This was stemmed by the 'offensive' thread, simply because it reminded me of a blog I had read. I forget who it was by or when, but the article in question was talking about how women characters are always made 'strong' due to some sort of sexual violence. Whether being raped, or sexually harassed, beaten or used... she made the case that it's degrading and... offensive to see women going through this constantly in literature, as a mechanism for her maturing and growing. Thinking about the books that I've read, I find this to be more or less true. But then again, it happens so much in real life, that I think literature just happens to be reflecting that. She suggested that writing a female character who is abused is a crutch. I'm curious what other writers think. Do you use abuse to help your character grow? Do you think that she's oversimplifying the connection between maturity and hardships, or do you think that her points have some merit? I'll try to find the article (I'm sure its in my history somewhere).