[DWJ] Re: (now with minor^Wmajor spoilers for Dark Lord of Derkholm)

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Sun May 7 15:37:40 EDT 2006

deborah.dwj at suberic.net wrote:

>If it was [3] ... well, that might have worked for me if it
>weren't a book from the perspective of several male characters
>(yes, men get raped, but this was a female character getting
>raped by men in a heteronormative and patriarchal stock fantasy
>setting) in which the rape was made not prominent.  In that
>perspective, it's more to me that the rape is not important to
>the worldview of Derkholm, not that it's not important to Shona.
>I agree that maybe if the fetishization of sexualization in our
>society weren't so ludicrous than rape per se might be no more
>heinous than any other crime with an equivalent level of damage
>and pain, but I hardly think Dark Lord, as framed, is the book
>best suited to counter the cross-cultural treatment of rape as an
>extra-violent type of assault.
>I see our difference, here.  You see my problems with the
>treatment of the attack on Shona as evidence that no sexual
>assault occured, since if it had occured, Blade and Shona would
>have reacted more strongly.  I see the sexual assault as clearly
>indicated by the text, so I find Blade's and Shona's reactions
>find disconcerting, since I see the rape itself as having clearly
I agree with this perspective, deborah. I actually read the scene as a 
sexual assault, more like the threat of a rape than actual rape, and the 
reaction to it always seemed a bit like "this is too inconvenient to 
deal with right now, so it just can't be a problem." I think it is 
significant that there aren't any other women around at the time 
(gryphons don't count). Later in the book, I think Shona's mother makes 
it clear that she realises Shona has been traumatised and the whole 
thing was badly dealt with.

I loathe the way that falling in love with the right man is so often 
used in fiction as a "cure" for rape. Robert Sawyer did it in his 
neanderthal book and it made me want to punch him.


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