The show handled the Winterfell rape infinitely better than the books. Which made the brutal torture and rape of Jeyne all about Theon. And forced it on a character few readers actually cared about or identified with. And Sophie Turner did the best she could in interviews. You don't magically become capable of handling the topic because you turn 18. People aren't angry about rape being used as a trivial way to prop up a man they are angry the show refused to take that route.
Going to answer your points out of order.
1) About ST being an adult and her ability to make public commentary on handling a sensitive, real world subject. Here’s the thing… if I admit I’m uninformed about a topic but I make public statements lecturing other people on that topic, I deserve to get called out on it. That’s what being an adult is. You have to own your words and actions, 18 or 88. I would not have blamed her if she had decided to not speak on it, but she was a chief defender of that scene. D&D, middle-aged men, certainly avoided speaking about it and it was shitty that they let a young adult run interference for their decisions. It’s not that ST is responsible for not “automatically” obtaining wisdom and insight at 18. It’s readily volunteering to publically criticize people who reasonably questioned why this “had to” take place when she stated her knowledge was limited. She was chastising them for somehow taking away from talking about sexual assault in real life, as if how that is presented in media has no bearing on real life or has no place in the “real” conversation. Look, I’m not saying she deserved to be crucified over it. I’m saying it was a jackass, uninformed thing to say that no one forced her to make. She’s a big girl and can take her lumps just like any other adult.
2) I have never heard one person say they were upset they didn’t make this more about Theon’s development. I don’t know how you concluded this was why people were upset. If you recall, the camera actually fixated quite a long time on Theon’s face, leading many people to think “Oh my God, they are making this about how it affects Theon.” Actually that unintentional (and unfortunate) decision came when the director just liked how Alfie Allen was reacting in the background. If they didn’t want to focus on Sophie’s face, they could have chose some object in the room to focus on instead or cut to black much earlier. So yeah there was a level of thoughtlessness there to how it was shot and the final cut, which does not support the idea of the show handling it well.
3) Exactly how did the show handle this better when no one can logically explain why Sansa “had to” be in Winterfell to begin with? Littlefinger gives her a bizarre, vague pep talk about “avenging” her family through marrying Ramsey Bolton. LF lso gives away his prize pawn for literally nothing in return for his character. Sansa decides to go along with this without questioning how exactly she is supposed to “avenge” her family. How does legitimizing through marriage the usurper’s claim to Winterfell supposed to give Sansa the advantage? None of this made any sense. It was a completely forced plot to get Sansa in the position to be raped by the big bad. Did we need the scene for the audience to discover how monstrous Ramsey really is? No. We already knew he was a rapist and sadist through Theon well before this happened. Oh btw, how does the show handle Theon’s trauma from being (implied) raped, tortured, and sexually mutilated? Take every opportunity to make him a joke. Yes, they handle it so much better. I have interview quotes from D&D here in this post stating their thinking behind using “painful experience” to make Sansa badass, which is the core of the rape-revenge trope. I would highly recommended the breakdown videos of @knightsinquisitor for all of D&D’s decisions compiled from interviews and dvd commentary. Specifically:
If @knightsinquisitor has anything to add, please feel free.
4) As for the book handling of Jeyne’s story and rape in general, there’s some criticisms I agree with and some I don’t. One thing is for certain, I have a clear understanding of the logical chain of events that led to Jeyne being in Winterfell. Theon may be the witness in his POV to Jeyne’s story, but I don’t find it makes her story all about him. No more than telling Sandor’s story through Arya and Sansa’s POV makes it all about the girls. I cannot speak for all readers in how much they care about Jeyne Poole, but I haven’t found anyone who wasn’t sympathetic to her story since the purging of the Stark men in KL. Littlefinger is 100% responsible for her situation. He assisted with the Stark downfall which killed her father, he sent her to a brothel, then he sent her to WF to impersonate Arya. She’s a key component of the plot there. We have the northern houses rallying for last stand against the Boltons and Freys “for Ned’s little girl.” We have the rescue mission attempt by Mance Rayder and the spearwives. Theon is agrees to help, but he’s not the major actor here. So no, I don’t see how George is making it all about Theon. Jeyne is still alive and many readers reasonably speculate that she could be the key witness that brings down LF permanently. Learning Jeyne’s story may be the tipping point that motivates Sansa to execute LF, because as of now she still believes he saved her life. She doesn’t know that he orchestrated everything. Whatever happens, Jeyne is still alive and in play for a reason. So she may have started as relatively minor, but it does look like her story has major ripple effects. People are coming to her aid and are bent on raining down justice on the Boltons.
The show handling is a cheap imitation of all these plot intricacies. How did Sansa’s rape affect the Northern plot in the show? Did the North rally for her and seek justice? Hell no. It’s not like what Ramsay was doing was a secret. Worse, Sansa had to go crawling back to LF to ask him to bring the KotV. Lyanna Mormont mocks her for a forced marriage to Tyrion and her nightmare marriage to Ramsay. I cannot see, for the life of me, how I am supposed to consider this better treatment.