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What is your society's attitude towards sexual assualt?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by BloodyHellSausage, Aug 24, 2017.

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  1. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    Sexual assualt comes in several forms, from catcalling, groping and to outright rape, but for simplicity, I'll talk about rape. Is it tolerated to a relative extent, like in some real-life cultures? Is the rape victim blamed? Or is it considered a "special kind of evil," and rapists are castrated and tortured and executed and sent to hell to burn for all eternity and no one misses that scumbag?

    Maybe it's poor form to talk about other websites in a negative way, (is it?) but on Reddit, the worldbuilders tend to be squeamish about rape, but they're okay with all kinds of gruesome punishments that could fit in a torture porn horror film, and I fail to understand what the appreciable difference is.

    Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil - TV Tropes
     
  2. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    What, yet another thread about rape?

    It has been some time since we had one of these, and yet it does not surprise me at all to see it. First, I want to say that these threads often get locked and they are always watched by the Moderators with great attention.

    Please, take the discussion seriously and with respect.

    Personally, I view rape as a form of torture and in my opinion the various acts of torture are the real expression of evil. This crime in particular exists in some of my Fantasy worlds, even though it has never been shown in the narrative or even mentioned as part of any of my stories.

    In Graceland, it sometimes happens and it carries a death penalty. The same in Wander's Land, Watz Eyll and others.

    It does not exist in my Aylar worlds at all, since Guardians (male Aylars) are totally devoted to respect and protect the females by instinct. The average Guardian is twelve times larger and stronger than a typical female, and still the mere thought of hurting a female in any way is almost unthinkable to them.

    Anyway it so happens that Aylar sexuality is totally different to human sexuality, so something like rape would not happen even if the Guardians wanted to hurt a lady.

    In my Aylar worlds almost everything is different.
     
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  3. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

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    Two of those, at least, are actual sexual assault. I class "catcalling" as boorish and puerile, but rising nowhere close to "assault". But agreed with Sheilawisz about treading these kinds of threads with caution!

    That said, yes, actual sexual assault exists in The World. Anywhere those who have Fallen exist will naturally be dealing with sin of some kind and sexual abuses certainly fall under that category. I'll stick with rape as well. Reaction, as you might suspect in a "less-than-universally-enlightened" world ranges from myeh to outraged vengeance.

    The crime itself, for example, is ridiculously rare among the Daine. When it does happen, it's because the perpetrator has some kind of spiritual deformity or sickness. Very nasty. The reaction is generally swift, visceral and overwhelming. Daine don't get along well with law breakers in general and rape is one those things they really dislike.

    There being no prisons or courts among them, justice will generally come in the form of bodily retribution. The poor fellow will be lucky to limp away from the scene of his crimes with his life. The scars will be lasting, to say the least. You mention castration as a punishment. This would be a most ironic punishment indeed for a Daine. Due to the strange alchemies of magic and biology in The World, a castrated Daine male will, in the course of time, undergo what they call the "change". His body will eventually reform itself into a kind of ungendered or primordial female form.

    In the countries of Men, minor assaults such as groping may be considered legal offenses depending on the victim, or just part of the job. If you grope a lady of the gentry, well, you can be sure you'll wind up in front of an irate judge. As *here*, the justice system is not much of a real deterrent, but it truly is a system you don't want to deal with if you can avoid it! If you grope the girl in the caravansary, well, that's just part of her job description. On the other hand, girls are not brought up to be little snowflakes, withering away when some drunk bozo goes looking for the crack of doom. Even the girl in the lowest caravansary learns pretty quick to take care of business before things get too far. You know, a little rough play is good for business (and good for tips); but there is that fine line that everyone in such business learns to draw.

    The other kind of rape --- a la the Sabine Women --- also happens more broadly speaking, and across races. If some land needs more women or men for whatever reason, then it is seen as perfectly legitimate for folks to go steal some. In case the question arises, it is seen as terribly bad form to force oneself onto one's victim. The point is not to assuage sexual urges or go on some kind of mental power trip. The point is to shore up the population. You don't do that through needless violence.

    Among the Daine, it is common practice to keep the captives for a year during which time the captors will try and court their victims. If the courtships are successful, then the victorious population will rise, marriages will result and usually some form of gift-restitution will be offered to the other country; if the courtships are not successful, then the captives are released in friendship. No point in overly antagonising one's rivals.

    Among Men, the practice is a little more brutal. They don't seem to understand the social niceties of sabine rape all that well. Some will treat their captives relatively well, others will force them into marriages unwilling. Either way, it considered good form to offer some kind of spouse-fee to the losing side.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I've never had cause or desire to address sexual assault in my work, and I don't expect that to change.
     
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  5. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I'm with you, Devor. It's not something I want to read about or write about. Sexual assault is a serious matter, and I treat it as such. It should never be excused or downplayed.

    However, I have addressed it in worldbuilding for my two main cultures, the Yianlai and Vazkyrohk. The Yianlai are an extremely strict and judicial matriarchal society, and their punishment for sexual assault is execution. Not much room for negotiation. The Vazkyrohk value free will and the inherent worth of the individual person; to violate another person against their will is seen as the worst crime one could commit. As with other serious crimes such as murder, a Vazkyrohk who has committed sexual assault is first excommunicated from their religion, erasing all hope of reincarnation and eventual ascension to the gods' realm, and then exiled from Vazkyrohk holdings. All of their tattoos are erased with magic--tattoos are spiritually and culturally important to the Vazkyrohk--and a single red diamond is inked into the middle of their forehead to mark them as an exile. Of course, Vazkyrohk society's legal system takes second fiddle to its robust honor code, and rather than exile it's not uncommon for the victim or someone close to them to deal swift justice with a freshly sharpened sword.
     
  6. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Sex is a big part of life and the exploitation of it in various ways has always been around. Personally I find it very strange that many authors are willing to write about gruesome murder and even torture but faint the moment rape comes up. To me those things are all on the same level of awful and if I am willing to put one of them in a story than I am also willing to write about the others. That being said I have never written explicitly about rape (or torture and murder). Because I don't write grimdark or fetish stories I don't see any scenario in which writing extensively about this topic would benefit my worlds or story. Most of my more morally ambiguous worlds do allude to this crime however.

    My feudalistic post-apocalyptic world for example has some societies who are descended from convicted criminals and other less-favorable types. It is implied that the moral-systems, cultures and religions of these societies have grown in unique ways to justify the practice of them and their ancestors. One raider culture for example descended from an isolated 1%er Motorcycle club. They have grown to think of women as cattle for both moral and survival reasons and it can be assumed that they do various bad things to them. And yes they are also drugged-up cannibals. For obvious reasons these guys serve primarily as antagonists or blue-orange morality encounters.
    I am also working on a retro-futuristic mafia story. Some of the gangsters have committed rape crimes, but this is mainly to show that these are not good people. I have chosen not to delve too deep into the specifics.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    There are reasons for this relating to how the topic has historically been approached within the genre (and how that reflects on society at large over time). I don't feel a desire to utilize sexual violence as a plot point in my stories. That's not to say I think it should be considered out of bounds, but the topic should be approached thoughtfully. I have this issue in my current critique group, where the only conflict against any of the female characters is sexual violence or the thought of it, and it occurs repeatedly even in just the first few chapters of the work. In every instance, it is also used as a cheap motivation for the male character, or development of his story arc. I think that's a huge problem, and told the author if I picked up his novel off the shelf in its current state I'd throw it in the trash. He's working on revisions, so that's a positive. I don't think you can write this subject matter effectively without considering the context of larger society and the history of the genre you're writing in.
     
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  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    So, to each their own and all that. But everyone, I think, should at least understand this one difference:

    I, and a great many people, have friends who have been raped. That's not going to be the case for torture, for beheadings, and the like. It's not that rape is morally worse, it's that rape hits close to home.
     
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  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    There would be cultural differences in my world, which of course could lead to conflict. That said, rape would be mostly off camera, unless the crime is interrupted. I'm not keen on sex scenes, let alone rape. My general attitude is brutal, because if someone raped either of my girls, I'd have no moral qualms killing them. I'd sleep fine that night, unless I feared getting caught, heh heh. But, the world's attitudes would have cultural differences. A noble taking a peasant by force might not fit the legal definition of rape for that culture, that sort of thing. or it could, but be punished by a hefty fine... I'd keep all options for reality, while my personal thoughts would surely leak through, LOL. And in any case, vigilante tactics could come into play. But, I've no plans of really making rape a key element of any story.
     
  10. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    In fairness, I have been here for some while and I have not seen this conversation come up as yet. While I am sure it has in the past, as topics tend to repeat again and again, its new to me on this site. I think that is just the consequence of always gaining new members, and having other members drift off. For those that have seen it before, its just a chance to seem wiser when discussing it not for the first time anymore.

    If it does drift and has to be locked, then lock away. That is why we appreciate all you Mods :) Your always looking out for us.


    Anyway, rape is a fact of life. In my own stories, rape is a possible event for those living in an unfriendly world and all sorts of people and their moral ambiguities, particularly the female types. Its not a theme of the work to say something of any social significance about rape, but bad things can happen. At least one character has been raped, and it has changed them in significant ways. The changes of this character is one of the themes of the story, and the story is better off for it.

    As to how the society deals with rape, well... the story setting is one of very little actual governed ground, and while many characters identify with certain cultures, and would likely adopt mostly their attitudes, there is no sheriff who is going to come and arrest bad guys, so if rapes happen, they are either dealt with by those who care, or they go unaddressed. The dominate cultures are such that rape would be considered a crime, but its not really an issue of the story. While I am sure that some of the governing types occasionally have to deal with a legal matter about rape, such would not appear in the story (or at least not as yet).

    There are also arranged marriages in some of the cultures, so sex that may not be entirely between the willing must be somewhat accepted. Also not a major theme of the story.

    I like the world(/s) unfiltered, and I will confess, I don't share the same sensibilities of many of those I encounter on the internet (apparently), so rapes in stories don't phase me. I just ask the question of why is it here, and what does it really add to the story. If the answer is nothing, then I would choose leave it out.

    I would be pleased, if in writing the character who has been raped, that it was helpful to readers who had similar experiences, but I don't think I would be so presumptuous as to say that is their purpose in the story. People are different, and one persons difficulties and how they deal with them may not be that of another's, and so I just to try to write the character as I see them, and not how others might think they are supposed to be.
     
  11. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    That's something that I thought, about why rape is more taboo.
     
  12. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    What Sheila's referring to was a sudden burst of threads centered around sexual assault/rape that happened...maybe a year ago? I don't remember exactly when it occurred, but some commenters' rather cavalier attitude toward using sexual assault as a plot point upset others. Ultimately it led to stricter guidelines about such discussions here.
     
  13. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    I think rape, like any other form of assualt, comes in degrees. In one degree, victims may be subtly manipulated into sex, and the perpetrator is relatively "gentle" with the victim. In another degree, the perpetrator can hold a deadly weapon to the victim, the perpetrator may beat the victim until the victim is bruised and bleeding, the perpetrator may angrily shout at victim, calling names, insulting the victim, and so on. I personally think the latter is likely to be more traumatising.
     
  14. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    My world is dark - magic is illegal on pain of possible execution and elves and half elves are enslaved. Anyone caught or suspected of using magic in any form - be it spellcasting, adept (so enhancing physical or mental ability through magic) is fair game for the witch-hunters who run the land.

    Sexual assault is common, especially of elves - they have no rights under law. If a human wants something then the human takes it. Of course not all humans think that way and some are kind to elves and treat them decently but a lot don't. It's the same for the male elves too.

    My MFC escapes from her evil keeper - who has basically shared her 'services' around his friends, and is then attacked by witch-hunters. It's not all horrid though - she does meet nice people who care for her, and treat her well. And revenge is had.
     
  15. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Devor similarly I and a great many people knew people who have been murdered. I don't see why the specific form of murder should matter here. Murder and torture hits close to home for many as well, likely more people than you realize and yet noone seems to have any issue writing about that. Which I also don't think they should because it is simply a terrible thing that can happen in real life. Sorry for derailing the discussion but to be honest this slightly annoyed me. The difference that you mention here does not exist and is therefore not a good reason for the moral dichotomy that is prevalent in fiction conerning these crimes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  16. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    I hope this thread doesn't turn ugly.
     
  17. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'd not object at all if this thread got closed. The topic itself is dodgy at best, and it's already derailed.
     
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  18. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm sorry for your experience. It did occur to me that horrible crimes do really happen, and I chose not to elaborate because I wanted to keep my post simple.

    There was a very recent issue that happened with a Pampers ad that I'll use as the example for this dicussion:

    [​IMG]

    ^ Many people who watched this ad thought it was beautiful and heartwarming. It certainly hits those notes pretty hard. But Pampers had no choice but to pull the advertisement. It was causing mothers who had lost their premature babies to burst into tears and become afraid of watching their television out of fear of seeing this ad.

    There's a reason that shows and movies and video games have ratings. People are different. People have their baggage. People respond to different things, and it's not about age or maturity.

    But there is still a difference with rape. First, it's the numbers game. I know several people who have been raped, and more who are actively afraid of it, and probably many more who have just never mentioned it. I've known guys who fantasized and joked about rape. Unfortunately in many circles it's not a rare or occasional threat but a prominent one.

    But the other difference, people who are sensitive to blood and gore can tell they won't like a book very early into reading it. It's in the genre or the "action-packed prologue" or the book blurb or the reviews. It's part of the story's promise to the readers. It's easy to avoid.

    But rape is different. Something can be violent and bloody and action-packed and not involve sexual assault. It's not always clear from the outset that a story will have a rape scene two thirds of the way through. It's a separate type of violence - it's like it needs a separate rating.

    Again, I'm not telling you what to write, to avoid it or not. But I do think you should understand there's a very good reason so many people react so strongly and negatively to it. Many more people have real and prominent experiences with it, and yet many stories spring it on them for lousy reasons and without warning.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
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  19. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    :rolleyes2: I..... didn't even realize it had been locked. Sorry about that!

    Banten, you're welcome to PM a reply if you want to.
     
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