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  1. Azeher
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    Azeher Member

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    Rape

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Azeher, Apr 16, 2011.

    I really dislike the rape concept in stories. No matter how good the story may be, rapes are a turn off for me and I'll instantly stop reading. But I not only hate rapes in fiction but in real life too. Today a friend of my mom tolds us about two cases of sodomia in a school of our town. That school is famous for it; everyday boys and girls that study there are raped by older students and even teachers. However, everyone always pretends it never happened. The school staff tries to keep it for themselves while the victims feel too much ashamed to talk, and it seems like the parents too. People in town know what happens but without testimonies no one can do anything.

    Whatever, it was the first time someone actually talked and that's how everyone heard about the two cases. I felt so bad for the kids and for their mothers who are really suffering. That was when I started thinking: "how is it that there are people who love getting their characters raped or even think about getting them raped?" I know authors that even enjoy it. I don't understand it.

    So I wanted to know what you guys think about this concept, in fiction and in real life. How you feel about it and about people that you know have been raped? Have you ever gotten a character raped? If yes, how did you feel about it? Do you really think it was a good idea to write that? And most importantly, do you really think it was necessary for the plot?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Hopefully everyone abhors rape in real life. It's a horrible crime.

    I don't mind it in fiction if it isn't gratuitous. In other words, if it is important to the story and the author handles it well, it won't stop me reading.

    This comes up a lot with respect to Stephen Donaldson's "Lord Foul's Bane," I know people who quite reading very early on because of it. I think Donaldson handled it well, I think it served the story well, and so I continued to read.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it is important not to shy away from difficult topics - when one comes up to write it as well as you can, with sensitivity and understanding. These things happen and the more open people are the more those affected by something can discuss them openly.

    It gives people something to talk about.

    I have done something far worse to one of my characters than rape him. Still don't know why my character was expelled at ten from school and at the same time one of his bestfriends died and his bestfriend's sister became a mute. Sure he will tell me eventually.

    I don't know about other authors but I don't exert that level of conscious control over a story to prevent a rape, murder, other kind of death etc
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I think the entire point of rape in fiction is that it's not supposed to be an enjoyable reading experience. If an author is going to use it, it has to be to serve a purpose to the plot or the characters. The worst instances I've seen are ones which are blatantly just there for shock value, and this diminishes the crime itself (in reality and in fiction).

    And I agree with Steerpike- I hope everyone finds real-life rape abhorrent.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Indeed.

    I think it's horrible, but often necessary for a story. It can make for excellent storytelling if done right, and if the victim wins out in the end it can be extremely powerful. A lot of stories where rape has been a part of it that I've read it's been implied or skipped over, focussing far more on the implications and psychology than paying any attention to the horrible moment. In a way I can see how it's glorifying it, if the author doesn't take an extremely biased viewpoint. And not everyone may want to do that if they're following the rapist rather than the victim. The fear of seeming to condone it might sabotage an otherwise confident exploration of a character's psychology.

    I personally wrote rape a couple of times in an early novel that I wrote as I was coming of age as a writer, as well as consensual but extremely reluctant sex (ie: blackmail being involved), but since then I don't feel I have the need to prove myself as a writer by writing such things. I've actually handed a lot less adult themes since I've been confident with myself, than when I was jumping up and down in a "look at me! I'm a big grown up writer now!" state of mind. I did have an almost-rape in my latest novel, but the main character was saved both times it almost happened (same guy having a second go - she's not a magnet for it like in some eye-rolling Mary-Sue things I've read :p). It's such a huge theme a lot of the story has to be set aside to work out all the issues and I just did not have time for an emotionally damaged character. It always is a defining character moment, and only threatening rape is more than enough for a character to be taken seriously as a villain. In movies there are plenty of villains who never rape the girl but make it clear they would if she were not saved, and that's plenty to make the audience growl with rage and cheer his downfall. So it can be used lightly as a writing tool if you don't actually go through with it, and therefore don't have to derail your whole novel around it if it not a novel about a rape.
     
  6. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with both of these. And also, this:

    I don't think I've ever met anyone who was like "oh, rape? Meh...not a big deal."
     
  7. Serieve
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    I agree that not writing about rape is along the same lines of rape victims not talking about what happened to them. If we're too afraid or reluctant even to write about it, how do we expect anyone to talk about it?

    The authors who enjoy having fictional characters raped are of course sick. Erotica may or may not be something entirely different. But the thing about writing is that it needs tension. You shouldn't go easy on your characters just because you don't want terrible things to happen to them. At the same time, one hopes that the writer treats the issue with the care and respect that it requires.

    So, it's a complicated issue. Rape in real life is unspeakably awful. Rape in fiction... has the potential to be helpful. Reading it is unpleasant, but maybe it helps readers to empathize with victims and become aware of the issue.
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    As Elgaisma said, the fact is it DOES happen, it is a real life issue. Writers tend to write about real life issues in their writing. Sometimes terrible things come up. It doesn't mean that the writer "enjoys" it. Also, though I certainly don't know the authors you are talking about, is it possible that they are pleased with their ability to write the event in a meaningful and sensitive way rather than taking joy in putting their character through such an event?

    As someone who has a violent rape in a current WIP I can tell you that it made me physically ill to write it, and to edit it, and will probably continue to do so every time I have to edit it from here on out. If it was not critical to my story I would not put myself through that, now would I? However it IS critical to the story, and I believe it's a compelling story, or I wouldn't bother to write it. I guess that about sums it up for me.
     
  9. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think a lot of things about this topic.

    Being raped is an emotional journey. You're dirty, you're ugly, you're worthless, you're terrified, you don't know how to be around other people, you don't know how to understand yourself. You are indifferent. You are numb. Then you're angry. Everyone and everything ignites a fire in your body. You can't trust. You can't feel safe.

    But you can overcome.

    So yes, it adds to character development in fiction because it drastically changes a person, so if it's used, it is important. Whether or not an author is capable of really expressing the struggle without having been through it, I can't say.
     
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  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    At the risk of being contraversial but in order for there to be rape there has to be a rapist. Some rapists get a kick out of it they 'enjoy' it.

    Personally I think it is better for someone who does get a kick out of rape or its idea to take that out on an imaginary character in a book than on a real person. Their insights are just as valuable in giving understandings, helping to highlight the issue of rape and perhaps going someway to making it easier on both the person who feels the urge to do and the victims to get help early on.
     
  11. Azeher
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    Azeher Member

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    First I want to say I really liked your responses, very smart, very sensitive and very clear.

    I support this, even when I seriously dislike rape, the fact that an author uses it because it's relevant for the plot they're building, makes it someway fair and understandable.
    However, sadly when authors I know have come up with it, it's unnecesary. They just seem to think it will make their story and character more interesting, or that it will add more dept to the plot, which it doesn't.

    You have a great point too. Maybe take the subject more openly would help those who were victims in real life, although I wonder if they'd have the courage to actually read about it. Wouldn't it be like re-living the terrible experience?

    Haha, I also do terrible things to my characters 'when needed'. Sometimes people goes crazy with the sad background stories or main conflicts and end up torturing their characters to a point where it gets unrealistic and annoying.

    Never been said better.

    I don't have issues with almost rape. Actually it makes me feel relieved. And it's true that an intent of rape is more than enough to make a character look like a villain.
    Also, I do believe that like you, some authors stick to hard topics as this one to appear like professional writers. How bad not all can reach that point of self-confidence and real talent you reached.

    True. And of course no one should go easy on their characters; that's just as much of a crime... in literature. I only dislike rape that much, and I'm aware that, like with everything, if someday I decide to use it in my writings it'll be completely 'necessary' for the plot and character development.

    @ Trish: Believe me, the authors I'm talking about 'enjoy it'. I even started thinking everyone else did.

    @ Baywriter: However I don't agree with your comment. Throw rape into a story just to make your character "change" and give him/her a conflict will only make the author appear desperate and imaginationless. It is definitely not a good enough reason to write about it.
     
  12. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    I said that it would be important to the storyline, and it would be. Characters that have been raped and characters that haven't are very different and would approach situations differently. I didn't say that's why people should write about it. I said that's why it's important.

    People write about rape for a lot of reasons. Some people write about it because it's the only way they know how to talk about it. I think it's wrong to assume that most people enjoy using it in a story. And it's very insulting to those who have been through it and write about it because it helps them cope or because they want to put their story out there.

    It's something real that happens and people should realize that. If you don't want to read it, then don't. There's a solution.
     
  13. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    /can see this turning into a fight... This is a sensitive topic but also interesting and I'd rather read the discussion than an argument and a closed thread. :p
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't assume someone posting on the internet who you don't know, doesn't have personal experience. Everyone who experiences and goes through rape will handle it differently, some things will be in common but we are all brought up differently, cultures vary etc. For one person it maybe a comfort to read about a person coming through it strongly. For another it would be like reliving it.

    However I was thinking more about opening up society in general - every terrible thing my life has ever thrown at me, my priority has always been to talk about it, this allows many others to open up.

    Everyone in my life knew when I had experienced something - I am often the only person that knows someone else has experienced the same thing - why because I had been open and they knew they could approach me. If more people do the same then society becomes more open, understanding and there are more resources available for not just the person is raped - but the person that gets the urge to rape to step forward before they create another victim.
     
  15. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I did have an off-camera rape in one of my fan-fictions. People hated it. The biggest purpose was to introduce a child.

    In the re-writes, I decided to have him simply torture the main character and have her die from her injuries instead of a difficult birthing, and then for stylistic purposes the violence got turned down so that she's only injured enough to die from it.

    The child is introduced by another character managing to seduce the non-rapist.
     
  16. Azeher
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    Azeher Member

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    People here is right. This is a sensitive topic, and I'm not planning on turning it into a discussion, so if I said something that offended you I'm sorry, however, I was only exposing my opinion which sould be respected. I said I didn't agree with you, and I still don't... at all. Sorry, I just don't share you're point of view.

    Anyway, this isn't about any of the two of us but about the main theme: Rape.
    For everyone, I'd like to keep it like that.

    Edit:

    @ Elgaisma: I see what you try to explain. I only wondered that because I can't put myself in the shoes of someone who has lived that, so I don't know how would they react.
     
  17. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Actually you are turning it into a discussion about rape, that was the point of the thread wasn't it?

    Personally, I think both Baywriter and Elgaisma have similar and valid opinions on the current topic at hand. Well we all do, really, because they are our opinions. We are entitled to them.

    I also think it's wrong to assume that just because someone used it in a story they enjoyed it.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why people write about rape is very important to the discussion. Are they writing about the devastating effect on the victim? Or are they catering to salacious urges?

    All too much fiction dealing with rape caters far too much to the latter, even when purporting to abhor the act.

    There is also a lot of fiction about rape that exprezses gender hate, whether it be directed toward the victim's gender or the assailant's. Rape is used as the accelerant for emotional arson.
     
  19. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's always accurate to say that the reader isn't supposed to enjoy reading about rape. What about "Leda and the Swan?" I think as long as it's not supposed to be pornographic, it's not really objectionable. And even if it's objectionable, it's still art.
     
  20. Azeher
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    Once again, please, don't turn this into a discussion. By discussion I mean a fight. I didn't explain myself right.
    I respect other's opinions and just ask others to respect mine too.
    I don't see why someone should feel offended here. But again, if someone felt that way, I'm sorry. I just can't agree with everyone. The fact that I don't agree with someone doesn't mean I'm saying they're wrong and I'm right.

    Elgaima's comment was only perfect. I didn't desagree with her at anything. I just was wondering things to myself.

    As to assume everyone "enjoys it", I think I explained myself wrong again. I said I DO know people who enjoys it. People who has told me "I LOVE getting hard rapes scenes in my stories because it arouses me." After hearing that I just started thinking the worst and yes, I assumed maybe everyone else was the same. BUT after starting this thread I realized it's not like that and I'm glad.

    AGAIN, please, COOL OFF or I'll have to ask some moderator to lock this thread. I never thought some people would actually get mad.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is why writing about rape in many different and varying ways is important there is no one way to react.

    I was fortunate I wasn't actually raped - I fought back, screamed and he was caught midway through - my Uncle had been a police officer and growing up he had taught me small tricks to cause maximum discomfort to an assailant. I tend to get angry rather than frightened. Apparently I was supposed to feel dirty, unclean and abused. I didn't - I was furious at the man that had felt he had that right. He was the one who was dirty and unclean not me. I was also angry at the people who felt I should feel that why - why should I - I had done nothing wrong. My biggest problem throughout it all was instead of taking their lead from me - people tried to force feelings of guilt, fear and of feeling unclean onto me - because that is the way people facing a serious sexual assualt should feel.

    I was never brought up to see sex as something dirty, unclean or to be ashamed of. As a result I saw his act as the problem. More people that talk the more variation we get and the more people don't feel pressure to 'feel' a certain way.

    Rape victims are not part of a race, they are not automatons etc They can feel the way they feel. It is the dirty nasty individual that performed the act in the first place that should be made to feel a certain way (preferrably in pain and unable to walk).

    It is a bit like with childbirth the only people that seem to talk loudly about it are the ones that had a terrible time of it. Intially when I started saying well actually I didn't find it that bad I was looked at like I had two heads, (especially as I nearly died with first one lol ) then more women started talking. A lot of women have trouble because fear tenses up their bodies - more talking about different and varied experiences would help. When I wrote the birth scene in my book I made it like the ones I had experienced.

    As writers we can affect the way society and events are perceived.
     
  22. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    rofl... That's actually funny. I'm not mad. Maybe you are misunderstanding me? I said ALL of our opinions are valid because they are opinions. Yours is included in that.

    As far as wondering, I think if you read over responses again you'll realize there are at least 3 women who have responded on this thread who have most likely experienced this, maybe you should look over their responses again.

    BTW, I can disagree without being offended or angry. Most of us can :)
     
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  23. Azeher
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    @ Elgaisma: I'm really happy that you didn't actually go through the very act of rape, however almost live it is not any better.
    I'm also happy that you're such a strong woman so that you didn't let that bring you down nor did you feel the way others wanted you to feel. You're truly admirable. And it's true, you're not the one to blame. I know of cases in real life where the victim feels it's their fault and that's also why they don't want to tell others about it. But how could it be their fault?

    @ Trish: Good to know you're not mad then.
    I think I'm naive enough not to recognize those women.
    But, despite of what it seems, I don't like to assume things about others, so I preffer not look for them.



    If people that have truly gone through rape feel more confortable talking and writing about it I do respect it. But then again, how can I know when the author is a victim? Don't blame me for not liking the matter as a literature stuff when it's not well performed since as well as a writer I'm a reader and most of the time I'll judge a book for the plot and characters. Not for personal experiences of the writer I'm not aware of.
    In real life it's another thing, since yes, it does happen, it can't be changed, and I can't do less than to prey for them so that they don't fall into a desperation abyss. I prey for them to overcome it and go on with their lives.
     
  24. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Well what if for instance the plot of the book is about a girl who gets raped, becomes pregnant from that rape and has to decide how to handle that pregnancy from that point on. The rape is included in the story because it is an important part of the story and it shows how the girl herself changed before the rape and after.

    Is that not well performed?
     
  25. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think, actually, it often comes out in writing when someone is writing from their own experiences. Little clues - so subtle I couldn't tell you what they are - give the story an air of "this is my life with the names changed and a few other small details moved around" ... the best fiction is when it seems to have this yet the author biography flatly denies it, such as a man of moderate wealth writing a poor single mother in a way that seems almost like real life. In any case, a lot of people with valid experiences they may want to write about such as rape or other awful things do make up an alarming amount of popular literature - those misery tales or what have you - and even woven into slightly more to much more literary fiction, there are still tells in the weird mixture of reluctance and frankness the author displays which might give them away.
     
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