1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Is this enough motivation to make a character 'snap'?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, May 24, 2016.

    In my story, the protagonist is raped by the villain and he finds himself wanting justice, if not revenge.

    However, I was told by a couple of readers that they did not buy it, saying that it's not enough motive for revenge. Especially since the protagonist is a cop, and his career would desensitize him and toughen him up to an extent. Plus they said, they only see him being pushed that far, if he has had a history of being abused, or if something happened in his past that would trigger it. But one rape only, is not enough on his own, when the rest of his life seems okay.

    Rape victims do not seek revenge, and it realistically never happens, one of them said. Do you think that's true, and he needs a different motivation or at least needs to take the story in a different direction, since his victimization might not push him in that direction particularly? What do you think?
     
  2. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Personally, I think every rape victim's reaction to what happened is unique and extremely personal. Many choose to bury it and seek to find a way of forgetting it instead of taking revenge, yes, but that doesn't mean your character need react that way. The deep psychological trauma associated with rape could be enough to make someone snap, especially if there is some element of their past which prevents them from accepting humiliation and submission easily. He doesn't necessarily need to have a history of abuse, but it would help if his character is established as one who cannot stand to be shamed or made to feel vulnerable. It could be a small thing about him, until this incredibly traumatizing and life-altering event triggers the episode of needing to take his revenge.
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I can't really think of something from his past that would come into play without it feeling forced. He is kind of a every man character of random chance who is a victim of random chance, if that makes sense. So I cannot really think of anything that would go, at least not now anyway.
     
  4. Kurst
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    Kurst New Member

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    What if your protagonist had been sexually abused as a child? Or maybe his mother was raped when he was young and he saw (sorry, I can be morbid). Something that triggers a trauma that he never came to terms with.
    Also, as a police officer, maybe he isn't desensitized. Maybe he's seen so many horrors of humanity and he's raped right as he's on the brink of thinking he doesn't have the mental strength to be a good police officer.
    Just some suggestions that came to mind. Good luck!
     
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  5. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If there's one group of people that society humiliates more viciously more than women who are attacked by rapists, it's men who are attacked by rapists. Robber breaks into your house, society blames the robber. Serial killer cuts you and a bunch of other people to pieces, society blames the killer. Rapist tortures you half to death, society blames you.

    Even if this guy's personal friends are on his side, he'll know that some schmuck off the street is not going to be. Rape is one of the crimes that keeps happening to you long after the original offender has disappeared, simply because society goes out of it's way to make you re-live it.

    Maybe your character is in therapy and support groups afterwards, maybe he's on his way to recovering from what happened, but then some drunk at a bar starts preaching about how rape victims are "asking for it" not knowing that there's a survivor sitting right next to him. Your guy then beats the drunk to a pulp, his police friends get the charges negotiated down, but your guy decides that if he's going to beat somebody up anyway, then it might as well be the original psycho?
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Perhaps. But I originally wanted him to go from a normal stand up happy man, to vengeful. If he has negative things from his past like that, I feel that the character is not the same, intentionally, if that makes sense.
     
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  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Yeah I actually was thinking of writing a scene like that myself, where others would talk about it, and he didn't like what he hears at all. I didn't think of him beating the guy up, but maybe. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
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  8. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    I don't think a single isolated rape would be enough justification to have your character, who as a police officer is sworn to uphold the law, enact revenge against him/her. There would need to be additional stimuli involved albeit further background story or potentially lasting ramifications proceeding the event; dismemberment, loss of status, etc.

    Of course, this is considering that the revenge spoken of is not contrived simply of opportunity. If your character actively seeks out revenge, then I believe there should be more to it.

    Plenty of ways to esculate the situation, however. Make the rape absolutely brutal, so bad the most hardened cop would look away. Some internal bleeding and permanent damage.

    If you want to be more PG than have the villian give him A.I.D.s. Hell, that would make me want to kill somebody.

    It's a villian though, so I say go sadistic. If you do it right, a single isolated rape can be VERY traumatizing.

    I won't go into it, but there's a million and one ways to go about it.
     
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  9. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Here's what you do, "I didn't care that i was raped... its the next victim that worried me, that's why i have to go out and kill this guy."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2016
  10. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks.

    As far as additional stimuli goes, I originally wrote it so that his superiors were not able to legally do a lot about the rape, since there is not enough evidence, and the prosecutor lacks a a faith in conviction, and things like that. So the reason why he goes vigilante and betrays his oath, is because he feels betrayed and not taken seriously enough, by his own system.

    However, I felt that maybe it's not best to write it so that he reports it. Originally the villain is a serial/rapist killer type who the cop is assigned to investigate and find out who she is. When he gets closer to finding who she is, she makes him her next rape victim, and he later gets away. But if he reports that he was raped, he will be taken off the case, cause it will be a conflict of interest. This would severely limit his resources on him getting away with his revenge. It would be a lot easier for him to get away with a formulated revenge plan if he was still on the case, cause he would use this legally as his excuse for power.

    Where as if he reports the rape, then he has the extra stimuli perhaps cause he would feel betrayed by his own system for not trying hard enough. But then he would be taken off and the conflicts of interest would clash with his plan if his superiors are aware of the rape. What do you think?

    Which is more important? The possible extra stimuli of being betrayed by his own system, or avoiding the conflict of interest, so he would still be on the case and have resources for a revenge plan?

    Also, the protagonist has a girlfriend that might be able to give him some extra stimuli perhaps in some way, but not sure yet. But I was told by readers that this makes him less likely to get revenge, cause he has a loving girlfriend he would leave behind if he were caught.
     
  11. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Easy, have his girlfriend come on to him, he has a PTSD type moment when they're about to have sex where he realizes he'll never be able to until he takes care of his rapist.
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh okay. I thought that maybe his gf would care for him about the rape to an extent, but she would not see it as seriously as he does, which causes him to become turned off of her. But that way you mentioned, is a good one as well. Thanks.
     
  13. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Hate to break it too ya... but detectives and cops are use to bureaucratic bull shit. Also, call me sexist or whatever you like... but being raped by a woman is not as bad as being raped by a man.

    1) Judgement by peers or society will not be NEARLY as bad. Think about all the "rape" victims by more attractive female teachers. Ever seen the MadTV skit?
    2) Just basic anatomy, he would have to be hard to pentrate her. That means there's three options here. A) He's sexually stimulated enough to form an erection. B) He's given a substance to forcibly stimulate an erection. C) He's penetrated by her instead.

    I mean option C could be extremely humiliating I guess, but still not as bad as a man doing it my opinion. Unless she\s insanely strong and using a (barb)aric tool.

    Okay, I have an easy fix for you after reading what you wrote.

    Since the villian is a serial rapist, let's give her Herpes or AIDs. He gives it to his girlfriend (wife w/ a kid would be more emotionally damaging) and they have a huge fight. He ends up having to come clean about being raped. She ends up breaking up with him because he didn't tell her, takes the kid with her (or not). She ends up going to the police and reporting the rape. His superiors suspend him.

    Now that he's been raped, given an STD, dumped, and might get fired -- revenge looks pretty damn good. Plus he has some free time, right?
     
  14. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher long ago, so I know a little bit about how cops work and feel. The thing is, they aren't "normal stand up happy men", or if they start out that way, they aren't for long. That's not a slam on the police force, but the things that they see and do can take them to some pretty dark places mentally.

    The other thing is, a lot of being a cop is about projecting power and letting everyone know that you are "The Man" (even if you're a female officer). For someone who is accustomed to being in charge of the situation, being raped might well affect their ability to show authority and negatively impact their job performance, especially if the rape was at all connected to the job. I think that it's within the realm of possibility for him to snap, you just have to make sure that there's a buildup after the crime but before the revenge.

    <edit> Whoops, somehow skimmed over that the rapist was a woman. Depending on what exactly constituted the rape, it might be worse, since he's even less likely to get sympathy from his fellow officers if he got penetrated by "a chick".
     
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  15. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks for the ideas. As for the life threatening STD idea, I wanted this story to be part of a series, so I did not want the MC to die, if that's okay, and he would continue on.
     
  16. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you for your opinion. Would you be interested in facts next?

    http://www.cosmopolitan.com/college/news/a30507/sexual-assault-misconceptions/ (#3)
    https://aifs.gov.au/publications/community-beliefs-and-misconceptions-about-male-sexual-assault
    https://www.livingwell.org.au/information/unhelpful-myths-about-the-sexual-assault-and-rape-of-men/
    http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/12/male-rape-epidemic/ (#1, 3, 4)
     
  17. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks a lot for the advice, and thanks for the articles.

    I was thinking, do you think that the MC should report his rape, before being driven to revenge? Cause if he reports it, then he can no longer be on the case anymore, and it creates a conflict of interest, so he would loose a lot of his police power over it.

    Or would reporting it be better for him, so the villain can get away with it further, and upset the MC possibly more?
     
  18. Slemmen447
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    Slemmen447 Member

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    In that situation, I don't think he would report it. Doing so might be very humiliating for him; He might start feeling like a disgrace to the police force.
    Anyway, when faced with dilemmas like these, I try to put myself in the characters' position, and think of what I would've done.
     
  19. Slemmen447
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    Slemmen447 Member

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    In that situation, I don't think he would report it. Doing so might be very humiliating for him; He might start feeling like a disgrace to the police force.
    Anyway, when faced with dilemmas like these, I try to put myself in the characters' position, and think of what I would've done.
     
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  20. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. But he needs extra stimuli to snap though, right? If he doesn't report it, could he still have enough stimuli, since he would be avoiding being humiliated?
     
  21. Slemmen447
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    Slemmen447 Member

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    Keeping it to himself might also be difficult. Have you ever tried to boil water without letting the steam out of the kettle? The pressure from the inside keeps building up, until the walls of the kettle can no longer hold it in. Until it explodes.
     
  22. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Think of "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe. He could keep it a secret and still convince himself that everybody knew somehow. Guys in the locker room joking about a tough looking woman, "Dude, she would fuck you up," and his heart starts racing, cold sweat, "Are they mocking me? Do they know?"

    PTSD is nasty shit, and while it's not good to stereotype it, bad things can happen as a result.
     
  23. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Diane Galbadon dealt with this very credibly in the Outlander series. The protagonist Jamie is an 18th Scottish chieftain raped by a British officer in prison while awaiting to be hung, then suddenly rescued by his men immediately after. She deals very well with his trauma, its effect on his life and relationship with his wife, and his desire for revenge. Well worth reading and extremely credible.
     

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