Outlander’s Inner Lessons

OutlanderAfter a week of ruminating about the season finale of Outlander, one of my favorite television shows, I want to write about some of life’s harsh realities, those that we often want to ignore. That episode of the same-sex rape of Jamie Fraser, our hero in the story, by his nemesis the evil “Black Jack” Randall was so prolonged and so authentic viewers were drawn into experiencing Jamie’s pain.

I know I felt it.

I trust that this was Diana Gabaldon’s purpose in creating such a devastating scene: to make us not only think, but feel. To awaken in us a fervid desire to right the injustices of the world. To insist that human beings be treated with care rather than callousness.

Considering the feedback on social media since, most viewers were simultaneously appalled at the brutality of the deed and enthralled by the authenticity of the acting by Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, and Tobias Menzies, Black Jack. Outlander on Facebook assures us that Tobias is a nice guy and lots of fun. That’s impossible for me to imagine right now, but speaks to the skill of his performance. And Sam allowing himself to be so vulnerable, so beaten, “broken” as he said, took unimaginable dedication to his craft.

So think about this: Jamie is a strong man. He is a leader. He supports his wife’s strength. He believes in the inexplicable. He is smart. He is highly skilled. He has people who love him and who help him in his emotional as well as physical recovery.

Now imagine a child: Not yet grown. Doing whatever adults tell him to do. Not understanding gender roles. Believing only what he is told to believe. Not yet educated. And with no skills for survival on his own.

Imagine that child being raped, as Jamie was, by a Black Jack.

It happens every day. If our strong, independent Jamie could be broken, that child doesn’t stand a chance.

The child sex slave trade is, sadly, alive and well in this world. And it’s not fiction. There are no television crews, no warm trailers, no escapes. It’s the only world the child knows.

And it’s wrong. Outlander shows us how wrong it is when it happens to an adult. It’s even more so with a helpless child. Outlander made us sit up, grit our teeth, and pay attention. It slapped us in the face with the knowledge that we can’t sit by and idly watch a rendering of rape. We must act, in our own neighborhoods, in our towns, in our country, and in our world to stop it. No one – man, boy, woman, girl – deserves to be treated so inhumanly.

Thus my long-held believe that child sex abusers should be sent to prison for life, with no possibility for parole. I have no problem with the death penalty, either.

Let’s hope that’s just what comes Black Jack Randall’s way. Let’s hope for justice for Jamie. And then let’s go out and work for justice for all.


  • Your take away is “lets make rape death penalty offense”? I did notice that you skipped over women and pretty much went to the most sympathetic group to make your point too. How about this… how about you realize that this happens to women every single day and has for hundreds of years and those woman don’t get justice because they are blamed for it. The criminal justice system automatically assumes they are lying. i don’t know how you think the death penalty is any kind of solution when we can’t even get arrests. I actually asked the question in an online forum, “what if it was Claire instead of Jamie?” Do you know the answer I received? “Well, Claire is a bigamist and what was she thinking going that prison anyway.” I appreciate your passion but I don’t think you realize how far behind we still are as a society when it comes to rape.

    • Terri, I appreciate your passion, as well. I couldn’t agree more. Check out my credentials and the kind of courses I teach. I used the example of a male because it was a male in the story. I’m appalled at the the response that you received to your question about Claire. I guess it’s a reminder to us that there are still thinkers like that out there, which is all the more reason for us to keep that passion regarding this issue. Thank you for reading my blog and for your comments.

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