I recently re-watched Thelma and Louise. The film premiered in May of 1991. I was a 9-year old girl living in the suburbs of Maryland who had no clue what rape was. But I remember idealizing Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. I was on their side, and cried tears of joy for that beautiful ending (bravo Ridley Scott!).
Now at 32, having lived quite the colorful life, I watched the film with jaded eyes. I still applauded the camaraderie of the two female leads, but was disgusted by the graphic rape scene. A few days later I watched an episode of Law and Order SVU and almost got sick watching an extended rape scene between a writer and reporter. Later that week I watched Downton Abbey, and found myself near tears as yet another rape scene played out before me. Yes, rape exists. But I can't help but wonder why we see it played out so repeatedly in media. There is no NC-17 rating for a film containing the rape of a woman (though there was for Elles, Shame, Blue is the Warmest Color- films with lesbian sex scenes, somewhat impotent men, and no rapes).
In 1991 the only option these women had were to "not get caught." I wonder if that film would have a different ending today.