Jeffe Kennedy Blog
RITA ® Award-Winning Author of Fantasy Romance
I love Ursula and appreciated her story. The problem with so many TV shows and novies is they tend to deal with sexual assault of the women characters as motivation for the men characters, centering the guy’s feelings and need for vengeance. I have thoughts!
So very true. The Woman in the Refrigerator trope is awful and needs to be killed with fire. But going the entire other direction and erasing sexual assault from fiction makes no sense either.
I know some authors have publicly said they won’t write rape. One author is a survivor and has had people ask when [female character] was going to get raped. That’s messed up. It’s like it’s treated as a given that of course your spunky heroine needs to get taken down a notch or two or your shy heroine can only become strong through the vehicle of rape. It’s a problem when authors reach for it automatically as a way to traumatize female characters. As if there aren’t a number of different ways to traumatize someone without relying on rape.
Are a lot of women assaulted in real life? Yes. Are authors in general good at depicting the trauma in a way that is realistic and doesn’t just fix it with a one-time application of magical healing sex? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Romance novels may shorten the time it takes to fall in love with someone for the sake of moving the story along and resolving things by the end of the book, delivering the agreed upon HEA. But doing that with trauma feels cheap. I’m willing to swallow Jane Doe finds Mr. Right immediately upon arrival to Small Town, USA but not that he can fix her issues with one horizontal mambo session.
Not even if he has Magical Healing Peen??? But yes, I totally get your point and agree. I’d also argue that, just because something takes serious writer chops to portray doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for it.
On the “when will this character get raped?” question – UGH!! I can’t even with that one.
Oh no, strive for it by all means provided it makes sense to include in the story! In hindsight, Ursula’s story runs along similar lines to McKinley’s Deerskin. Both are young women raped by their father the king who essentially gets put down like a rabid dog at the end of the story by his victim after he fails to acknowledge he did anything wrong. They’re both great books!
I wonder if there was some sort of backlash to including gratuitous rape that people stopped doing it altogether? Or maybe people wanted less trauma in their escapism?
I *loved* Robin McKinley’s DEERSKIN! I would say I was absolutely influenced by it. Thank you for the comparison 🙂
I do think there was a “less trauma” backlash, because it got so pervasive for a while there. I think Library Addict is right that people (rightly) objected to that being used to motivate male characters. But I think there’s also the temptation, as always, to pretend that this is not a reality of our lives.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.