Has this cliched 'epic fantasy rape' already been done to death?
I would not be comfortable reading this. I wasn't very comfortable even reading your post, to be honest.
You might want to consider your audience, too. I think the current statistics are something like 1 in 4 women have been raped, 1 in 6 men. That's a lot of people who could be turned off by this scene. As a granddaughter, daughter, niece, and aunt of women who have been raped and having been a victim myself, it's not something I would want to read. I get to a scene like that and I stop reading. The book goes into the garbage. How is your target audience going to react if you put that scene in?
Those are valid concerns and that's a valid question, and I can think of a handful of different ways I could have shown what was meant by that without including graphic details.I'm not entirely sure how much of this information she's likely to reveal, and I'm equally unsure how much I should reveal to the reader. At what point are we supposed to draw the line?
If so, maybe the reason is that that's the sort of thing which is likely to go on, especially when the land is plagued by bandits. Hell, it happens often today in our enlightened 21st century.
An observer may therefore venture to suggest that sexual victimisation of men in conflict situations approaches that of sexual victimisation of women in the very same situations. In reality. But not, for some reason, in male-authored epic fantasy. What statistics we have on the (severely underfunded and under-reported) prevalence of male rape in conflict zones today, suggest that in epic fantasy every in-conflict-zone deployment of sexual threat against women should be almost matched by sexual threat against men.
Well, after having a good sleep here in GMT+1, taking the dog out, putting a load in the washer, etc., I log back online to discover my post has stirred up a hornet's nest. That was not my intention, and I apologise for the fact that the majority of you found my post too graphic.
I respect most of the responses here, I even agree with them. I'll address a couple of points I don't agree with later.
Let me make things a little clearer:
1. It was never my intention to write this scene as it happened, only to draw from it through dialogue that occurs a year after the events.
2. As mentioned, it's been a year since it occurred. The MC's friend to whom it happened (avoiding using the 'v' word) has moved on. She's left the free-sword life behind her and is now the captain of a cargo vessel, known and respected by many. She has tried separating her past from her present, but then the MC turns up and, like me with this thread, ends up saying the wrong thing and sticking his foot in it, the response to which is a burst of dialogue from his friend about what happened to her.
Now, to respond to a couple of posts. Firstly, the only comment I took personally was this one by Amadan:
Are you trying to suggest something about me as a person here?
More than one of you also said that what I wrote sounds like torture porn. That of course is your belief, which you're entitled to. My aim is to capture the gritty realism of what would be said about what did happen, not to dwell on every tiny aspect. This is all bursting out of the character's mouth because she's kept it in for so long.
You know, I could have just posted the scene in SF/Fantasy SYW instead of here, but I don't want to waste time polishing something that may not be used. I realise the rape theme is going to touch a nerve with many people, yet so many of you were quick to suggest it would be okay if I reversed it and made my male MC the one to whom it happened. I'm not averse to that, but it isn't what happened to these particular characters.
To those of you who didn't try and insinuate something about me on a personal level, thank you for the input here. I appreciate it. As a result I'll modify the dialogue so that my MC's friend doesn't feel the need to burst forth with a venomous diatribe describing her ordeal to make the MC feel awful. I may have to re-work the back story to change the rape into something else that would make her leave him in the middle of the night several days after he rescued her.