Brook screamed and held her hands in front of her, palms out, pleading, “No, no, no, please don’t do this. All I want is to leave. Please let me go. I'll keep my mouth shut, I swear! Please!” Jase grabbed her jacket and tore it from her shoulders. Her blouse quickly followed, ripped open and torn away like tissue paper from a gift. She dropped to the floor, arms crossed over her bra-covered breasts. Filled with dread, she pulled her knees to her chest and curled into a ball.
“You need help?” Pete asked Jase, excitement lacing his voice.
“Hell, no,” Jase said as Brook huddled on the floor, staring up at him through her hair. He slid his shirt up over his head, revealing a chest nearly devoid of hair. An intricate tattoo of a bizarre creature with a snake’s body attached to a woman’s head ran up from his right nipple around the back of his neck, ending on his left shoulder. “I got this licked.”
He reached down and yanked Brook roughly up by one arm, bruising the soft skin. Seizing a handful of her hair, he pulled her face forward and mashed his lips against hers, forcing his tongue deep into her mouth. Brook gagged and pounded on his chest. Reaching upwards, she tried to pry his hand from her hair.
From somewhere in the house came sounds of fury; things being thrown around, breaking glass, and thuds. Gina muttered expletives just loud enough to be heard.
Jase grinned at Pete, holding Brook easily with one hand. “It sounds like your old lady is having some fun, too. Hand me a blade.”
Brook’s eyes grew wide with terror, and she quickly lowered her hands to her side. “You don’t need to do that. Please.”
With a cold smile, Jase reached back and Pete laid a knife in his hand. Brook struggled to break free, but Jase tightened his grip on her hair and flipped the blade open. “Better hold still,” he sneered, “or I might slip.” Brook froze as he slid the cold metal beneath the front of her bra and sliced though the silky material. The knife did slip, leaving a thin red line below her breast. She cried out.
“Oops,” Jase said in a mocking tone. Then his mood darkened. “You ain’t hurt bad, bitch. I’ve had worse cuts shaving.” He closed the knife and tossed it back to Pete, who opened the blade and wiped it clean on his pants leg before returning it to his pocket. Brook followed the movement with her eyes, wishing she could get her hands on the knife. But she was defenseless.
Covering her breasts with her hands, she begged, “Stop! Please! Don’t do this.”
Jase released his grip on her hair and moved her hands out of the way. He grabbed her breasts and squeezed hard. “Ohh, yeah!” he said. “Ain’t these nice?”
“Damn right they are!” Pete boomed. He and Benny watched Jase’s moves, their eyes burning with a strange light. Jase lowered his head, and buried his face between her breasts while Benny whooped his appreciation in the background.
Nothing in Brook’s life had prepared her for what was happening. She felt the intrusion of his skin against hers, smelled the patchouli he wore, and felt revulsion crawling inside her like worms. She reacted without thinking of the consequences; she hit, slapped and pushed on his head. Shoving her hands roughly aside, Jase pressed her down onto the mattress, falling on top of her. “Give me back those tits,” he leered and lowered his mouth to her chest.
Lapping at the knife wound, Jase smacked and slurped. “Yummy! Nothing like fresh blood.” With a grin, he stuck out his tongue, revealing the slick red coating. He bugged his eyes at her and laughed satanically.
by PJ Hawkinson
After the cherished words comes the wedding planning. However, it seems to me that weddings are trending to competitive instead of romantic. Too garish, showy, and kitschy, instead of elegant, classy, and refined.
The ultra-wealthy have begun to make a mockery of sharing marriage vows. It has became a contest of who can invite more people, have better entertainment, and spend the most on their wedding gown.
Weddings should be intimate affairs to celebrate the next stage of your life. Family, loved ones and close friends should fill the seats and share the moment with the couple.
I say, let’s bring weddings back to their true form and forget the glitter, glamor, and glitz. Let’s lose all the excess and let the loving spirit of the ceremony shine through.
Every survivor of rape experiences the trauma in her (or his) own unique way. Some common after-effects include fear, anger, guilt, shame, loss of trust, anxiety, insomnia, and even denial. Because of the element of shame associated with rape, many victims are reluctant to report the crime and /or seek the help they need.
Like child molestation, rape is an abhorrent and aberrant behavior, one that people are expected to realize is wrong without being told. They are expected to glean this from social cues as they grow from children to adults. As mature humans, they should ideally have no inclinations toward sexual abuse, or at the very least, perceive that such urges are considered deviant and are criminal. Perhaps this is expecting too much of some small minds. Perhaps it needs to be stated directly and without flinching that forcing sex on anyone against that person's will is worse than just a bad idea; it's deeply and unequivocally wrong. Would having this fact ingrained from an early age stop a perpetrator? Probably not. I suspect many rapists commit their first offense before the societal clue gets through their brains. It certainly couldn't hurt to add this information to any sex education program. Rape is wrong.
Stupidity is no excuse for rape. Ignorance of laws, societal mores, and moral standards is no excuse either. But you have to wonder how many people were ever told not to do it. Although experts claim rape is not about sexual gratification, but about power and control, a rape survivor might have difficulty accepting that. Victims can be rendered powerless or humiliated without sexual contact. While I will concede to the experts on that point, it's pretty damn hard to distance the intrusive sexual element from the crime and see it as strictly a domination/control offense. Rapists are much more than mere bullies who never learned to keep their hands to themselves. That they have chosen to exert their sadistic control via a sexual attack is significant.
When researching the subject of rape for our novel, Betrayed, we encountered sad statistics and shocking first-hand accounts. If this influenced our decision to grant the perpetrators in our tale less than well-rounded personalities, then so be it. They were undeserving of such, and frankly, we didn't care to give them that much respect. It's possible we will be criticized for this, but we shrug our shoulders. If someone else wants to portray rapists as misunderstood and maligned characters with full and complex personalities, then that's their business. They can pound away at their keyboards to their hearts' content. Maybe the future will change our minds; maybe we will be interested in that challenge someday. But not now.
We also learned that survivors have to take the time to heal and need the space to experience their anger and rage, feelings to which they have every right. Each individual that has endured rape must heal in her (or his) own way. Help is available. There are many excellent websites, hot-lines, books, articles, therapists, and groups ready and willing to step up and assist a survivor. For these caring resources, we say thank you.
Sexual violence is only part of the story in Betrayed. Survival and recovery have important places in the tale, as does love. Our character emerges on the other side of her devastating experience a different person. Though it does not happen overnight, she is able to overcome.
A partial list of resources:
We knew pretty much everything about our character, Brook, before we ever set words to a page. She was a lot like us, or people we've known. She was the pretty girl we went to high school with, the nice one that had a smile for everybody. Brook was born and raised not far from where we live. We liked her. She was a Kansas girl. But before the readers even got the chance to know and appreciate her quiet strength, her kind nature, or her particular circumstances, we started being very mean to her. Right from the start of the novel, Betrayed, we put her into a dangerous situation with horrific consequences. The question is; isn't it hard to hurt a character you like? And the answer is yes. Sometimes it is hard.
There were points along the way when one of us would say to the other, "Oh, that's really bad. We have to pull back on that." And we did. Our manuscript underwent massive changes along the way. Brook was not hurt as badly by the final draft as she had been in the beginning. Still, she was grossly mistreated. We like to think we made it up to her later; but were she real, she would probably not agree.
Many times an author treats a character in unbelievably cruel ways, puts him or her into nightmare situations. It's part of the story. When writers grow fond of their characters, this can present a dilemma. To stick with the storyline, sometimes we must harm our favorite imaginary people. While we can blame the abusers in the book for Brook's suffering, we realize if we are honest with ourselves, that it's really all our fault. The abusers did what we told them to do, the pigs. But they're bad guys, and bad guys are…well, bad.
We are not comparing our writing to that of Tolkien, but imagine if he had caved to sympathy for Frodo. It wouldn't have been the same story. Frodo might have tossed the ring aside, said no to an extended jaunt through dangerous lands, and simply remained at Bag End eating crumpets and drinking tea. It would hardly have filled one book, let alone three. And no movie would have come of it. We can all be thankful the author did not take it easy on Frodo.
So, Brook and many other characters in other books have had to endure great hardship. Not only that, but their torment has come at the very hands of those who care about them the most, the authors. To writers everywhere who know what this feels like, remember not to love your characters so much that you can't hurt them. And if you have to hurt them, try to give them something back in return. It helps.