Rape in Romance. It’s still rape.

January 9, 2015

It has been at least two weeks since I’ve read any romance genre books. Too long. So I thought I would dive back in with a short erotica novella. The teaser for the one I chose looked good, and $0.99 is always the right price for me so I downloaded one from an author I had not heard of.  

It made me cry. Not because the writing was good and moving in any way. Not because the author set a sad scene (intentionally). No one died, and I can’t say that any of the characters would tell you any tragic events happened (which is, essentially, the issue here). I cried because the book being passed off as erotica, a genre I write, read, and love, is really a rape scene.

To give you some gauge of my sensitivity in general, I can count on one hand the number of times I cried, actually physically shed tears, last year. I am, unfortunately, a distant, if not cold person. I can let things just roll of with the best of them, usually.

So here is how it goes down. A girl gives a guy a BJ. That is over, and it looks as though they’re going to go their separate ways when another guy, a stranger she doesn’t know (to be fair she doesn’t really know the first guy either but their encounter was prearranged), so a guy she doesn’t know, doesn’t know is there, doesn’t know is watching, comes from some unseen place and slams into her, pinning her to a wall.  She is dazed and confused when he then forcefully kisses her and shoves his fingers inside of her via the easy access of her dress.

The author writes it out that the girl is still so lust drunk on her encounter with the first guy – who is still standing there chatting it up with his buddy that is forcing himself on the girl- and now coupled with how fast everything is progressing, that although the girl wants to struggle, everything is too hazy and heavy. Does this sound like a rape scene to you yet?

Okay so at some point she starts to like it, even want it in some confused way. (I could freak the fuck out right at this moment, but I’ll wait a second.) So the guy stops forcibly penetrating her with his fingers and tells her he wants her consent to now letting him actually fuck her. Before she answers he starts with the fingers again. She is still pinned between him and the wall and his douche-bag buddy is still looming too. He also proceeds to bite her.

He asks again for consent to fuck her and she notes, mentally, that she should point out that more or less he is already fucking her (without that consent). (Could also freak the fuck out here but…) So obviously she says sure. They fuck, douche-bag watches and then they ask her to go back to their hotel….. I honestly quit reading not long after this, but not before the author makes one small attempt at curtailing the rape opener.

The girl asks the one guy that raped her (‘cause that is what it was) if she had said no when he eventually asked for consent (after he had already vaginally penetrated her) would he have stopped. Of course the dude says that he would have stopped and even says that he goes to extremes to get what he wants but he isn’t a rapist. I might have just vomited in my mouth.

So am I supposed to think “Oh, well since he would have stopped, you know, eventually, because he had already started, then it’s okay”? With that attempt to lighten the blow of rape, I would assume the rest of this novella is a few kinky sex scenes and the end. Don’t know. Don’t care. Not reading the rest.

I was, at the point where the author is attempting to curtail rape, still crying. She can have her main character think non-rape-ish, confused, maybe I want this, internal thoughts. She can tell you that it is erotic. There doesn’t have to be crying and screaming from the girl. Those of us that know better, those of us that have a healthy fear of men (if any fear of men can be called healthy) will never see scenes like that as anything other than what they are, rape. It will hurt for us to read them and hurt even more that someone, a woman especially, is trying to pass it off as being acceptable.

For those that don’t know better, the author is painting a horrifically misleading picture about what rape is.

As to what she is saying to men, well, this is what I see. This opening say that it is okay to physically trap a woman, penetrate her in some way, work at her for a bit and if you’re good enough at it she’ll like it and let you continue. Great fucking message. There is also a small bit in there about her being wet so must be turned on. NO. It is a biological reaction, not a fucking invitation.

I cannot, and will not try to articulate to you how far off base this author is about what goes on in a woman’s head when someone who is physically superior to her, traps her, and enters her body with anything: fingers, dick, foreign object, doesn’t fucking matter. *It doesn’t have to be his dick. And to say or portray that it wasn’t rape because he only enters her with his hands and not his dick right away, is wrong. Colossally wrong.

I have read other books that contain rape scenes. I have even liked books with these scenes, not liked the scene themselves, or the fact that it was a part of the book, but liked the book as a whole work. It is an understatement to say that it is unfortunate that rape is part of, or has been a part of life for some people. As all parts of life do, it has its place in literature. My issue with this novella in particular is the authors attempt to pass off the act of rape as something else, as something acceptable.  

Because I don’t really want to sit here on this train of thought all night, I’ll wrap this up by saying that if you ever write a sex scene, and you intend it to be anything other than rape, you need to have this order of operations down pat. 1) Consent, clear consent. 2) Everything else second.

May B.B.  (The, disappointed in her own genre sometimes, Writer)

*I am not implying that you must be, or that rape only happens when one person is physically superior to another. It’s just how it went down in that case.

As always, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook or shoot me an email via the contact page on this site. I love to hear from you.

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