The Part Where Michonne Is Raped By The Governor In 'The Walking Dead' & Reaction To This...

Television
by Courtney
February 20, 2013 3:25 PM
42 Comments
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Disclaimer: I haven't read the comic books, nor am I all caught up in the TV series like many of you are, so I don't really have any stake in its success or failure, in part because I'm not familiar with the source material. 

And despite all the conversation about The Walking Dead, this is the first time I'm reading or hearing anyone talk about this:

So seriously, there’s a storyline in the walking dead where the governor rapes Michonne. I’d like to take my time analyzing why the most powerful black female character in the entire series is the only 1 subjected to a vicious rape. I’d like to take my time analyzing why it’s not something fans of the show ever decry. I’d like to take my time analyzing why it’s such a titillating experience for so many fans of the graphic novels and the television show. but I’m not going to do any of that. On going to do is express my extreme disappointment, disgust, and general lack of comfort around fans of the show who really want to see Michonne be attacked.

I lifted that from The Chocolate Brigade tumblr, via The AfroFuturist Affair

It ends with this:

Now give Michonne more lines, she is too badass to be limited to glares, frowns, and one line per episode [...] It’s funny, I remember reading some of the monthly fan mail and one letter was calling out the author of TWD for the sexualization of Michonne by rape and of course, cognitive dissonance sparked heavy denial. But when you look at the fans and the boners some receive at the sight of Michonne being brutally beaten, raped, and dehumanized, it’s clear there is something quite sinister to our culture in regards to women.

Now I've definitely heard calls for Michonne to be given more to do, and used more in the series than she currently is, especially compared to the graphic novel. But, like I said, the whole sexualization by rape is news to me.

Those of you who are familiar with the source material, your take on all this? I'm guessing that this rape sequence didn't and will not make it into the TV series? And who are these fanboys who are salivating at the thought of watching Michonne be brutally raped?

First, you should read the full article and reply HERE.

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42 Comments

  • Winston | February 23, 2013 8:12 PMReply

    Oh, this b!tch is putting spoilers in the headlines now? WTF is your problem? Don't you know that some of us DVR this sh!t and watch it later? WTF is wrong with you?

  • Annabelle | February 25, 2013 3:35 AM

    Don't worry, she's just speculating if things from the graphic novel will make it into the TV series. Things don't go down at all like that, so nothing is ruined for you :) Although this may not be the best site to check out if you don't want to know what's happening in the series!

  • Tabitha Lloyd | February 22, 2013 5:50 AMReply

    Yet another post to incite the base. The writers of this blog think of themselves as cinematic intellectuals and wards of black imagery on screen. Yet without journalistic integrity, being uninformed about content beyond its friendbase and having the uncanny inability to avoid exacting analysis free of poor punctuation and grammar, Shadow and Act writers leave a lot to be desired. Bloggers like these are why real critics still have a day job.

  • jeftcg | February 22, 2013 8:10 AM

    Tabitha, Tabitha, now now, that's a bit harsh. I'll agree this site could perhaps use a touch more "discriminatory" approach in choosing which projects to flap around in the wind for us all to see. But to take fault with a parvenu website simply because a few eager neophytes forget to cross an "I" or dot a "T" is akin to bullying a first grader. Let's all just settle back, have a martini and admit, at the very least, these columns inspire the procrastinator. I prefer mine with onion, my dear.

  • guest | February 21, 2013 5:45 PMReply

    Following the rape storyline, Kirkman wrote and sold Michonne's backstory to Playboy magazine. This only confirmed the suspicions of those who believed that the rape was included to satisfy the depraved fantasies of certain members of the fanbase.

  • Donella | February 22, 2013 11:53 AM

    Exactly. Robert Kirkman released Michonne's six-page graphic backstory to Playboy (of all the fricking magazines in the world). The Governor character merited not one, but TWO full-length novels for his backstory, explaining how the extreme circumstances of zombie life let him to become who he became. WTF???? Where does reader sympathy go? To The Governor, the so-called villain all the fanboys "love to hate." Michonne's left twisting in the wind because Kirkman's either too ignorant or too indifferent to grant her novel-length humanization.

  • Anon | February 21, 2013 11:10 AMReply

    If you haven't read the comic....don't comment.

  • jeftcg | February 22, 2013 7:59 AM

    Relax, nerd. I haven't "read the comic" either, but I can pretty much tell you it will suck if the black character is the only one who get s raped on screen. You disagree? That's cool. Read another comic and let the grown-ups talk.

  • Vichus | February 21, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    " I’d like to take my time analyzing why it’s such a titillating experience for so many fans of the graphic novels and the television show"

    I know you can journey around the internet and gather reactions to the event in question, but How many people, exactly, reacted in this manner. You will ALWAYS have someone trolling, saying "Oh, I loved that this horrible thing happened" I think we can guarantee that there's not a "Michonne's Rape was Awesome" fan club.


    At this point, the idea of having a female character raped is lazy and basically useless. I don't think that a story can never have it happen ever again, but I feel like the bad guy will always go there with women, more often than not. I wish I had more of his reaction, but this is what I could find from Kirkman:

    "It was always my plan to NOT show what happened to Michonne--to show the "closed door"...But then when it came time for HER revenge--I wanted to show every single action taken against The Governor (aside from a few done while he was passed out).
    The idea is that you never SEE the evil person's actions ... but when the good person does their thing--you see just how evil they can be. It makes you question the character-and hopefully yourself--especially if you're cheering them on the whole way."


    In the show, they've replaced Michonne and Tyrese in this situation with another couple, and this character is not raped. Instead, she was threatened with rape. At times it feels like Kirkman has taken the opportunity to reverse some of his controversial decisions and change the outcome.

  • Make sense | February 21, 2013 12:00 PM

    From the comments read of people claiming to have read the graphic novels, it was Glen, Rick, and Tyrese with Michonne when she got raped. Why should someone else get their story straight when they have not read it but those who have are saying different things.

  • Al | February 21, 2013 12:50 AMReply

    Good read,thanks.regarding your premise the rape scene goes to further explain the depravity of the governor and to the limits of how far he will go to intimate,dehumanize and dominate others.however the tv show doesn't mimic the book,infact there wasn't a Daryl in the comic so it's a mute point.i have no problem if the tv show would imply that the governor would go to the extreme of forcing sex on someone as long as it fits into development of the characters identity and further the story line not just a gratuitous act to shock the audience.this is fiction after all.no sane person supports rape.

  • aurra | February 20, 2013 11:46 PMReply

    Every time ou turn around, you are commenting on Walking Dead, but you don't watch the show. Either watch the show and be informed or don't watch it. But your negative comments are getting too much.

  • willie dynamite | February 20, 2013 7:57 PMReply

    Yes, Michonne's character has been quite underwhelming on the show, but as it pertains to the rape in the novel, there are so many vile things that happen in the novel that the rape is par for the world they live in. Michonne did get raped and I was pissed when I read it but when you see what she did to the Governor, let's just say that his eye was the least of his problems... If you have seen films like 28 days later, or The Road, then you realize what its really about. The Walking Dead is not about the zombies. The walking dead is about the death of humanity. It showcases a lawless society filled with rapists, cannibals, thieves, and murderers all focused on survival. Folks please read the novel, you are doing yourself a disservice otherwise.

  • Donella | February 22, 2013 11:49 AM

    NO!!! Rape is not par for the course in the Walking Dead graphic novel. Michonne is THE ONLY ONE RAPED, violently abused with fists to the face, degraded, and humiliated. It was a disgusting visual to share with the world and Kirkman was surprised by the backlash because he wrongly assumed, very wrongly assumed, that Black people didn't read graphic novels. SURPRISE!!! Kirkman's attempt to even the score and keep the readers he repulsed with Michonne's retribution was too little too late. And the fanboys demanding for Michonne's character to be raped in the television series are sick.

  • theyounglion | February 20, 2013 7:32 PMReply

    Michonne's rape by the Governor in the comic was disturbing to read, though it was indicative of the raw brutality of the new world that had arisen post-zombie outbreak. One of the reasons it was disturbing is because Michonne had been written in the comic as a three-dimensional character. Even if you take out the "not wanting to see a black woman done like that" factor (which is a big thing to take out), it was hard to read. All fans of the comic -- black and non-black -- were repulsed by it because they liked and cared about Michionne, and they hated seeing her brutalized that way.

    I knew that the TV show would never emulate the brutality of the Governor story line from the comic. I doubt even HBO or Showtime would go there, let alone AMC, a basic cable channel that relies on commercials. And I wouldn't WANT to see that on TV. But I was struck by something else. In the comic, Michionne was the lady in distress...the person put in jeopardy that the readers were made to care for and fear for in that situation. But in the TV show, Michionne was switched out of that position and Maggie was switched in. And that's so typical of Hollywood to do that. The rape and extreme brutality were written out of the show, so that wasn't an issue. But it's like the producers were saying that the TV audience would not be able to get behind and care about the well-being of a black woman captured by the Governor like they would a white woman.

    (Some will say, "Well, Glenn and Maggie are a couple, so it makes more sense to do it that way." But in the comic it was Rick and Michionne that were terrorized by the Governor, and it worked.)

    But much of the problem goes to what I wrote above: In the comic Michionne is a complex, humanized, three-dimensional character. Her backstory is covered. She has a love life. She does things that have an impact on everyone else. She is one of the primary characters and is treated like she is important. But in the TV show she is one-note and not given much to do.

  • Make Sense | February 21, 2013 11:54 AM

    Scandal and Deception both have white female stakes characters too. It makes sense for the toughest person on TWD not to be the states character. Graphic Novels are rape porn fantasy documents.

  • QBN | February 20, 2013 7:30 PMReply

    I was relieved that it appears that she will not be raped in the TV series, as others have noted that event was "replaced" by Maggie being stripped and humiliated by the Governer. If they DO have her raped to satisfy some sick fan boys, that'll be the end of the series for me.

  • Vichus | February 21, 2013 8:07 AM

    I don't think it'll happen. 1) They already had Maggie in the same situation, basically and 2) the story is moving on to the conclusion of the Prison chapter.

  • j | February 20, 2013 6:42 PMReply

    In the comic Michonne is chained to a dungeon wall and repeatedly raped by the governor. The scene left many people wondering why this had to happen to the only black woman in the story. When this was not included in the television series there were many male fans who were very disappointed. One can only imagine that these are disturbed individuals who have sick rape fantasies. In response to this widespread disappointment, show creator Robert Kirkman told an interviewer that Michonne may, at some point still be raped by the governor. Clearly this is to appease the fanboys who want to see her sexually victimized. Disturbing.

  • Make sense | February 21, 2013 11:50 AM

    1 the rape would never happen on screen. 2 is it more disturbing than seeing a T-Dawg disembowel on screen.

  • MellowYellow | February 20, 2013 6:04 PMReply

    www(.)popmatters.com/pm/feature/168276-stranger-than-zombies/

  • Mellowyellow | February 20, 2013 6:01 PMReply

    A tumblr post as source material? For real? I'm going to have to echo the other posters. I don't really know what the point of this post is, what it's asking, or why it was written by someone who obviously isn't caught up with the subject. Pretty disappointing from the stand point of a Michonne fan who would actually appreciate a well thought out critique on TWD/Kirkman's treatment of Michonne in the comics and on TV. Anyway, here's a link to a much more thoughtful and informed article that explores TWD's problems with race, gender, sexuality, and how Michonne's been portrayed thus far. Actually, it's the best write up I've seen on Michonne since she's been on the show.

  • AccidentalVisitor | February 20, 2013 5:34 PMReply

    So many things wrong with the original source of this discussion. Obviously that indivifdual wasn't keeping up with the show because if he/she did he/she would have known that the TV series substituted white Southern gal Maggie for the "rape" by the Governor. Actually while one can argue that Maggie was sexually abused by having to strip (up top) in front of the Governor, she certainly wasn't raped. The show kinda chickened out in having that type of brutality visited upon a main character. TPTB could have easily had the scene take place off camera, but they decided insted to drop the whole rape angle altogether. It works either way I suppose but why is it that brutally murdering innocent civilians is considered acceptable thing for the main villain to do but rape is off limits? Evil men do both things quite frequently in our real world.

    As for switching Michonne with Maggie, that was a no brainer. Michonne's revenge against the Governor for those actions is supposed to be one of the highlights of the series, but I could understand TPTB not wanting to have a black woman be the one that is sexually assaulted. The original writer from the Chocolate Brigade seemed to be freaking out already just by assuming such a rape was going to take place on the show. Just imagine if it actually happened.

    TV Michonne by the was has been a bust so far. The character is always angry, sullen and mostly mute. And what looked good on the comics page (a bad-ass, dreadlock black woman with a sword) looks kinda silly on the TV screen. Its a good thing I'm aware that Gurira is a terrific actress, otherwise I would assume, based on her Walking Dead performances, that she was a ranked amateur.

  • Donella | February 20, 2013 5:25 PMReply

    Courtney, I would suggest that you and Tambay make some effort to locate the source material, the graphic novels, because they are abundant in bookstores and libraries. The violent brutalization of Michonne's character in the graphic novel has been brought up several times on your own blog for over a year. I'm starting to wonder if the ignorance of the people writing about this subject is intentional. Information is power and the people who run this site shouldn't ask time and again about the same subject. Please make an effort to inform yourselves.

  • Vichus | February 21, 2013 8:09 AM

    Hell, they could ask Robet Kirkman his damn self to sit down and have an interview. It's not impossible to arrange. Grill him about all black characters on the show! Put this shit to bed, and make an interesting article about it.

  • Free | February 20, 2013 7:19 PM

    Well said.

  • Raphael | February 20, 2013 5:10 PMReply

    I've read the graphic novels and watch the show. In the comic Michonne is brutally beaten and raped but you never see it actually happen, you are to assume this is what happened to her. I've seen interviews with the creator and writer and they decided that they wouldn't be putting that into the show because it's so over the top. Also the reason Michonne doesn't have much to say or do in the show is because in the comic she's literally a silent threat, she keeps to herself and barely even talks in the book.

  • Donella | February 22, 2013 11:59 AM

    It's visually sick, Raphael. She's drawn with her bottom half stripped bare, fists striking her face, face bruised, on her knees, tied up, tortured and crying. For the fanboys demanding to see this representation on television, I don't know what to think. For the writers who cannot seem to write a three-dimensional, heroic Black woman unless she's pummeled inside out, I still don't know what to think.

  • Troy | February 20, 2013 4:24 PMReply

    Thousands of rape kits go unprocessed in every major city around the world. I don't know why someone would end up getting raped in a story about Zombies. It isn't that realistic. Rae doesn't happen more often thn a full moon. Also women can repell rape sperm so is doesn't matter. Survival is depicted as being a group thing. So the self-alienated "black" woman gets raped in the graphic novel by the psychopath The Governor and we say it has no place. Of course nobody gets raled in Rick's camp but it could've happened in season 1 before he took over. The difference extrapolated in the Gov's camp is ideal isolated southern community that condones severe brutality for the sake of their own perceived safety. As soon as they were the least bit threatened everyone wanted to leave Woodbury. It is the righteous fighting survivors versus the cowards and killers.

  • Leo | February 25, 2013 12:26 AM

    "Also women can repell rape sperm so is doesn't matter" wow ..You're like the Todd Akin of this discussion . I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say your clearly trolling ,seriously you must be trolling you cant possible believe that sh#t .

    Back to the discussion I'm glad they didn't feature Michonne's rape in the tv series , killing zombies and crazy psychotics is one thing and raping one of the strongest women characters is another

  • Vichus | February 21, 2013 8:11 AM

    "Also women can repell rape sperm so is doesn't matter." Ohhhhhhhhhhkay.

    Rape doesn't happen all that often, you say, but it does happen, so why could it not happen in this instance. Oh, also, it's fiction. Oh, also, it's a zombie apocalypse. A lot of strange things are happening.

  • Jo | February 20, 2013 4:15 PMReply

    Many of the characters in the book series are different from the tv series. This is something I appreciate very much. I love seeing how the storylines diverge from each other. One of the biggest ones is the capture and rape of Michonne which is substituted for Maggie and Glenn on the show. And like Lawrence, I was not pleased by the rape and my soul dropped as a Black woman reading that scene. But her revenge in the book was worth my soul dropping. I also feel she is a much more developed character in the book series. You learn so much more about her in addition to all the other characters. Rick's craziness makes absolute sense in the book. It does on the show as well but in another vein.

    I'm up to book 53 and look forward to reading more!

  • Lovesfilmnmusic | February 20, 2013 4:05 PMReply

    I wish the author of this post would have done more research on the book and the show before writing this shit post. Do better.

  • Lawrence | February 20, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    I read the books and I have to be honest as a black man I WAS NOT happy at all about the rape of Michonne it did leave me wondering why her and why rape, I'm a writer and I understand writing choices and making your work edgy and emotional and maybe thats what he was trying to provoke in his black audience. I also have to admit that I got a real good satisfied feeling after she mutilated the Governor afterwards so maybe it was a point to it...I don't really know. But I do know I would like for her character on the TV show to have more lines and contribute more to the story like the book.

  • Vichus | February 21, 2013 8:13 AM

    The Governor was such a bastard that rape was not necessary to be a motivating factor in revenge on him.

  • Lamel | February 20, 2013 3:58 PM

    So she was raped in the novel? I haven't read them so if that's what this artical is about then I am with you on questioning the validity of such an act on that particular charecter... but you could be right, her getting revenge on the Governor later may have been the point, I don't know. That's something the writer would have to justify.

  • Lamel | February 20, 2013 3:33 PMReply

    This didn't happen, it was Maggie Green who was assualted. In fact she wasn't even raped, no character on the show has had that done.
    If you are talking about an upcoming show then I will retract this message, if not I suggsest you recheck your facts about the show... and YES Michonne is a powerful character on the show. So powerful it was her who took the governors eye in one hell of a knock down drag out fight during the mid-season finale.
    Do not taint such a great show with even greater characters.
    Very respectfully

  • dancelover51 | February 20, 2013 4:33 PM

    I have most of the graphic novels and I watch the television show and very much enjoy it. The rape of Michonne was devastating in the book. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility in everyday life so why would it be out of the question in the graphic novel. The revenge on the Governor is the highlight of the series to me so I was a little disappointed that we did not get to see that in the series.

    I too need for Michonne to have more lines and to become a thinking member of the TV Show.

  • Lamel | February 20, 2013 3:45 PM

    Again, you put out strong points about the fine acting of Danai Gurira. I'm only noting the character of Michonne is portrayed as both crazy (Due to the situation) and powerful.
    I totally agree with you on that, however I do not agree with you pointing out that the black characters are killed off at certain points... in my opinion they are killing off an equal amount of cast members. ie. Shane, Rick's wife Laurie, T-Dog, Dale, etc.
    As for the zombies... well the actors are a variety of people from what I've seen.
    Let's jjust agree that it is a good show and move on.

  • Tom Haverford | February 20, 2013 3:38 PM

    No, Michonne is not a powerful character. She's one-note, and the show doesn't focus on who she is as a person at all, just that she's an angry black woman with a sword. The fact that she's still a notable character at all is due to Danai Gurira's excellent work.

    Let's not forget that this very same "great show with greater characters" is unable to keep more than one black character alive at any given time; T-Dog dies just as Oscar appears, and Oscar dies just as Tyrese appears, and that's not even touching on the homogeneity of the zombie population. So no, the show's not perfect, and it's certainly not immune from criticism.

  • Tom Haverford | February 20, 2013 3:31 PMReply

    The "Glen and Maggie get captured" arc in the first half of season 3, in the graphic novels, involved Glen and Michonne, and instead of Maggie just being humiliated by the Governor like what happened in the tv show, Michonne was raped while Glen had to listen.
    So it's probably a safe bet to say that it won't make it into the tv show at this point.

  • Lamel | February 20, 2013 3:37 PM

    Very well said Tom.

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