The Rape Scene

Remember when I had that epiphany about having to write the hardest scene in the book before I could move on and understand the character I’m working with?

Well, I’ve done it.  Finally.

It took me a while.  I put it off out of fear at first, and then I finally had to give myself that “no more excuses” pep talk.  I realized my options were 1) write it, or 2) keep thinking about writing it.

After it was over, I sighed with relief.  Then I went back and read it, and I noticed something.  It seems I hovered just outside the scene, writing it as someone looking in on the action, but not really existing in it.

It was essentially emotionless.  I’d been too careful, tried too hard to get the mechanics right, to treat the situation with the care it deserves.

So I revised.  This time, my body tensed up as I wrote the scene, as the main character is held down against her will.  As she tries to push him off her.  I found it hard to breathe at times.  And right now, as I write these very words, I’m still tense.

I’m holding my breath.

Because – here’s the big reason this is so hard – I’ve been in this situation myself.  Most women I speak to have found themselves in similar circumstances.  Most were able to fight their way out of it, as my character does.  I was not.  I tried, but he was stronger than I was and I’d had too much to drink.

It happened in the comfort of my own home.  My parents were out of town.  I was having a party.  He came with some friends.  I don’t think I talked to him once that night.  I don’t even remember his name.  Here’s something I do remember:  he was several years older than me.  And he was a cop.  For some reason, that is the part that bothers me most.

When I decided I’d had enough of the party, I went to sleep in my parents’ bedroom, which was off limits – and everyone at the party knew that.  I woke up and he was on top of me.  I remember the struggle, and I remember a friend coming into the room and pulling him off me.

It all happened so quickly, it was hard to process.  And, in my inebriated state, I didn’t really deal with the situation emotionally.  But when I woke up the next day, I was awash in fear and anger.  And looking back on it now, I still feel those emotions.

Let me be clear, here: he didn’t actually get what he wanted.  My friend intervened in time.  And perhaps that’s why I haven’t allowed myself to feel the way I felt writing this scene.  But the emotional damage is clearly there, despite the lack of “success” in his endeavor.

I didn’t intend to write this into the blog.  But if I’m going to expose my character’s experience to the world, perhaps I have to expose my own.  Maybe now I can move on.  Maybe the hold this scene has had on me is released.  Maybe this is the beginning of busting through that wall, for both me and my character.

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  1. I’m so sorry to hear about what you had to go through. I’m thankful every day that I’ve never been in such a situation (and, hopefully, will never be). I sincerely hope this does help you move on. And congratulations on finally writing the scene! I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to write it, but it must feel better now that you’ve gotten it down on paper, right?

    • Kim

       /  January 10, 2013

      Sometimes writing is like a therapy session; the blank page can be a great shrink. And it’s cheaper! 😉 Thanks for the words Michelle. It was hard, but clearly it needed to be written. And I feel stronger because of it. (Maybe not strong enough to fight off azure-loving aliens, but we can’t all be Eris.)

      • Oh, I’m fairly confident you could fight off the azure-loving aliens if you had to. They look ferocious, but their lack of common sense tends to give intelligent opponents the upper hand.


     /  January 10, 2013

    I am so sorry I did not know about this, I wish I would have been able to be there for you at the time. Even though he did not accomplish the act it was still wrong to assault you. I am proud however that it did not stop you from accomplishing your goals and stop you from getting out in the world and not be scared. I know someone who was who was actually raped and although I cannot tell you who it is because I promised and was only told about 5 yrs ago, quite some time after it happened, she has carried the hurt inside a long time. You know you can tell me anything, I know I get emotional, but I can handle it. Love, Mom

    • Kim

       /  January 11, 2013

      Oh. Hi Mom. I didn’t realize you read this blog, or I would have warned you about this post. Don’t worry about me; I’m fine. I’m just processing. And that’s a good thing. Love you!

  3. What a dreadful experience, I’m so sorry you had to go through this.

    • Thank you for the words Danny. However, I’ve read the first part of your book, and I have to say – being held at gunpoint by Chinese soldiers seems a bit more frightening than fighting off the advances of a drunken American cop.

      • I see what you mean. Then again the Chinese lads didn’t want to have their wicked way with me, now that would have been scary. Or maybe they did want to, I could be a pin-up for the entire Peoples Liberation Army!

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