I suspect I had a similar experience to some of you, that went (for me) like so:
I’m sure this picture will be relevant again, although it may alter in the stunning way of “Reads from feed”. There’s just that much variety in these scenarios. I’ve mentioned the up-surge of rape-as-romances, and I’ve posted about the rape-as-romance phenomenon before. But I just wanted to say what I think the response should be when someone goes into the middle of a room that’s a bit messy, and takes a huge stinky dump, to share it all with us. For those of you that read here – I know you all pretty much think for yourselves, so I don’t intend to be the definitive word on this – just the perspective of what happens every single time this scenario comes up – the commonalities as it were.
My overall tactic is not to take it to the writer – via PM or reviews – my tactic is to immediately get my hands off that trainwreck and never consider reviewing that person again, and I’ll explain why with my FAQ, and save myself the PMs because I’ve been asked a couple of times now.
Do you think they care that there’s AdultFanfiction.Net and other appropriate places to share with the world?
No. They’re doing this so that they’ll get attention. If they were interested in putting it up somewhere else where there are appropriate warnings, tags, and sections, they might get ignored. SVM has a captive audience of ESN hounds who will accept anything with the names “Eric” and “Sookie” attached.
Do you think they care if they trigger rape victims with face full of surprise rape?
No. They don’t care. They’d rather have the attention they want – that’s the point.
Do you think they know what it is they’re writing?
Meh. I think a part of them knows it’s going to hurt some people, and upset some people, but they see themselves as ~*edgy*~ and don’t care. If they won’t say it’s rape in their summaries, you’re not going to get them to understand or admit that it is rape, and perhaps rape victims would like a warning before face full of surprise rape. I tried on a forum once to persuade one to warn for it, if it’s not shameful, and had absolutely zero luck, because it eats into their potential reviews and people might be told explicitly out loud what they like, rather than have to figure it out by the pricking of their thumbs.
Do you think the reviewers know what it is they’re reading?
Sometimes. But some people have pretty bad sex education in general. For example, I have read in a review that gonorrhoea was a STD only men could contract – and the mind boggled over that one. Another common one is a writer being worried about disease, and using a condom, only to have Sookie get a mouth full of cum – which is of course, unsafe practice if you’re worried about disease. There’s a portion of the population nowadays that educates themselves on internet porn, and that’s really bad for sex education in general. They’ve barely got a grasp on the basics, let alone explaining rape to them. It’s an uphill battle. I’ve even seen Sookie condemned for “raping” Eric in True Blood because she refused to be with him in a romantic relationship, and therefore that somehow removes his enthusiastic willingness at the time, making every woman who divorces some guy a retroactive rapist. Eric in these rape-as-romance fics usually is somehow explained as having psychic consent – because he’s always known Sookie is gagging for it, even though she says “No” out loud – but he knows, cause he’s the telepath….right? Explaining to them power dynamics and coercion or how forceable abduction and threat is not the same as dating is a lost fucking cause.
But there’s positive reviews from rape victims?
There’s positive reviews on everything in this fandom – absolutely everything. Not all rape victims are as one. Research about what rapists think is not available to the general public for the most part, so you get cobbled together stuff. Fanfic is not a psychological study of anything but fanfic writers, and for the good ones, understanding of their fellow humans. It should not be substituted for actual study. As someone who’s read numerous accounts of rape from victims and offenders, I can tell you, there’s nothing but surface junk there. No mention of whether they’re a power rapist or an anger rapist, and the various subsections – no actual profiling – take it from someone who does profiling work on a regular basis.
Do you think they’ll be reading here and missing the point?
On rare occasion, yes. I can tell you, I flat out don’t endorse ANY fic that has used the phrase “Dark Eric” – that Eric is a rapist, and he should be called such. Mostly though, those sorts of readers don’t come here, because I don’t give anyone anything to stick their hand down their pants over. That’s the beginning and the end of their involvement in reading. I rarely get the old “That’s hot” as a reply to my posts, unless it’s elbly, pissing me off. 😀
Do you think you could help them?
I would be ready, willing and able to help any writer, but writers of rape-as-romance. As far as I’m concerned, every writer has a potential to get better, so I read a lot, and hold onto hope that skills will pick up. Once someone writes a rape-as-romance, I don’t bother to hope – it just died, right on the page. When a writer writes one of these, and doesn’t warn, there’s officially too much work to get it up to spec because they don’t have respect for their subject, or understanding of what it is. I’d spend six months or more trying to persuade them that they’re actually writing rape – they always think that it’s all those other fics I’d be talking about – other fics that have to put up warnings. I occasionally look in on a chapter for the trainwreck effect (horrifying but one can’t look away). Mostly I just look at the reviews when I get face full of surprise rape because the sociologist in me gathers a fuller picture of people who read this stuff – because I see them review elsewhere.
Now, I understand that a rape victim who gets a surprise face full of rape might actually have a bad reaction, and may be coherent enough to leave a RAEG review for the author. And I don’t judge anyone if they don’t do the same as me, and just let the brain trust alone. I understand too that people take it personally when they get a face full of surprise rape and report it to Fanfic.net – I’ve spoken to people who have reported in the past. No judgement there, even though I don’t do the same.
But what I’ve observed from seeing rape fics come and go – including one that was driven off Fanfic.net – you will never get them to admit it. If they knew what they were doing, or cared what they were doing, they’d have warned for it. If you could convince them, there’d be no problem and they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. The reviewers are mostly clueless, and talk of Dark Eric (really über Bill) instead of rape, and the writer never tells them different.
Whenever there is protest on the newest how-low-can-you-go fic, the pattern is that all that ends up happening is drawing attention to said fic – reviews mount up in numbers, and then the hounds are onto it. If it has so many reviews, ergo, it must be good sex. And then all the other delusional rape-as-romance writers pile on in to support this person in sticking it to the man (the man in this case being readers who got a face full of surprise rape and didn’t like it). It happens that way all of the time – protest reviews just bring it out of the woodwork, and before you know it, it looks like a really popular fic, even if there is a whole heap of hatred and rage in the reviews, which draws more readers. And said rape writer loves the shit out of themselves for all this internet drama, and how hard they fight for their right to traumatise the shit out of random people I mean, have the freedom to write what they like.
My recommendation is this – if there’s already a protest review, leave it alone. The fic will get the readers they want, and they’ll all say how “hot” it is. You won’t convince them, or the writer. You’re officially wasting your time there. Either report it, or let it alone. Let it have all the ESN hounds who’ll talk about how hot it is – that’s the readers they deserve anyway. You can’t really analyse something that will point out the whole architecture is built on lies, so you’ll never get in depth analysis. Concentrate instead on reviewing writers who don’t write rape-as-romance, or support fics where rape is dealt with right. Fics where when Sookie says “No”, Eric actually listens. Warn everyone you talk to that said fic is a rape fic, and to pass it around. If writers won’t warn, then warn others yourself. Waiting on the writer to do it is whistling Dixie.
And talk about it in the rest of the fandom, like here and here and here and here. You’re less likely to get the mouthbreather response if you don’t try to engage with mouthbreathers, but discuss it with women that will get it – rather than just those writers or reviewers. Be as honest as you like outside of reviews, and then you don’t give the rape-as-romance writer the belt they get from being ~*edgy*~. You can also tell them that if they don’t like what they read, to read something else. The common response to protest reviews is scolding A/Ns and reviewer dogpile anyway. “How dare you protest face full of surprise rape, you fool? Get yourself a time machine and undo reading it! Smut always means rape!”
In fact, that’ll make it clear to people in the fandom that you think it’s a serious problem that women are writing not PWP for rape fantasies, but rather “romance” stories that are born of rape. Not only that, but I’ve had at least ten people googling for rape fanfic and end up with a face full of my posts about rape-as-romance (because rape writers refuse to tag it as rape so they only find me). Which tickles me pink – and quite the appropriate treatment because the rape-as-romance writers won’t put trigger warnings on their fics, I get their traffic – and I’m sure others do too. Don’t link to those fics (that helps them with google), talk about them in couched terms, and they’ll go into their quiet little corner of the internet along with all the other questionable content out there. Spend your time on things that will not be a frustrating time waster, let people who won’t go near rape-as-romance know that you support them, you are outraged. That’s better than taking it to someone who doesn’t give a damn.