breaking point, she was really projecting her own self-hatred (when she's screaming "You're dead inside, you can't feel anything real" it's obvious it's not him she's addressing; it's similar to Faith beating up Buffy-in-Faith's body in Who Are You
and screaming "You're nothing! Disgusting! Murderer!", really aimed at herself), and the shock on her face when she sees his human face (as it goes out of vampface). Fans who hate Buffy say that she never felt guilty, but it's enough to see the look of horror on her face as she sees his human face and realizes what she's done. (Not to mention that in CWDP she blames herself for "behaving like a monster".)
The only problem I have is that in the next episode, we don't see them talking about it (except for one angry remark by Spike, "What are you going to do, beat me up again?") and they are on good terms and joking and flirting in Older and Far Away
, and Buffy even tells Tara that she's thinking of "coming out" to her friends. And we're left to imagine how they went from the really bad place they were in DT to that. Even Marti Noxon admitted that they screwed up there by making Buffy and Spike so OK with each other right after DT.
There is a great essasy waiting to be written 'Rape in the Buffyverse', by my reckoning she's been raped/sexually assaulted 7 times, by Xander in The Pack, the Master in Prophecy Girl, Larry in Halloween, Cal in his car and the swimteam in Go Fish, Spike in Seeing Red and the Shadowmen's demon in Get it Done.
And season 8 has some very murky consent issues.
I don't think that Master killing her can be called a sexual assault. Vampire biting is often portrayed as sexual, and vampire attack as a metaphor for rape, but not always. It certainly wasn't a literal sexual assault like the others you mention. And it wasn't exactly portrayed as sexual with the Master, as it was with Spike/Willow in The Initiative
If we were to include the Master, then we should also include Spike biting her in Out of My Mind
and Dracula putting a thrall on her and biting her.
Given Joss' supposed feminist characteristics he puts his heroines through an awful lot.
Oh hell yes. The more he loves a character, the more he's likely to torture them. Probably because it leads to them showing their mettle by fighting back and overcoming the situation.
But the Spike/Buffy scene has the greatest impact because it's REAL, you could actually imagine this happening between boyfriend and girlfriend.
That said, 2 of the rapes in the Buffyverse are actually carried out by women, Willow on Tara and Faith-as-Buffy on Riley.
Yes, good point. But that's the thing, people don't react to them as strongly even if they realize it's rape (and many don't even see them as rape) because the situations are so far removed from reality. There are no spells and body-switching in real life.
Oh and just one thing... could you not quote entire posts? It just makes the thread harder to read.