Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Portrayal of Sexual Violence in Film

* spoiler alert *

The film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo illustrates the real life effects of sexual violence on victims and survivors, emphasizing the importance of getting help. Dragon Tattoo is the first of a trilogy of best selling mystery novels, about a “disgraced journalist and troubled young female computer hacker who investigate the mysterious disappearance of an industrialist’s niece.”

If the film incites conversation outside of the theater, it should be one about Dragon Tattoo’s theme of sexual violence – a prevalent topic in film and entertainment, and one that echoes a disturbing reality: Every 2 minutes in the U.S., someone is sexually assaulted; nearly half of these victims are under the age of 18, and 80 percent are under 30. Interwoven in the film’s main plot line is a series incidences of violence against women. Each occurrence of sexual abuse, incest, and rape highlight the severity of these crimes against the victim: while an assault may only last moments, the effects of this serious crime can haunt a victim for his or her lifetime.

Victims of sexual assault are more likely than non-victims to suffer from serious mental health effects. Without access to help and recovery resources such as the National Sexual Assault Hotlines, victims are more likely to suffer from depression, PTSD, abuse alcohol and drugs, and to contemplate suicide. Watching the film, it’s hard to imagine what characters like Lisbeth and Harriet had to endure after their experiences.

Portrayals of sexual violence in film have the potential to trigger strong memories and emotions for those who have been personally affected by sexual violence. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted – you are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (1-800-656-HOPE, and online), which offer free, confidential support.

Since 1994, RAINN has helped over 1.4 million people affected by sexual violence. Join RAINN in the fight against sexual violence, by volunteering or donating to ensure that no one has to go it alone.

To learn more about the book, film, and to find a theater near you, visit:

Join the Dragon Tattoo Blog HUNT - an internet wide scavenger hunt tied to the feature film launch of bestselling book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Win great prizes – free movie tickets, books, movie soundtrack, posters and more. To join the contest, start at the beginning of the HUNT by visiting for full details and the first clue. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is in theaters near you starting March 19th.

Dragon Tattoo Blog Hunt clue:

Before Ellen (B.E.) and her television character both came out as lesbians in 1997, the landscape of mainstream movies, music and TV was bleak and empty. After she came out, the landscape changed and this site is the place to go for the ever-growing lesbian and bisexual news and entertainment...A.E

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