Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Rape in Fiction 
14th-Oct-2003 09:50 am
Hearth
asim commented yesterday that it was odd that someone in rainn was upset that a past rape was implied in a recent movie - not shown, but implied. I've said in the past the rape in movies and books bothers me; I'm going to clarify that.

Y'all know I don't believe in not talking about rape. (See here. THIS LINK MAY BE TRIGGERING.) It happens. It happens a *lot*. And yes, it should be spoken of. People need to be reminded that this is not something that only happens to people you don't know. Odds are very strong that I'm not the only rape survivor you know, even if I'm the only person you know who talks about it.

It is one of the most heinous things that can be done to another human being. And people need to not forget that.

But, precisely because it *is* so heinous - it needs to be treated responsibly in fiction. And most times, it isn't.

Want to show that your villain is a Bad Guy? Have him rape someone. Have him get away with it, too; name one movie or book where there are actual consequences to rape. Murder, sometimes. Rape, no.

Want to traumatize your female character? Have someone rape her. Male characters get a wide variety of traumas. Car accidents, houses burning down, being shot or stabbed or whatnot. Women? No options for women. Just rape.

The rape of the female character is just plain lazy writing. The author couldn't think of anything with actual logic or depth to do to the character, so he just threw in a rape and called it done.

The villain-as-rapist is also lazy writing... but it's something more dangerous than that.

Fiction affects people. I'm not saying that Natural-Born Killers makes kids shoot up high schools. I'm not saying that rock music makes your kids Satanists.

But when people repeatedly see in their fiction of choice that everyone gets away with rape....that's going to leave an impression, if only subconsciously. And when they see my least-favorite twist on it - where the victim forgives/falls in love with the rapist (see Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books, where the "anti-hero" rapes a woman who falls in love with him afterward, and he becomes this Great Hero, with no consequences or remorse) - they get the impression that rape isn't so bad - see how that character recovered? He fucked her like a real man, and she said she didn't want it, but she did, see?

And I just find that irresponsible and reprehensible.

I'm not against rape existing in fiction. It exists in real life, and censoring it from fiction wouldn't be right.

But I would prefer that rape only be shown/spoken of when it is integral to the plot. When it is a natural progression of the story. And it can be heavily implied and still be handled with delicacy - make it clear what's going to happen, then cut away. We don't need to see every detail in order to know what happened. My example to asim yesterday was the anime movie Perfect Blue... which had a ten-minute-long rape scene. When it started, I covered my eyes. My ex kept watching to tell me when it was over. And it just... kept... going. He ended up fast-forwarding - and it took him several minutes to get past it even on fast-forward. That's later been edited down to just two or three minutes, I think I heard - not watching it again to find out. But it could just as effectively have been accomplished with threat-then-cut-away, you know? Ten minutes just glorifies it....

Well. That's my opinion. Thank you, drive through!
Comments 
14th-Oct-2003 07:07 am (UTC)
I ws handed the books by ex-husband #2. They're his favorite. I read that scene and literally threw the book at him - he knew that I get triggered by rape scenes I'm not warned about, and he gave me the book anyway, with no warning....

He convinced me to keep reading. I did. All six books. Worst shit I've ever read, and that *includes* Tolkein. I mean, come on. He named his villain Drool Rockworm? So lame.

I have some issues with my ex-husband there. Pretty much everything he gave me to read or watch had rape scenes, and he never warned me. And he ... well, he never violently forced me to have sex with him, but he did it when I said no and when I was crying...

And now he lurks on rainn to pick up chicks. Niiiice. The moderator refuses to add him, though. Not because of me, I haven't said word one about him. But he givesc off a creepy vibe.
14th-Oct-2003 07:25 am (UTC)
I hereby surrender my claim to the title of King Dick, and hand it to this guy. Sounds like he deserves it far more than i.
14th-Oct-2003 07:52 am (UTC)
Quality.
14th-Oct-2003 12:20 pm (UTC)
So that's where "Drool Rockworm" comes from...

And your ex is scum. Pretty straight-forward there. Someone should knock him out and tattoo "I abuse women" on his forehead.

Not that I dislike him or anything, no no... not that I've seen reason to dislike the poor schmuck. ;)
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