Over at Seanan McGuire's LJ, she's posted a rant about something that leaves me gobsmacked. Apparently a "fan" asked her -- in so many words -- when one of her protagonists was "finally going to be raped".
"Finally going to be".
As though... it's inevitable! It must happen!
The person CONFIRMED this point of view when Seanan said that she NEVER intended to have any of these protagonists raped and the person said, and I quote: "I thought you had respect for your work. That's just unrealistic."
My brain CANNOT GET AROUND THIS. I just can't UNDERSTAND how that's a possible viewpoint. I mean, you're talking about protagonists in supernatural adventures -- most of them with superhuman powers, at the least super-competent and QUITE able to defend themselves. Yet, somehow, to this person (and one must presume, others) it seems only REALISTIC that eventually they MUST "finally" get raped.
This is apparently not as rare a belief as I would have thought it should be (i.e., only in the sick minds of a few people mostly confined to mental institutions), given that James Nicoll reports that roughly ONE THIRD of all the books that pass through his hands include AT LEAST ONE rape sequence.
Okay, for the record. I have never yet written a rape scene; none of my forthcoming books have any such scenes in them. Looking over all the books I reasonably foresee myself writing, I know of one (1) point at which there will be an ATTEMPTED rape. It will not succeed, and it will not be some means of "developing" the character in question or of breaking her or anything of the sort.
EDIT TO ADD: Within the books I *have* written, there is one character (Madeline Fathom) whose backstory includes clear abuse which, had she not been rescued in time, would have culminated in rape; Kyri Vantage in Phoenix Rising is also placed in a position where it is clear that this WOULD happen if certain events did not occur, but they do and the person in question pays the price for even attempting it.
I do NOT believe that rape is some kind of inevitable event. I don't think it's "realistic", especially in the context of competent and powerful protagonists (yeah, you just go ahead and TRY raping Madeline Fathom, Ariane Austin, or, gods help you, Kyri Vantage [okay, someone does, and the gods don't help him]). I don't think it's edgy or literary or inventive. All of that's been DONE. When the damn *comic books* have gotten to the point that they do this, it's not edgy, just disgustingly sad.
My characters are heroes. I put them through the wringer so they can kick the wringer to pieces and use the pieces to build a superweapon to bring down the entire wringer factory. But rape isn't a necessary gear in my wringer, and I see nothing that it brings to the table as an event that makes it necessary to be used. I don't need it; I've got a billion other ways to abuse my characters!