I don't remember well enough -- I'd put it aside, frankly -- to know if she's ever gotten that specific about it before, but in either case it's very powerful here. I've been calling him her molester because I couldn't remember the details and had no interest in finding out, so either way -- whether we explicitly knew this or the show just let us assume until today -- it's pretty harsh, and moving.
Seconds away from shooting the bastard execution style, she gets him to admit aloud that what he did was rape her, specifically, and he apologizes, and this moment takes off just enough of the pressure that she lets him crawl away, like a dog. Maybe she knows he'll be back, but we hope for the best.
It's not possible to describe a person in a single sentence. Our scars are not ourselves. It's not Abuse Survivor Gabrielle any more than it is Mall Barbie Gabrielle or Cheating Wife Gabrielle or I Love The Gays Gabrielle. But part of creating a character is looking at the big events, and the show's always been pretty honest about how Gabrielle's abuse, and her beauty, led to a particularly bad combination of factors that defined her life from there on out.
We don't really like to be sympathetic about the burden of physical beauty, because it's easier to define ourselves sometimes by our lack of sympathy for those we consider luckier than us, but that doesn't mean being a pretty woman is a picnic. Every single one of us is objectified by the way we look, and as non-straight males, every single one of us is objectified as a matter of course. There are obvious ways in which being a beautiful woman means being treated like even less of a human being: It makes some things easier, some harder. Just like with any other quality, from intelligence to hair color: Those things are not ourselves either.
(Thinking they are is an express train to hell. Priding yourself on your intelligence is undercutting your wholeness just as much as priding yourself on any other one thing, and it makes you weak and it can turn you crazy. Probably if you're reading this, you should think about that. Because I swear to you there are more wonderful things about you than your great big throbbing brain. No matter what you've been told.)
But when you're pushed into that particular pretty-object box, which all of us are to some extent, you have the choice of going completely dark inside, and being just a pretty thing. And that's what was going to happen to Gabrielle regardless, for the sin of being beautiful. Add Alejandro into that mix, and I'll be damned if I can find much of a reason to blame her for much of what she's done. The fact that she's still kicking and trying to find a way to negotiate with the outside world -- while still, it's true, being just as cartoonish as the other characters on this show -- is one of the reasons she's always been my favorite.