Rapefic

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: noncon
Related: dub-con, hurt/comfort, rape recovery, partner rape, torture
See Also:
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Contents

Rapefic refers to fanfic in which rape is a central element. The genre may include both stories in which rape is eroticized and stories in which rape is presented more realistically as a traumatic event.

If the story focuses on a hurt/comfort scenario in which one character cares for another who has been raped, it may be labeled rape recovery. Rape recovery stories are sometimes criticized as unrealistic, especially when the character's problems are solved by magical healing cock, or when, in partner rape stories, the raped partner forgives the other partner seemingly without a qualm.

Rapefic in fandom

"The best rape stories are those that, first and foremost, don't spend most of their time apologizing for what they are."[1]

For years, rapefic was somewhat stigmatized in fandom, despite the fact that many of the first K/S stories used pon farr to begin their relationship, often leading to a variant of rapefic where one partner doesn't want to hurt the other, but is driven to by his own alien metabolism (a close variant of Aliens Made Them Do It). Rapefic panels at conventions were not uncommon, and initially they tended to be somewhat apologetic. Sandy Herrold's Rapefic Rec site (later more tastefully renamed "Issues of Consent" recs)[2], and Amothea's Angst Archive in which rapefic has always been a major component)[3] were considered tasteless and controversial by some (and a great resource by others). In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of response fic was written to the Pros circuit story Consequences as many writers and their readers grappled with the concept of partner rape. By the early 2000s, however, writing and archiving fan stories that used rape as a major plot element had become uncontroversial.

Theorizing about this in the early '90s, Cynthia Jenkins said "...romantic slash is more tolerated because the fantasies are "acceptably feminine" whereas rape, hurt/comfort etc. are not. Looking at larger societal debates over pornography, the anti-porn movement, when they admit to positive sexuality at all, seems to want to distinguish between good sex (feminine sex that is relationship oriented, caring, tender, and based in mutual love) and bad sex (typified by the bulk of mainstream pornography, which is alienated, emotionless, sometimes not sweet and frequently does not occur within a secure relationship)."[4]

Tropes such as sex pollen, aliens made them do it, and fuck or die, while obviously dependent on obviating consent to some degree, typically escape the designation of rapefic.

Another issue with rapefic in fandom was inconsistent coding of rape stories as gen or slash. Some fans tended to argue that if the male character being raped was straight, that the story was gen. (i.e., if the BSOs in the story aren't together, and don't get together during the story, the story is gen.) Other fans argued that fan stories with male/male sex were slash, period, whether they were consensual, non-consensual, done by straight men, gay men, or alien men.

Some Fan Comments

  • "Rape is not glamorous, romantic or a viable way to begin a relationship. If you like rape stories, fine, I have no quibble with that. Just please don't try to convince me that it's Not All That Bad, really, with somebody you love; or that it's a crime of passion. That's bullshit. Rape is a power trip. It's an ugly act committed by people in pain." [5]
  • "Forgot about the other main difference between [other fans'] and my tastes in h/c: I do *not* usually enjoy rape stories. My preference is definitely for the "injured on the job" or illness scenario. For me, the sex in h/c should only occur during or after the comfort/recovery phase; I don't care to see the lads sexually abused and humiliated, nor do I find most "sexual healing" scenes believable. To each her own kink, though."[6]

References

  1. Charlotte Hill posting to the Virgule-L mailing list in 1994, quoted with permission.
  2. "Issues of Consent" recs
  3. The Angst Archive
  4. "Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking": Selections from The Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows Edited and introduced by Shoshanna Green, Cynthia Jenkins and Henry Jenkins, in the section, "YOUR PORN IS OK, MY PORN IS OK."
  5. from a fan in The Hatstand Express #13 (1986)
  6. Comment posted to the Virgule-L mailing list in 1993.
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