So this is a trope I see in a lot of amateur writing and fanfiction, and it baffles me as to why people do this. If it's not adding something to a character that we don't already know, and it's not portraying the character's reactions and feelings in the event or aftermath realistically, they DON'T USE IT. To use it for any other reason (such as shock value or to make us feel even more bad for the character) is unacceptable, and it's downright bad writing.
Don't believe me? Check out what professional critics have to say about how Game of Thrones handled the use of this trope.
Critics’ Reactions to the Sansa Rape Scene in Episode 5.6 of Game of Thrones
"The show has creators. They make the choices.They chose to use rape as a plot device. Again." - Jill Pantozzi, The Mary Sue
"It is possible to write fantasy without falling back on the harmful cliché that an old-timey setting offers a free pass to show women getting raped all the time." -Everdeen Mason, Refinery29
"The issue with the show returning to rape as a trope is not simply because there have been thinkpieces speaking out against it, and is not solely driven by the rational concerns lying at the heart of those thinkpieces. It’s also that the show has lost my faith as a viewer that the writers know how to articulate the aftermath of this rape effectively…" -Myles McNutt, AV Club
"We already knew that Ramsay Bolton was a sadist and an abuser of women, we already knew that Theon Greyjoy was his tormented puppet. Showing Sansa’s dress ripped, showing her face shoved down into the bed, hearing her screams did nothing to reveal character, or advance the plot, or critique anything about Westerosi society or about our own conceptions of medieval society that hasn’t already been critiqued." - Steven Attewell, Salon
"In general, I’m not a big fan of people getting raped in entertainment as a manipulative way of heightening the stakes, but I’m even less of a fan of people getting raped in entertainment when it accomplishes absolutely nothing." - Laura Hudson, Wired
"What character development could be wrung from this tragedy that could not have been created without a violent rape? Why does Game of Thrones — and so much popular entertainment — revert to this horrific crime when they want their female characters to “grow”?" - Michal Schick, Hypable
"Was it really important to make that scene about Theon’s pain? If Game of Thrones was going to go there, shouldn’t they at least have had the courage to keep the camera on Turner’s face?…But the last thing we needed was to have a powerful young woman brought low in order for a male character to find redemption. No thank you." - Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair
"To show Sansa being raped as the kicker to an episode — and then to cut to Theon, as if it’s his view, his reaction, his internalizing of the moment that matters — just felt like more of the same old same old we’ve been getting since Ros died, since Tansy was hunted, since Cersei was raped." - Nina Shen Rastogi, Vulture
"There are thousands of ways to make a character and a series compelling without having to humiliate and dehumanize her with sexual force. Come on, Game of Thrones, you should know better than that." - Rachel Semigran, Bustle
"Now with Sansa and Ramsay, Game of Thrones is seemingly confirming that it has no idea how to use rape as a storytelling device — crass as it may sound, fictional sexual violence can be extremely powerful if managed carefully (see: The Americans) — and rape is just about the worst storytelling device to deploy clumsily." - Jen Trolio, Vox
"Welcome to cable drama, where a woman’s rape is an opportunity for a man’s character development….what really makes the wedding night rape of Sansa Stark notable is the fact that as brutal and honestly unnecessary as the moment is, the show doesn’t even have the courtesy of letting Sansa’s emotions about the event serve as the center of the moment…. This was a choice and the choice was to marry off a teenage girl, rape her, and not even have the dignity to care primarily about her feelings about her fate." - Libby Hill, Salon
"The show pretty much added a new, and in my opinion, entirely unnecessary victimization to her story. More concerningly, after Jaime’s rape of Cersei last season, it’s yet another rape Benioff and Weiss decided to add to the show that was not in the text and at this point, we don’t need anymore." - Lauren Morgan, New York Daily News
"There have been numerous plot points and characters from Martin’s novels that have been omitted from the series; I’d love to hear what the showrunners’ arguments are for not only keeping the brutal assault of a young woman, but changing the storyline so that it happened to a beloved character. I’ll be waiting for an explanation, but like Jaime Lannister’s guilt [over raping Cersei], I’m not expecting it to actually arrive." - Casey Cipriani, Indiewire
"There were so many ways around this very horrible and very predictable outcome and D&D decided to use what would shock viewers the most. Maybe I’m naive and hope too much for the good things, but I’m also a fan of good writing and creative characters who grow. Sansa’s “wedding” involved neither."- Jen Stayrock, Workprint
"Bad enough that the assault upon the Stark princess by ghastly Ramsay Bolton was explicitly presented as an exercise in voyeurism, with Theon Greyjoy forced to watch as Sansa was violently assailed. What made the scene worse, and perhaps unforgivable, was that the rape was in the context of Sansa displaying increased maturity and independence." - Ed Powers, Independent.ie
"Personally, I’d really like Game of Thrones to be a good 30-40 per cent less weird about women (and having Warrior Princess fighting girls in Dorne isn’t quite what I’m after, chaps)." - Chris Bennion, Independent.co.uk
“Fans have a direct experience with the crime than with murder or other really serious violent acts. Often you can tell exactly what the story line was because it’s prompting calls about a certain issue or from a certain group of survivors.” - Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) The hotline which receives a noticeable increase in calls every time there’s a portrayal of rape on a popular show.
Support is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE
For legal and financial support contact the It Happened To Alexa Foundation: ithappenedtoalexa.org/