Breaking the Faith Uses Real Life Rape Cases For Reality Show Drama And It’s Making Me Feel Weird


There are few things that I enjoy more in life than snarking on bad TV shows. Seriously, I think the only things that are higher up on my list are baked brie and a dream I once had where I could fly. But the constant rape talk on Breaking The Faith is making recapping the show much less fun than I thought it would be. Even though I went into this show knowing that the people are breaking away from a dangerous community, I still thought it would be ridiculous and reality-showy enough that I would forget about that. However last night’s episode proved me wrong. Rather than distracting us with makeovers and cheesy musical montages, the show’s focusing on some of the more disturbing aspects of the community. Which would be fine if it was a 20/20 special and not a reality show.

The episode kicks off with the boys going to rescue the girls — Linda, Connie, Angie, Martha — from the FLDS and bringing them to a Safe House. The twist is that the Safe House is run by Carolyn Jessop, the woman who escaped from the community with her eight children several years ago and then helped put several high ranking members of the FLDS in prison. Why did they go to prison? For raping and helping to facilitate the rape of several young girls under the guise of marriage. In fact, one of the men put away is Linda’s father. Naturally Linda hates Carolyn Jessop because she doesn’t believe her father would ever do such a thing. She doesn’t believe it partially because he’s her father and partially because a good reality show needs tension. Nothing says engaging TV quite like watching a woman explain to a young girl why she testified against her father in court.

And this is where I start to have problems with this show. A real life rape case shouldn’t be used to create drama. Especially when the cases that Carolyn Jessop refers to are so recent. Warren Jeffs only got sentenced to prison in 2011. Sure that’s decades in internet time, but only two years in real time. There’s just something about the whole situation that rubs me the wrong way. And sure, maybe I’m just being overdramatic because I wanted a Breaking Amish spin-off and instead got a more serious reality show. But still, it’s weird to hear people talk about rape in such a scripted way. Hopefully as the show gets going it will focus more on the girls’ transformation and less on their traumatic past.

(Photo: DCL, TLC)

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    • Kait

      Fact: the abuse of women is a serious problem in the FLDS community. To watch this show and expect only “drama” is very ignorant. I applaud TLC for stepping up and bringing attention to the issue, and spreading awareness to the public. It doesn’t matter what medium – reality show, news program or documentary. The imporant thing is that it’s being addressed.

    • cha

      I don’t think Carolyn’s “speech” was scripted. I think she’s just said it over and over so many times, in court, to other kids leaving the community, the media, etc that it sounds rehearsed if you’re hearing it for the first time. She’s repeated her story and justifications so many times that she has had the chance to refine her words so that she’s not reaching for explanations.

    • Cindi Saw

      I agree. A real life rape case should not be used to create drama. It is a very sensitive issue.



    • Rica Eine

      Sadly, they do such thing all for TV ratings.
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    • dfwmom

      It would disgust me if they ignored this very serious issue and just talked about hair and makeup. They are trying to depict the reality of life within the community, if not presenting a real story, at least presenting the real issues of living in the community. Those rapes are a real part of this life, and if I was a rape victim, I would want to warn people about it, and encourage them to help people who had not escaped, and this is one way to do that.