Why On Earth Rape Fics Exist

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Title: Why On Earth Rape Fics Exist
Creator: Emmuzka
Date(s): November 11, 2002
Medium: online
Topic: Fan Fiction
External Links: Why On Earth Rape Fics Exist, Archived version
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Why On Earth Rape Fics Exist is an essay by Emmuzka.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


Rape fics exists. That is a fact. It may be that the web community feels obligated to look at them with a moral disgust, but here they are and they are read. Why? This is a really subjective matter and I can answer only for myself.

First, it's about angst. I love it. Overwhelming feelings, pain, confusion, sadness, etc. If angst is written good, you can have this physical pressure in your chest when reading. So it's not the act of violence where we get our "kicks", but the power game, matters of self-worthy and other problems that reader knows will follow after. The source of the pain is not as important as the psychological aftermath.

Second, you have to torture your characters to make the little things matter. In one of my favorite stories the victimized person grabbed a too big shirt from a laundry basket after a shower to cover himself, and it came a security blanket for him. In the end he is ready to return it to it's owner... That kind of things are great in the right context. Peter Brooks calls this "melodramatic imagination". It is a psychological strategy to overcome the material meaningfulness of everyday existence. In western society, everything is relatively well. Nothing dramatic happens in our lives, even if we would need it to let our emotions out once in a while. In melodramatic imagination, we consciously take on use the whole scale of emotions, from euphoric happiness to deep angst. Just because normal life's normal emotions just aren't enough. In other words, we can't have the comfort without the hurt.

Third, it's about fantasy. Surveys say that most of the women fantasize about rape. I don't know if this is true, because I don't, but I do read these m/m rape stories and enjoy them. Maybe I have moved my "natural" rape fantasy in different setting. A male/male setting? Most of men think a woman/woman-setting as truly erotic. (They have told me so.) A far less women see a male/male-setting erotic, but they also exist. It's also far more safer, psychologically, to remove women off altogether from the story. It's safer to make up stories that are really hard for females to relate to, at least at the first glance. A fantasy doesn't harm anyone. Blaming fiction for real life violence would be like believing those teens in prison claming that "Rock Music Made Me Do It."

Fourth, a novelist, I forgot who, once said that torturing your characters is only a sign of affection. (Ever read Joan D. Vinge's "Cat"-trilogy? A school book example of that!)

Fifth, some think it's a easy way to make "seriously dark" fiction. Some may even think that the act of rape is erotic in a pornographic sense. I don't think this way. If the fic is not-too-well-written, I skip the actual rape part, but only because it's nothing new to me. For the same reason I also skip some of the sex scenes in the fics meant for more general audiences.

Sixth, we fiction writers write them because we CAN. You can't read it from books (well, not many books) or American style comics, can't watch a decent movie about it. Japanese have their manga, for example "Street Guerillas" and "Banana Fish", but we western don't...