On Buffy and the Attempted Rape

Reneaux Ruffin
9 min readAug 17, 2018

Spike, I forgive you, but I’m pissed off that I do

For the newcomers, this is Buffy and Spike.

This one’s a long one y’all. While not nearly as controversial as race and dating (which is apparently VERY controversial), but it’s important to me nonetheless.

It’s been about 22 years since the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That’s good, because we need to talk, and I’m definitely going to need alcohol to address it. I must admit that I didn’t watch the original run of the show. I recently binged it in its entirety with a friend. I absolutely loved a lot of the feminist themes, the characters, the world, basically everything. I mean I had a few problems here and there, but that’s with anything right? (But seriously, all witchcraft is evil and basically a gateway drug? Cool metaphor, but as a witch I have to scrunch my nose up.) But that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is season 6 episode 19: “Seeing Red.”

I assume that for the most part I’m talking with fellow fans of the show, but just in case there’s anyone out there that’s reading that hasn’t seen it, this episode is notorious because it features a graphic attempted rape scene between protagonist Buffy and her dark side love interest Spike. Let me start off by saying rape is horrible. I, personally, have never been raped, but I do know several people who have been. Their stories hit me in the soul and make me feel what I can only imagine is a fraction of the emotion they feel when they relive the event over in their heads. That’s exactly what the show forced audiences to do with this scene in the show.

In recaps of the show, the scene is featured over and over again. It forces viewers to stick with the trauma and darkness of this moment all while also attempting to redeem Spike and assert that Buffy forgives him for his gross misstep. Needless to say, I was very confused about how to feel about Spike after this. I can only imagine how viewers who were victims of rape felt. At first, I hated the scene. The actors hated the scene. Everyone I know hated the scene. I just…I didn’t understand why it was necessary. The more I watched the show the more I understood how it was important to show…

Reneaux Ruffin

Writer. Witch. If Garnet was obsessed with Evanescence's The Open Door tbh.