→ A GUIDE TO SEXUAL & PHYSICAL ABUSE.
Sexual and physical abuse is something that happens quite often, but most go about their daily lives never knowing that their best friend or family member could be a victim of such abuse. It can happen to anyone – abuse is not selective towards one specific type of person. It is important to know what is considered sexual and physical abuse, as well as how often it happens.
At the end of the guide, I have also included how to portray a character who is or has been abused in any way. Please remember that though I will be doing a generalization of how to portray this certain type of character, you need to know that everyone reacts and deals with abuse differently. As someone who has been raped and physically abused, I wanted to share my knowledge and my experience.
Trigger Warnings: Talk of Sexual, Physical & Emotional abuse.
I was asked to make a rebloggable version.
1. Be bold, vicious and detailed.
There are different kinds of abuse and they are all damaging to a person. In our current social climate it seems to me that authors and readers have no idea what an abusive relationship is. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen are in an abusive relationship. Travis Maddox and Abby from Beautiful Disaster are in an abusive relationship. Braden and Joss from “On Dublin Street” are not quite there, but they are straddling the line. Christian Grey from “Fifty Shades of Grey” is probably the most terrifyingly controlling man in any book I have ever read and it has nothing to do with the fact that he is into the BDSM lifestyle.
If you are going to write an abusive relationship you have to be aware that abuse has been glamorized and glossed over. Extreme jealousy is now seen as romantic, because “he’s so afraid of losing me.” If a guy isn’t insanely passionate, breaking down doors and watching the heroine sleep then “he doesn’t care enough.” If the guy is trying to isolate the heroine, have control of the way she dresses or where she goes it’s because “he doesn’t want to share me.”
It is scary as hell out there and if you are going to write this kind of relationship you have to go for it 100%. You can not dilute or gloss over how horrible it is. You have to make it very clear that this is not romantic, it is not sweet, it is abusive and this kind of guy may love you forever, but he will probably also destroy you in the mean time
Everyone is different. Every relationship is different, which means that every abusive relationship is also different. Do research. When I was in film school I wrote a short film about a woman who runs from an abusive relationship. I did hours of research on the web. Do you know that survivors of domestic abuse run blogs and websites? These incredible women put all their emotions on the web in the hopes that women who are living through it will read it and be inspired to leave. It is amazing. These stories will break your heart, they will piss you off, frighten you and fill you with conviction. There were nights where I wanted to grab a baseball bat and just go after these husbands. The point is that I found two stories that touched me so deeply, I wrote for hours.
If you have never been in this kind of relationship you have NO IDEA what it’s like. You have no idea, so don’t for a second think that you can come up with these emotions from scratch. If you want to delve deep into the brain of the victim, of the person who sleeps beside their abuser every night, then you have to find their thoughts. You still wont really know what it’s like, but this will give you a better starting point then your preconceived notions of what it means to be abused.
No one ship is exactly the same. Each couple tends to come with their own quirks, their own traditions, their own struggles.
I’ve recently dug up an interesting article that categorizes relationships into 10 different kinds.
- Survival relationships
- Validation relationships
- Scripted relationships
- Acceptance relationships
- Individuation-Assertion relationships
- Healing relationships
- Experimental relationships
- Transitional relationships
- Avoidance relationships
- Pastime relationships
If you’re interested in using these to help you roleplay a relationship that seems in at least some way, realistic, continue reading.
- This is made up of people who don’t feel as if they can survive on their own.
- They feel as if they have to have someone be anything. In some cases it may literally be a case of survival.
- Think someone who provides shelter, food, job, money etc. It’s important to note that these two are codependent.
- The relationship is often hostile and sometimes abusive.
- Feelings of insecurity tend to run rampant!
- People in these relationships are those who seek validation of their physical attractiveness, intellect, social status, sexuality, wealth, or some other attribute.
- Teenagers and young adults who are looking for a sense of identity form relationships based on sexual validation.
- The relationship tends to be a little insecure and need constant validation.
- “Do you really love me?”
- Seems to be the most perfect of relationships and everyone around them sees it as a great relationship.
- The partners are the most perfect boyfriend or the most perfect girlfriend.
- There are often power struggles in this type of relationship.
- Sexual attraction or involvement if often lacking.
- The partners are often stuck in routines.
- A trusting, supporting and enjoyable relationship.
- A very healthy and happy relationship.
- Both individuals know what the others wants and needs are.
- Respect is a key factor in this relationship.
- Partners are supportive of others aspirations and dreams
- They both recognize their individuality.
NOTE: All types from here on tend to be transient.
- These occur after periods of loss, struggle, depression, stress or mourning.
- They’re looking for someone to “fix them”
- Couples tend to talk about the past and their losses a lot.
- Gentleness, support, and comfort characterize this relationship srather than great passion.
- These are experimental relationships.
- This is a relationship that is a cross between the kind of relationships you use to have the kind you want.
- An “almost but not quite there”
- They’re together but not close.
- They want to avoid their own deeper feelings.
- Don’t want to “get too close”
- Self-disclosure is low and mistrust is high.
- Just something recreational and for fun and games.
- Often emphasis is on fun and not deeper feelings.
- Not one likely to last.
- One night stands fall under this.
- Both partners are supportive of what the other partner does
- Both partners encourage the other to try new things
- Both partners listen to the other
- Both partners are well liked by the other’s friends
- Both partners understands that the other has their own life
- Both partners gives the other their space
- Both partners understand that the other is in charge of their body and appearance
- Both partners may get jealous sometimes, but in the end trusts the other.
- Both partners respect the other and their beliefs and interests
- Both partners takes responsibility for their own mistakes
- Both partners makes the other feel loved and desirable
- Both partners would never harm or threaten the other or a family or friend
- Both partners would be understanding if the other decided to leave the relationship, although they may be upset.
- Both partners respect the other’s belongings and would never hurt their pets
- Both partners careful to not hurt the other without consent
- Both partners may get angry or have mood swings but would never take it out on the other and controls themselves around their partner
- Both partners always asks for consent and respects the first no. Sex is never expected in the relationship
- Both partners focus on healthy communication to work out problems
- Both partners may use drugs or alcohol recreationally but they would never use that as an excuse to hurt the other, do not become more violent while using, and would never force it on another.
- Both partners care about the other’s feelings and tries to help when they’re upset
- Both partners respects personal boundaries
- Both partners stand up for the other if they are being hurt in some way
- Both partners may offer constructive advice but also offers encouragement and knows that it is your decision and loves you regardless
- Both partners have equal power in the relationships
- Both partners know the other’s expectations and meets them
- Both partners know the other’s boundaries and always obeys those boundaries
- Both partners avoid codependency and live their own lives
- Both partners would never manipulate or threaten the other into certain behavior
- When a problem is brought up both people work to fix it and if one promises to change a behavior they keep that promise
- Both partners take the other’s concerns seriously
- Both partners respect the other’s privacy
- Both partners talk about money and have developed a system they are both comfortable with
- Both partners discuss what they want from the relationship and go as slow as is fitting to both of their boundaries and desires for the relationship
- Both partners talk about it before they make the decision to have a child and the communicate about what they would do if there was an unplanned pregnancy and they talk about birth control and contraceptives.
- Both partners have time for their friends, family, school, jobs or other aspects of their lives and do sometimes spend time apart
- Neither partner is afraid of the other.
- Both partners feel supported in following their goals
- Both partners are happy with their sex lives and feel secure and treated fairly.
- Any big changes in the relationship are discussed firts.Relationships are difficult and they take work. It’s not going to be perfect and things will happen that will make a partner feel bad. We all make mistakes. It’s important to recognize those mistakes and how it is damaging behavior and change that behavior. Communication is so very important! It’s important that everyone is involved in the relationship, getting their needs met, feels comfortable and safe, and feels like they can be honest. If that’s not happening, something has to change. Sometimes people just aren’t good for each other, and that’s okay! Breakups can be hard but sometimes they are necessarily. A healthy relationship can have any structure and can be between any group of people. It can be polyamorous, non monogamous, BDSM, kinky, involve mental health conditions and many more.
Enjoy reading about strong female characters kicking ass?
“It’s field vs forest, Caster vs hunter and Raina in the middle determined to protect them all.”
Creating Love Interests for Strong Female Characters
In my time I have been called a “tom boy”, “geek”, “butch” and just plain “weird”. Why? Because I love, love action, adventure, fantasy, swashbuckling, epics and heroes. I play video games, role play, dress up in costumes in public, learned to fight with swords, and read every book I came across. I want to be the heroine of every adventure out there.
But my escapist fantasies also have to include love interests, and that’s harder to find. How do you give a strong girl a love interest who doesn’t eclipse her? They can’t just sit around at home - that’s boring, and who wants to date that kind of dead weight anyway? - but if they get too involved in the heroics, it risks becoming his, not her, adventure.
Being very hot is also a huge distraction from the action.
jewishpopcorn asked: Any ideas about writing a deep sense of camaraderie between characters without seeming gay? I’m hoping the bond to be similar to the bond between Holmes and Watson, Lennie and George, and other famous brothers in bond. Thank you for any advice you can give!
We’d like to begin by quoting John Green: “Books belong to their readers.”
If your readership sees a homoerotic connection between two male characters (famously the case in modern Sherlock Holmes adaptations between Sherlock and Watson), then there is very little than you can do about it. You can recognize that your audience may see homosexual attraction where none was initially intended and embrace it with humorous asides and a certain amount of ambiguity or you can ignore the subject altogether.
If you don’t write them to be attracted to each other, they won’t be. That is, until the fan fiction authors get ahold of your narrative. By that time, it’ll be out of your hands.
However, you can start by writing a believable male friendship. The examples below, of course, are not true of all male friendships, but they represent a good starting point.
Just to reiterate, these examples are not law. They are simply a starting place from which to build believable male friendships.
For more on male friendships, check out these articles:
Thank you for your question!