"First Contact" - The rape of Riker

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Ragitsu, Jun 26, 2022.

  1. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good evening.

    Looking back, it is odd to realize that the sexual coercion of Command Riker was played for laughs. Looking to the present, it is disturbing to realize that there are people (overwhelmingly male?) who believe that Riker's "consent" made the act a-okay.

    The bottom line: "You can be imprisoned for an indefinite amount of time - and possibly subjected to any number of potentially invasive experiments that constitute torture - or you can sleep with me to secure your freedom."

    Observer: "That's not rape!"
     
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  2. Trekker09

    Trekker09 Captain Captain

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    So, you're saying it should have been taken more seriously....Good point.
    Do we know for sure that Riker and Lanel had sex? It's left ambiguous.
    It’s true that Riker’s sexuality was sometimes played for laughs, in “Conundrum” and “Angel One.” I’d say though that in “First Contact,” Lanel was more likely to suffer negative consequences than Riker. He was reasonably sure he wouldn't be injured by the nurse, and knew he wouldn’t be stuck with an offspring, whereas Troi is forcibly impregnated by an alien in “The Child” and she’s mind-raped by Jev in “Violations” and in Nemesis by Shinzon. Tasha Yar was very likely gang-raped as a child. Lwaxana was probably forced to have sex with Daimon Tog. By comparison, Riker's trauma was minimal, wouldn't you say?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  3. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't know what prophylactics - if any - were used, but he could have contracted a sexually transmitted illness; granted, Starfleet medicine most probably could have remedied such a complication, but it was also a risk.

    Incidentally, it's good that you brought up Troi; if the mission had involved Troi as the (now captive) infiltrator and the nurse had been male, this same scenario would have more clearly come across as problematic.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  4. Dee1891

    Dee1891 Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think so. I think the writers had tried to minimalize the situation. But forcing Riker to perform in exchange for his freedom does not seem like something that is minimal to me.
     
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  5. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Former Democrat Premium Member

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    It has been thirty years, kinda late to complain about it now...
     
  6. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There's no way in hell they would have gotten away with it if the nurse had been male and the Enterprise crewmember female. That would clearly be exploitation. Yet Riker, being a guy, is basically told to "man up" and laugh it off...so somehow when it happens to men, it's okay? :wtf:

    Even though Riker doesn't seem to have a problem with sleeping with Lanel (and I'm sure they actually did do it), it doesn't make the situation any less coercive.

    Fun fact: Bebe Neuwirth had to constantly shuttle back and forth, in full alien makeup, between the TNG and Cheers sets, due to filming both series at the same time...
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  7. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sadly, it is still topical.
     
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  8. Trekker09

    Trekker09 Captain Captain

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    To me, it seemed clear there was no shame or humiliation felt by Riker, he tells Lanel as he leaves that he will call her next time he is in the area.

    If you are completely dismissive of all the times women characters are violated with no consequences on Trek, it’s hard to be very sympathetic about Riker in this case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  9. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That remains to be seen.

    He was just being polite.
    1) Nobody here has done that;
    2) You have just proven that whataboutism isn't dead. (Unfortunately.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
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  10. KennyBoo

    KennyBoo I have spoken............ Moderator

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    I forget the movie and this episode share that title…….been trying to remember for hours where Riker was raped in the film…….:confused:
     
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  11. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    For the record, I don't think Lanel had any evil intent or ill will towards Riker. (She WAS a nurse, after all.) Lanel was just looking for the thrill of sleeping with an alien.

    But even though terms like "rape" and "assault" would probably be overkill in this case...it's still exploitation, to some degree. Lanel had power, and Riker did not. That's the bottom line.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
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  12. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

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    Not on The Trek BBS it isn't. people will be coming up with this nonsense for as long as this board exists
     
  13. Arpy

    Arpy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah it was kind of gross. I remember watching it as a kid and it just struck wrong. Something maybe above my understanding level, given how unaffected River seemed by it. I mean James Bond kills people, what's sex? Also, I'm of an age now that I can distinctly remember throwing some beer goggles on and trying to have myself a good time with people I wouldn't have given a second thought under different circumstances. But yeah, as I watched more sci-fi and learned about UFO aficionados I learned about people wanting to get it on with sexy aliens and figured it was just a somewhat progressive role-reversal where it's a woman getting her freak on with an alien. What can I say, all just part of a memorable mission that, uh, some of us "like to watch." :whistle::luvlove::nyah::D
     
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  14. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What nonsense?
     
  15. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not so odd, and not right, either- this is just one of society's classic double standards. Men who are raped, physically, verbally, or mentally abused, and what not are laughed at and ridiculed, because 'big, strong men' aren't supposed to be susceptible to those things, especially from females.

    There is a simple acid-test to determine when the double standard is in play. Flip the script, make the victim a woman and the abuser a man, and measure the response. It makes for a pretty accurate truth-meter.
     
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  16. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It is surprising that some either can't or won't make that teeny-tiny mental step.
     
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  17. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Commander Red Shirt

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    TBH I think you could get away with this scene today because most people don't care about male rape that much, especially not in a comparatively mild "date rape" type situation like that.
     
  18. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be honest, as a male viewer, I've never actually thought of it as rape, but the scene always has sat uneasy with me even back when I saw it the first time as a 14-year old when it aired in my country. And regardless of whether you'd call it 'rape' or not, it is exploitation and abuse of power, pure and simple. Riker doesn't seem too enthused about the idea, even though he isn't very reluctant either. And I agree with those that say a simple test would be to reverse the sexes and see what the reaction would have been in that case.
     
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  19. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love manufactured controversy
     
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  20. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is that any of that in relevant?

    Any sex where one of the partners doesn't fully consent or is forced into it is a violation.
     
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