How This ‘Game Of Thrones’ Actress Is Using A Controversial Moment On The Show To Help Women In Real Life

"... This is happening to women all over the world, every single day."

Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner is using the adage that art imitates life to raise awareness about issues of rape affecting women in war-torn regions such as Rwanda.

On the hit HBO series in 2015, a controversial scene that more than suggested the rape of her character Sansa Stark sparked outrage among fans. She's now using that backlash to start a conversation about what's really going on in the world outside of TV drama.

"To a certain level, I expected that controversy, but … I was thinking, 'Why is there so much backlash when this is happening to women all over the world, every single day?' " she said in a recent interview. "So I decided it would be a great idea to use this kind of attention … and divert (it) onto real topics about real women suffering from this."    



Back in March, the 21-year-old actress traveled to Africa as a United Kingdom Patron of Women for Women International, a nonprofit that has helped more than 426,000 marginalized women in eight countries affected by war and conflict, offering support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency.

In 1994, during the genocide that devastated Rwanda, an estimated 250,000 women were raped, producing up to 20,000 babies. Often described as the "children of killers," those babies are now stepping into adulthood, with many, not all, living in poverty and facing higher rates of HIV and domestic abuse than their peers.

Their reality is far from the scripted one created by Game of Thrones writers, and Turner wants fans and others to know that.

"I wanted to use the attention going toward the show for a really good cause," she said.

"These women have not only been mentally scarred but are scarred ecologically, too. They don't have the skills or finances to look after (their) kids without their husbands," Turner continued, adding how the work of Women for Women is "about teaching them savings and how to farm and look after their animals. It's not just about providing them with mental care. It's about creating a plan for their future. It's a really wonderful organization."

The uproar over Sansa's assault by Ramsay as Theon/Reek was forced to watch during the season 5 episode "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" continues, with some outlet's vowing to "stop promoting" Game of Thronesand others pleading with writers to reconsider using "rape as a plot device." Turner has found the silver lining amid this particular backlash.

"I'm actually glad there was such an uproar, because there was a discussion, and that discussion is so important. We need to keep that going and keep it in the forefront of our minds and not make (the subject) such a taboo," she said. "Otherwise, these women — and men — are shunned into silence. So, I think it was kind of a blessing in disguise."

(H/T: USA Today)

Cover image via Instagram

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