Tcr

Rape in Literature: Thoughts?

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So, a few months ago, while I was looking to write a realistic, yet also respectful, rape scene for one of the stories I’m working on, I did research (...as any normal person would have ‘rape’ in their search files...  I swear, Officer, I’m not trying to find ways to not get caught...  Okay, you don’t have to taze me-)...
 
Anyway, while doing so, I came across a number (a fairly large portion of the search results, actually) on how rape in literature was merely a lazy man’s tool.  Most of them stated that, using rape in literature was a sure sign that the writer in question was lazy and relying on the ‘shock’ value of the rape to keep people interested in the novel.  (As a disclaimer, many of them seemed to use Game of Thrones as their example of why and how this is,,,  I understand the reasoning behind this, but, seriously, if you’re just using GoT, I’m not sure how valid the argument can be made...) 
 
Obviously, rape is not something to condone or glorify, but that hardly disqualifies it as a ‘lazy writer’s tool’, in my opinion.  There are many ways that rape can be used (excuse how this will come out) to great extent in advancing a character, characterization, or even the scenario without the gratuitous amounts of consistent and, my opinion, eventually boring scenes... 
 
Thus, my question is, what are your thoughts on rape in stories and, indeed, in what you read?
 
 

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Oh god… Yeah, I’ve read articles like that too (possibly the same ones you found). It generally annoys me when people call anything in writing ‘lazy writing’ unless they’re talking about netspeak and lack of research in subjects where research is sorely needed. Rape is such a sensitive subject, and there’s a lot of people who justifiably avoid reading things with rape in it. No one should have to read shit that makes them uncomfortable or triggers anxiety/panic attacks. That being said, it’s not lazy writing. Neither is writing anything that might shock your reader, in my opinion. When I read a story, I like if it shocks me. I like if it makes me feel gross sometimes or sick sometimes and reminds me how damned ugly people can be sometimes. Rape happens. It seems insulting to me to deem a horrifying act that happens way too damn often and with so much history and weight on it ‘lazy’ or just ‘shock value’. Like it feels like it dismisses it to me, you know? 

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Because rape is one of my fetishes, I’ve written several purely pornographic rape stories, and by and large, they attract a lot more readers than most of my consensual-sex stories. (The ultimate reader-magnet seems to be father-daughter rape, given that the stories of mine that have the most dragon prints are titled “Daddy’s Rules” and “Darla’s Dad.”) So I think “shock value” only tells part of the story; some authors write rape scenes because they know that such scenes appeal to a decent chunk of their readership—whether the readers will admit it or not.

But in non-porn stories, I agree with Tcr that rape is not “lazy writing” if it advances the plot or character development in some important way. (The same goes for murder.)

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2 hours ago, GeorgeGlass said:

Because rape is one of my fetishes, I’ve written several purely pornographic rape stories, and by and large, they attract a lot more readers than most of my consensual-sex stories. (The ultimate reader-magnet seems to be father-daughter rape, given that the stories of mine that have the most dragon prints are titled “Daddy’s Rules” and “Darla’s Dad.”) So I think “shock value” only tells part of the story; some authors write rape scenes because they know that such scenes appeal to a decent chunk of their readership—whether the readers will admit it or not.

But in non-porn stories, I agree with Tcr that rape is not “lazy writing” if it advances the plot or character development in some important way. (The same goes for murder.)

When it comes to puuuure porn, I feel like anything is game as long as it’s not like saying ‘hey reader, go out and rape a bunch of school girls with your tentacles right now’. Well… I kinda feel that way about non-porn too. I think a lot of the appeal of pure porn is that we can play with and glorify depraved things that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to us in reality. (I hope). You mentioned murder. I can totally write or read a sex scene murder and get turned on whereas if I saw it on like a snuff film, I’d get sick. 

So yeah, lazy writing is lazy writing, I think. I don’t think it can be blamed on what’s happening in the story, whether its rape or deus exs or the koolaid man making a random cameo in a downton abbey fan fiction. The only thing that makes writing lazy is a writer ceasing to care or improve. 

Edited by CloverReef

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Rape is part of human behaviour so it certainly can have a legitimate role in stories.  It happens in wars, on the streets, in intimidation, in business, and in families.  To deny it is to restrict to only one side of humanity.  Rape is more than plot, it can simply be a person’s character, if they’re isolated with another in a vulnerable situation….or, coping with a character’s past (ie, the victim).  And how the story’s society responds to the victim/perp, that can illustrate the world.

 

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22 hours ago, CloverReef said:

Rape happens. It seems insulting to me to deem a horrifying act that happens way too damn often and with so much history and weight on it ‘lazy’ or just ‘shock value’. Like it feels like it dismisses it to me, you know? 

 

5 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

Rape is part of human behaviour so it certainly can have a legitimate role in stories.  It happens in wars, on the streets, in intimidation, in business, and in families.  To deny it is to restrict to only one side of humanity.

Oh, certainly, on both counts.  Deny or shooting down the idea of writing rape definitely downplays or dismisses the reality of it.  As you've both said, it happens.  Humanity is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; it's ugly and disgusting and, at its worst, can be downright appalling.  One only needs to look at the treatment of POWs in war, the homeless veterans, and, indeed, the treatment of everyone in between to see that.  We are a hostile, disturbing race.  If one cannot express that nature, in any form it takes, then what is the point of it all?

8 hours ago, CloverReef said:

‘hey reader, go out and rape a bunch of school girls with your tentacles right now’. 

Well, there goes my defense...  Honestly, officer, the books told me it was okay!

11 hours ago, GeorgeGlass said:

Because rape is one of my fetishes, I’ve written several purely pornographic rape stories, and by and large, they attract a lot more readers than most of my consensual-sex stories. (The ultimate reader-magnet seems to be father-daughter rape, given that the stories of mine that have the most dragon prints are titled “Daddy’s Rules” and “Darla’s Dad.”) So I think “shock value” only tells part of the story; some authors write rape scenes because they know that such scenes appeal to a decent chunk of their readership—whether the readers will admit it or not.

But in non-porn stories, I agree with Tcr that rape is not “lazy writing” if it advances the plot or character development in some important way. (The same goes for murder.)

Purely pornographic depictions of rape, without offence intended, GG, to me, fall under a different category all the same.  But no, even there, I wouldn't call it lazy or otherwise.  One has to formulate and write it in a way that is just enough to draw the readers in, but not enough to turn them away.  I haven't done purely porn, so I only have my experiences to fall back on here (feel free to throw tomatoes)...  It's been hard for me, probably because I don't write it, to craft a convincing scene while keeping it just disturbing enough without overdoing it.  (I think I had you read it, CR, as Beta...but I could be mistaken...)...  And I'm still worried I'm pushing too far...  (but that's what A/Ns are for, right?  And tags...)

8 hours ago, CloverReef said:

or the koolaid man making a random cameo in a downton abbey fan fiction

"Oh, YEAH!" the Koolaid man cried, smashing through the wall.  "Now suck on me straw!"

And to end…

Certainly, there's no laziness in it.

While I would say advancing character or plot (or romance) is something it should do, having the gratuitous rape scene to remind the reader of the world, to shock them, or even remind them of the characters in this world, is just as valid.  

Am I rambling again? 

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1 hour ago, Tcr said:

Oh, certainly, on both counts.  Deny or shooting down the idea of writing rape definitely downplays or dismisses the reality of it.  As you've both said, it happens.  Humanity is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; it's ugly and disgusting and, at its worst, can be downright appalling.  One only needs to look at the treatment of POWs in war, the homeless veterans, and, indeed, the treatment of everyone in between to see that.  We are a hostile, disturbing race.  If one cannot express that nature, in any form it takes, then what is the point of it all?

Yeah, people suck… Not me personally of course, but everyone else. 

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11 hours ago, Tcr said:

Purely pornographic depictions of rape, without offence intended, GG, to me, fall under a different category all the same. 

No offense taken; I completely agree. I’m just making the point that shock is not the sole reason why some writers might include a gratuitous rape scene in a story; they might also do it because they know it will be a turn-on for some readers.

Quote

While I would say advancing character or plot (or romance) is something it should do, having the gratuitous rape scene to remind the reader of the world, to shock them, or even remind them of the characters in this world, is just as valid.  

If it develops the world of the story, then I wouldn’t describe it as gratuitous. It only becomes gratuitous if you linger on that scene for longer than is necessary to paint the picture and are doing it purely as a cheap thrill for the reader.

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2 hours ago, Anon said:

If they think rape is a lazy tool they must think murder is absolutely slothful then.

No, no...  Murder is warping the minds of the innocent to become mass murders...  Or do I have that wrong?  Maybe I have it wrong... 

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8 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

Murder’s fine.   I’ve got a woodchipper for anybody who disagrees.  :P

So that’s why I keep finding fingers in my cedar mulch! 

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On 6/29/2017 at 11:38 PM, GeorgeGlass said:

Because rape is one of my fetishes, I’ve written several purely pornographic rape stories, and by and large, they attract a lot more readers than most of my consensual-sex stories. (The ultimate reader-magnet seems to be father-daughter rape, given that the stories of mine that have the most dragon prints are titled “Daddy’s Rules” and “Darla’s Dad.”) So I think “shock value” only tells part of the story; some authors write rape scenes because they know that such scenes appeal to a decent chunk of their readership—whether the readers will admit it or not.

But in non-porn stories, I agree with Tcr that rape is not “lazy writing” if it advances the plot or character development in some important way. (The same goes for murder.)

Yeah, I come across a hell of a lot of rape in the stories I read… I guess i have no aversion to it because I have a fetish as well. Whenever I include rape in my stories though, I encounter a mixed bag of reactions each time. Of course, the negative responses stick out more to me, and possibly, the rape fanatics, like myself, don’t even want to leave comments :P so i don’t even get to hear their opinion…

But either way, when I read TCR’s original post, I was angry because how can you say that ALL sex scenes are written for shock value. You can’t make a sweeping statement like that!

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8 hours ago, Tcr said:

No, no...  Murder is warping the minds of the innocent to become mass murders...  Or do I have that wrong?  Maybe I have it wrong... 

Honestly, I think there’s been way too much censorship in the history of man… the reason we’re so morbidly curious about topics like rape is because it’s so taboo. I’ve always been interested in taboo stuff, so I’m not really surprised I’m drawn to more darker topics in stories. I’m not saying we should glorify it , and you said that yourself tcr, but idk, i just wouldn’t say rape and i guess murder in stories isn’t simply ‘shock value’, it’s a window into another (and severly twisted) individual’s mind. Rape and murder are part of the human existance. How can it be ‘bad’ to write about it?  

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34 minutes ago, mastershakeme said:

Rape and murder are part of the human existance. How can it be ‘bad’ to write about it?  

Only if you’re writing a how-to-guide with the intention of carrying it out…. imo.  I’m on the fence when it’s confessional, because this is one of things you shouldn’t fully act out in the name of “research”, like a bank robbery or something equally sinister.

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It is amazing how uptight many of us are when it comes to anything related to sex. There are plenty of scientists who use the word “gender” in their papers where “sex” would be more accurate, because they simply don’t want to use the word “sex” at all.

On a related note, I read that on the Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disney’s them parks, they are getting rid of the tableau that shows several tied-up women under a sign that reads "Auction -- Take a Wench for a Bride." This I’m okay with, because, you know, forced marriage and sex slavery kind of aren’t cool anymore. :)

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1 hour ago, mastershakeme said:

Honestly, I think there’s been way too much censorship in the history of man… 

100% agreement.  And this has been brought up a few different ways here, too, so it's not just you.  I find that the current generation (sorry...) is the worse for being easily offended and wanting to live in the bubble of "nothing bad ever happens"…

1 hour ago, Desiderius Price said:

Only if you’re writing a how-to-guide with the intention of carrying it out…. imo.  I’m on the fence when it’s confessional, because this is one of things you shouldn’t fully act out in the name of “research”, like a bank robbery or something equally sinister.

"But, Officer, I assure you, I only robbed the bank and killed people and, you know, sodomized some with that pole...in the name of research!  I'm writing a how-to, do-it-yourselfer book on striking it big and laying more people than you can believe!"

47 minutes ago, GeorgeGlass said:

On a related note, I read that on the Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disney’s them parks, they are getting rid of the tableau that shows several tied-up women under a sign that reads "Auction -- Take a Wench for a Bride." This I’m okay with, because, you know, forced marriage and sex slavery kind of aren’t cool anymore. :)

Damn it, now where am going to sell all the kidnapped souls in my basement? (Okay, throw the tomatoes now, I'll see myself out.)

On a serious note, definitely a good thing and idea.  Understandable in the context of the time period and all, but...  Children!  Damn it, children!  That's probably not the best message to be sending... 

Edited by Tcr

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33 minutes ago, GeorgeGlass said:

On a related note, I read that on the Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disney’s them parks, they are getting rid of the tableau that shows several tied-up women under a sign that reads "Auction -- Take a Wench for a Bride." This I’m okay with, because, you know, forced marriage and sex slavery kind of aren’t cool anymore. :)

LOL oh god, that’s horribly inappropriate for a place where kids can go. I don’t support censorship in material for adults, but normalizing (and having fun with) the dehumanizing and torture of women to kids kinda terrifies me a little bit. I’m glad they’re getting rid of it. 

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1 hour ago, Desiderius Price said:

Only if you’re writing a how-to-guide with the intention of carrying it out…. imo.  I’m on the fence when it’s confessional, because this is one of things you shouldn’t fully act out in the name of “research”, like a bank robbery or something equally sinister.

Yea ok! I sound fucking crazy :P

No, I'm not writing a rape how-to guide. Fuck me... 

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To me Rape is like any other element, it has a place and should be put in these places because it fits.

You use it as a means to either ….

1: haunt them (hes still out there somewhere) torment them (I can never love again) and generally shatter the person they were, but thats not to say the person can not become stronger in spite of it. its about the how and why.

2: give another character as the rapist, motive, revealing hidden parts of their personality if needed, expressing the kind of monster they are/are not and just painting the picture of the level this “bad guy” would go to.

3: explains why a character is where they are now, if it happened in the past and is a driving force, give a character a traumatic experience that is used to drive them.

4: TERROR!!! mostly used when dealing with actual monster monsters, demons and aliens, that this THING did THAT to me and now im …... 

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Rape is a common lazy way to give a female character a “tragic” past. TV Tropes has a page about this, as well as other aspects of fictional rape.

Since we’re talking about porn stories, one presumes the rape is to be explicitly shown and is for the excitement of the reader. Lots of women get off on the concept of rape, i.e. as long as it’s pretend like a story or a roleplay, so there’s actually a sizable audience of women for stories with rape in them.

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I dont think I would label it as Lazy, because honestly you could do that with anything.

its just another tool in the tool box, like the tragic loss of a child to make a character heartless and cold.

the betrayal of a lover to make one distance them self from anyone that might try to love them. 

 

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On 6/28/2017 at 11:46 PM, Tcr said:
So, a few months ago, while I was looking to write a realistic, yet also respectful, rape scene for one of the stories I’m working on, I did research (...as any normal person would have ‘rape’ in their search files...  I swear, Officer, I’m not trying to find ways to not get caught...  Okay, you don’t have to taze me-)...
 
Anyway, while doing so, I came across a number (a fairly large portion of the search results, actually) on how rape in literature was merely a lazy man’s tool.  Most of them stated that, using rape in literature was a sure sign that the writer in question was lazy and relying on the ‘shock’ value of the rape to keep people interested in the novel.  (As a disclaimer, many of them seemed to use Game of Thrones as their example of why and how this is,,,  I understand the reasoning behind this, but, seriously, if you’re just using GoT, I’m not sure how valid the argument can be made...) 
 
Obviously, rape is not something to condone or glorify, but that hardly disqualifies it as a ‘lazy writer’s tool’, in my opinion.  There are many ways that rape can be used (excuse how this will come out) to great extent in advancing a character, characterization, or even the scenario without the gratuitous amounts of consistent and, my opinion, eventually boring scenes... 
 
Thus, my question is, what are your thoughts on rape in stories and, indeed, in what you read?
 
 

Rape is an unfortunate reality of life. It regretfully happens as the stats show

https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=317

Neither gender has immunity. Though this denial of male rape seems to slowly be lessening.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html

It depends on what the usage of the rape is. Is it for shock value? An unfortunate turn of events? Is it a make or break moment for the character.  Does the character refuse to let such a horror break them. Do they move past it or ultimately are they stuck in permanent victim mode.

The context is what matters.

 

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On 6/30/2017 at 9:39 PM, GeorgeGlass said:

No offense taken; I completely agree. I’m just making the point that shock is not the sole reason why some writers might include a gratuitous rape scene in a story; they might also do it because they know it will be a turn-on for some readers.

If it develops the world of the story, then I wouldn’t describe it as gratuitous. It only becomes gratuitous if you linger on that scene for longer than is necessary to paint the picture and are doing it purely as a cheap thrill for the reader.

Now that song Cheap Thrills is stuck in my head for the twentieth time. :lol:

Quote

"Baby, I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight

I love cheap thrills" — Cheap Thrills, Cia

I love Cia's voice, so that earworm is welcome. :P

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