Tag Archives: domestic abuse

A blueprint for writing abuse in fiction.

Hardcore TW on this for emotional abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, mentions of self-harm and suicide.

We don’t have a great pattern for talking about healthy relationships, and the boundaries between human flaws and abusive tendencies. This means that many times, when writers seek to show abusive relationships, they jump right to the obvious stuff: the “I’ll kill you before I let you leave me!” level physical aggression and verbal abuse.

But to present a more realistic and compelling abusive relationship, you need to think subtler. Here’s a few emotional abuse techniques that worm into the relationship long before someone raises their hand. As always, your mileage may vary. This is simply my perspective and experience, as someone who’s survived a lot of domestic violence, both from family and partners. Some examples explicitly refer to heterosexual relationships, however the core aggression we’re talking about can happen in any relationship. And its shape is so heavily influenced by the individuals involved, that this is hardly a conclusive rundown of all of the manifestations of non-physical abuse out there.

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A little on the importance of respectful representation.

Okay. So some of you’ve noticed that I’m *ahem* outspoken on some issues, such as issues related to sex work, domestic violence, etc.

And the why for that’s what I want to talk about today.

Trigger warning for discussions on sexual abuse, self-harm, mental illness, all that stuff.

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The Windshield Theory, or, Writing Sexual Abuse In Fiction

While I was writing Edgeplay, probably the darkest thing I may ever write, I solidified a few of my thoughts about the handling of abuse and rape in fiction. These are my personal opinions only, as a survivor, and a friend or relative to many other survivors. I am not a mental health professional in any way shape or form. YMMV.

I’m primarily going to talk about sexual violence in this, since that’s what I was focusing on for the story, but a lot of the same principles apply to other kinds of trauma, like domestic abuse, PTSD, childhood neglect or abuse.

Trigger warning: this post contains explicit discussion of sexual violence, domestic violence, PTSD and mental illness, and a host of other potentially triggering issues.

Continue reading The Windshield Theory, or, Writing Sexual Abuse In Fiction