I Humbly Request Your InputIt is difficult to ask this of a woman who has suffered through rape, but I'm not sure who better to ask for input. First, let me put this out there: I am a male. I am not looking to be turned on at the expense of your pain.
So here's the situation. I am in the midst of writing a novel about the lives of a man and woman who were a couple in their teenage years. She was gang raped while he was forced to watch. This happened right before they were to go off to college.
She was going to study art, but abandoned it for a career in law. She dedicated herself to prosecuting sex offenders, which enabled her to at least direct her rage. At the same time, she never allowed herself to really deal with, or process, or .... her own pain, and it is beginning to destroy her. She has physical problems related to stress and overwork.
He has other issues, but that isn't really where I need help.
Anyway, I've struggled with the healing process for her for several years now. I have written a scenario in which the process is triggered by her return to her home town for her mother's funeral. Many things during this trip force her to confront what she has been trying to escape for her whole adult life. The actual process is eluding me, however.
If you can find it in your heart to help a guy who is presumptuous enough to even write about this topic, I would be forever grateful. I'd welcome your thoughts on:
* whether this whole scenario is even realistic
* what the sort of central step in healing might be (re-establishing self respect, addressing any sense of guilt, allowing one's self to fully experience the pain - rather than running from it, confronting the guilty, etc.) How could it work? How could she overcome this?
* do you think that she could enter a healthy romantic relationship before she has gotten through this? Could such a relationship help her?
* prior to her returning home, her sex life is almost cruel. She uses her own power as a woman to satisfy her physical need, while experiences an emotion toward men that amounts to loathing... or, at best, ambivalence. Is this total crap, or could this be real?
* how does one re-establish a healthy sexuality after this horror?
* how did you process your experience, and move through/beyond it? I know its effect lasts a lifetime.
I am not looking for the physical details, unless you feel a need to share them. I am interested in what you felt emotionally and thought mentally.
This story has been trying to be written for years now. I don't know why. While no one has ever come right out and said, "You have no right to even try to write a story about this subject," I have sort of sensed that unspoken reaction. If you feel that way, too, please tell me. But this story just won't leave me for some reason.
I am genuinely humbled in the face of your strength and courage, and hope you might see fit to help. Anything by way of your insight would be so very much appreciated.