Writing Rape/Sexual Assault Part 1: Accuracy

Many of us have been victimized or affected by rape of sexual assault in some way, especially here in the US, where 1 in 5 women are likely to get raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. This is a subject closer to me than ever, since a friend of mine went through a brutal, violent rape just last month.

A lot of people want to evoke feeling and powerful scenes in their stories. I get that. Many that I’ve seen (and I was guilty of this myself when I wrote my story Misconception at 18) have done this by including a rape scene and having their character refer back to their past pain time and time again.

Here is a list of things I’ve seen in multiple stories vs. real life statistics. Truth be told, I was guilty of two of these when I was 18.

1. The perpetrator

On Wattpad: usually a college guy at a party or a random creep on the street.

Real fact: 51% of women are raped by an intimate partner, 41% by a friend or auaintence

2. Location

On Wattpad: happens at a party, a remote park, a back alley, or right on the street

Real Fact: the party fact is correct, but many victims are raped/assaulted in their own home or a friend’s home

3. Conviction

On Wattpad: the guy is usually found and convicted, is spending years in jail

Real Fact: Many victims (68%) do not even report their crimes, and even when they do, a measly 1% end in an actual conviction. These jail sentences are actually very short, many ranging from only 30 days to a little over a year.

4. Pregnancy

On Wattpad: almost 100% of the time, the victim is suddenly pregnant and wants to keep the child.

Real Fact: Many victims do not end up pregnant, statistics say only 3-5% of rapes end up in pregnancy. 50% of that small percent choses to have an abortion.

Again, research is super important. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how not knowing these facts can lead to offensive content in your story.

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