Snapchat: KCVanz
Instagram: VNessa18
Twitter: VNessaScott

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Writing About Rape/Sexual Assault

Writing about a sensitive subject such as rape is hard and it should be. My current project will include a rape scene, it’s in the rough stages now and I’m not enjoying writing it.

So, why am I including it? 

Because the survivor’s story needs to be told.

And for that reason I decided I needed to write a post to help other writers if they decide to include rape or sexual assault in their story.

First, you really need to think about why you want to include a rape scene in your story. Normally I would list reasons why you should, but instead I’m going to list reasons why you shouldn’t.

  1. To give a protagonist something to avenge. I am not saying that other people aren’t affected by a loved ones rape, but it shouldn’t be used as a stepping stone for anyone who isn’t the survivor.
  2. For shock. (No explanation needed.)
  3. For characterization. I’ve seen rape used to showcase how evil a character is. I’ve also seen it used to show how an evil guy (Negan from the Walking Dead) has a moral compass (he doesn’t mind bashing a few heads in, but he refuses to allow his guys to touch a woman without her consent.)
  4. For entertainment. If the rape doesn’t affect the plot (the story will be fine and doesn’t fall apart without it) then don’t include it.
  5. Don’t write it from the rapists point of view if the story is the survivor’s.

If you still feel like the scene is still necessary here are some tips I have:

  1. (If in third person) don’t let the narrator linger on the survivor’s body. Don’t describe the survivors body in an erotic way. It’s rape, not sex.
  2. Focus on how the rape affects the survivor. You can still touch on how it affected those who love the survivor, but it’s not their story.
  3. Significant others can be upset and want to hurt the person who did it, but that shouldn’t be your only motivation for including the scene.
  4. Use the active voice.
  5. Nothing should insinuate that the survivor “asked for it.” The perp can assert that and if you’re going to have a bad cop, they can assert that but (if in third person) the third party shouldn’t. 
  6. You don’t have to go into detail. You can “fade to black.” It will still matter to the survivor.
  7. Enlist sensitivity readers. Their advice will be valuable.

I hope this helps anyone who might be diving into writing about such a tough topic.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.