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why are people saying Outlander is a rape book?

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Lubitsch Lox
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Linda I thought this author seemed obsessed with sex and rape. I only read about halfway through, then got tired of the graphic sex and skipped to the end just to see how the story ends. In about 350 pages that I read, the main character escapes at least 4 rape attempts (I assume there are others I missed), and the male hero is raped. After she is "forced" to marry the Scotsman, the two of them have consensual sex in what seems like every chapter. To me, the sex scenes (graphically described by the way) seemed gratuitous and unnecessary filler. That's my opinion and why I abandoned the book.
Miranda I think it is a good portrayal of what life was like for women back in the 1700's. Rape was very common. The author does a good job of trying to be historically accurate. Rape is not the main focus of this book.
Deborah Markus Because....rape.
Violet I love all the comments claiming "but but but historical accuracy!" Ok cool, rape is historically accurate and so is body hair, dysentery, rotting teeth, STIs and the like. Yet all the characters are somehow gorgeous and pristine and perform TIME TRAVEL. This novel is Fantasy- not exactly National Geographic. If someone can time travel in a marvelous fictional world, maybe we can hope for a little less sexual assault? Maybe let's just agree that rape and rapiness is titillating to some folks and not to others, and those who are into it can go ahead and be into it without trying to convince everyone else that rape is inevitable and accurate.
Holly Because the book is primarily a paean to how great it is to be dominated by some big dude in a skirt and no underwear and learn to call him master. Marital rape is AWESOME because even though it HURTS to have your husband pound you super hard when you're already in pain and begging him to stop, the extra-super intense orgasm you have from it and the special closeness you feel to your lord and master afterward makes it all worth it. Same thing with having him beat you: yeah, it hurts, but if you deserved it, well, it just helps you see what a lucky lady you are to have a such a strong, domineering husband. Check it out:

"Aye, I mean to use ye hard, my Sassenach," he whispered. "I want to own you, to possess you, body and soul." I struggled slightly and he pressed me down, hammering me, a solid, inexorable pounding [!] that reached my womb with each stroke. [I really truly am not making that up. Someone wrote that sentence and managed to get it published in a book.] "I mean to make ye call me 'Master,' Sassenach." His soft voice was a threat of revenge for the agonies of the last minutes. "I mean to make you mine."

The "solid, inexorable pounding" is so "brutal" (Claire herself refers to it that way the next morning) that Claire says "No!" and cries out, "Stop, please, you're hurting me!" But Jamie doesn't stop--and CLAIRE LOVES IT.

IOW, even though stuff that's not rape happens, the primary lesson of the book is how great it turns out to be to get "a solid, inexorable pounding" against your will.

No wonder rape culture is alive and well in the twenty-first century: women can't spend enough money on books about how great rape is.
Cherime MacFarlane Frankly, rape is about power. In those times it was used in exactly that manner, to demonstrate exactly how much power one had over the other person. Some things never change. If you don't want to read about things that really happen, stick to kiddie books.
DC Simple answer: there's rape in the book.

But before you go ahead and dismiss it, I should tell you that despite a few sexual scenes of the more forced variety, this isn't actually a rape book. Is there rape? Yeah, sure. Does it focus on rape or is it largely about forced sex? No, it doesn't.

Hope that helps. If not, well... okay.
Chris I'm at the midway point of this otherwise enjoyable book and am a bit appalled by how this book seems to excuse domestic rape and abuse. I know it represents a different time period, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it. From some of these responses, it doesn't sound like this book ever provides appropriate commentary on the subject and instead continues to brush over such treatment like it's okay if the perpetrator is sexy and usually a good person. I've lost all respect for Claire and Jamie by page 400.
Ann Doyle Actually, I like it. Don't get the wrong idea - having been sexually assaulted, I don't like RAPE, but I do like the attention given to a man being raped since this is a horrifying crime which often goes unreported or made light of.
Jean Cole SPOILER ALERT: No, not a rape book. But justifying domestic abuse? Absolutely. It almost seems as if some people don't understand what rape is. Yes, there is lots and lots of sex in this book and yes, there is lots and lots of violence. And in one case there is what I would call "rough sex" but it is consensual rough sex. There is a huge difference between rape and rough consensual sex. There is only one incidence of actual rape and that is male on male -- perpetrated by the villain of the piece. The thing that horrified me was that there is an incidence of extreme domestic violence that is justified by the perpetrator and accepted by the recipient with this explanation: "I told you to stay in a particular place till I returned. You disobeyed me, and by disobeying me you put yourself and me and my men in danger. My father whipped me when I disobeyed but it was to teach me a lesson and I'm glad he did because it made me the man I am today. I had to whip you to impress upon you how important it is that you listen to me when I tell you to do something." He then makes a solemn vow never to lay a hand on her again and he keeps that vow for the rest of the book. I understand that in the context of clan warfare this probably makes sense. But in this day and age the idea that a woman should accept the explanation of "you misbehaved and I didn't want to do it but I had to and I'll never do it again" makes me shudder. This is precisely the explanation chronic domestic abusers use to keep their victims in line. Although I enjoyed the book for the most part, this justification of domestic abuse makes me really question whether I want to read the rest of the series.
Christy Awesome premise... until the beatings and the rape and disgustingness. I rarely EVER fail to finish a book. I'm throwing this one away. Miranda Mudd..yes, rape is a big part of the book. The fact that he can beat her and take her against her will and then have her enjoy the rape... it's gross and pornographic. This book had such great potential. I wanted to read a great story. The story disappeared amongst the graphic sex.
Caroline Lay Both my husband and I have read, and re-read the entire series. We own the audio books, so we have listened to the books together. We have discussed the content in depth. Yes, there is rape in the story line. Yes, there is sex in the story line. This is a book about the way of life 200 years ago. Life was different, and yes, rape was VERY common. The author has maintained a very detailed level of historical accuracy throughout the books (not just Outlander), and to avoid, or try to minimise the Rape/Sex aspect of life 200 years ago would be to disrespect the history. The level of historical accuracy does not just pertain to the rape/sex scenes, but also to all aspects of the books.
In order to understand the characters, to understand why they are who they are, it is important to understand what they went through. It is important to get a picture of what makes them who they are. You would not be able to grasp the relationship between Jamie and Claire if you didn't have a picture of what they had been through together. Yes, there is rape in the book. Yes there is sex. HOWEVER, the scenes are done as tastefully as possible without making just "sex for the sake of sex". The scenes are necessary for building the storyline, and if you give it a chance and really take in the storyline (rather than just the sex scenes) you will find that it is an amazing historical story. A story about overcoming adversity. A story about adventure, about kindness, about family, about striving for a better life, and succeeding!
Sandy Bergeson I haven't read the book yet but based on the comments I think I'll pass. What people mean by a "rape culture" book is NOT that it promotes rape and NOT that rape didn't happen in those days but that in today's culture our books can't seem to be written without violence against women and multiple rapes...and usually in a way that makes it fairly comfortable to read about it. "If you can see it, you can do it" kind of morality. So yes, it may not be about rape...and it may be well written...but it may still be part of the rape culture that's present in today's culture.
Ruth Klassert There is a bit of rape in it, however it is handled in a very good way. It doesn't accidentally turn you on because the lines between rape and rough sex get blurred- those lines are never blurred. It is horrific, as rape is. With the author being a woman, I'm sure that's why it's as horrific as it truly is in the book. It's also not used just to further a plot line.
Tinneke It's not a rape book! It's a very well written account on a certain periode of the 17th century and these things happen. Never have i heard it discribed as a rape-book in Europe. So if you can't place it in a historical contect and you're a big prude then don't read it.
Blanca Julia This is not a rape book. It is an epic novel, said already by several. This book is very well written. It is very descriptive and it is a long read. I prefer to focus on the time-travel story that it is and not if it is a rape book. If you can not handle reading about things that happened and are still happening, then yes, stick to kiddie books and let the mature reading for us who know how to appreciate a well-written story.
Derek Outlander is not a rape book. Rape happens, or almost happens, quite a bit within the pages, but it is neither focused on nor dwelled upon after the fact. The story takes place in 18th Century Scotland, ::NOT:: 21st Century America! Women were not treated nor seen as equal to men. In fact, women were simply baby-producing, meal-preparing, laundry-doing property. Those who see this as a "rape book" are ignorant of the past. The author spent much time in the region, researching the history, the culture and the people. She painted as accurate a picture as she could. I'm sorry if some are offended that rape occurred 300 years ago. I'm offended that some people are born today. Whadaya gonna do???
Pyper at Reading Lark Towards the end of the book, there is a disturbing rape scene between two men. But that is not what the book is about. The book is about a woman who travels back in time to Scotland in the 1700's. It's a well-written book and just the first in a long series of books. The 8th book just came out this past summer.
Lena There are ambiguous consent scenes and a brutal male on male rape scene closer to the end. The fallout and recovery dominate the end of the book. This is not a light hearted fun weekend/airplane Nora Roberts read. It has its merits but know what you're getting into or it will sour said weekend.
MTC There are scenes of rape, attempted rape...etc. Its not a "rape book," and it shows a REALITY in this world that cannot and shouldnt be ignored. Criticizing this book because it has those scenes is ridiculous. How the author dealt with that subject was very interesting and in no way did she write, at any point, that the subject was somehow acceptable
Susan The reading of this book should be a message to women of all ages about the changes made in the last century alone. The very fact that we are reading books is a huge thing but yes, there was rape in the wilds of history, more than we can imagine. One person who answered this question stated, rape is power over another person. Many people read historical fiction that is buffered to entertain and fail to realize that there was much more violence, especially against women, in centuries past.
Nanette Cuz it is a recurring theme from which the reader cannot escape.
Clay Jensen All you people are the epitome of political correctness and the 21st century mania of over-sensibility.
You don't have to take everything soooo seriously it's a fiction book. Are we to never talk of rape, kinky sex, domestic violence etc? It's part of life, some justify it some do not, but no matter what your "perfect" ethos suggests it's gonna be talked of and written, and drawn because it still is a part of reality. "Well I don't wanna read about it cause it makes me shudder and enrages me!" Good. Don't read it. I get it, you wanna relax after work and watch the Kardashians. Because that is the lifestyle that billions of people promote over reality.
Kathleen This is an adventure, fantasy, historical book and a love story between two consenting adults. I never thought of it as a rape book at all. In fact when I read some of the comments I was confused...this isn't the focus of this story whatsoever. It's more of two people in love and the other being there to "rescue" them, being each other's salvation. They're each other's champion.
Yvonne Aburrow I think it is about the difference in expectations of marriage between the 20th century (note that Claire is from the year 1945, not the present day) and the 18th century.

In the 18th century, both marital rape and beating your wife for disobedience would've been pretty normal (it was illegal in England to beat your wife with a stick thicker than your finger). Remember that marital rape was not made illegal in England till 1981 (if I recall correctly - may have been 1991, when this book was written).

So it would've been a bit surprising if Jamie hadn't beaten Claire for endangering him and all his men. And given that Claire is from an era where some people were still behaving that way, and given that she nearly did get all his men killed, it's not all that surprising that she forgave him (though it wasn't ten minutes later, more like two days). And bear in mind that this is written from Claire's point of view, so it has to be couched in the thinking of 1945.

If Claire had been the average woman from 2018, I very much doubt that she would have forgiven him.

Where I think the author could've done better is to somehow make it clear that she does not approve of all this wife-beating and marital rape, or at least not portray it as a norm for male behaviour.

I don't have a problem with people enjoying consensual thrashing, it's non-consensual thrashing that I have an issue with.
Mari Rape is prominently featured, and a very big part of the plot. Sure rape was common in the 1700's. Guess what? it is common now. That doesn't mean someone wouldn't be most likely to tell a story sert in the 1700's, or 2016 without mentioning rape. Yes, it happens, but it really is not a huge part of life then or now. Its no more a "part" of life then embezzlement. No, I do NOT think that this book promotes a culture of rape. I don't think we need yet another moral guard dog telling us what to write or to watch, I am just saying that this book has a completely absurd amount of rape in it, NOT in the least justified by the time and place it is somewhat representing.
Deba I never thought of it that way, but there is a lot of mention of rape in the book. I just skip over those parts and the other sex, because the story line is so great overall.
Algeiban Because rape or attempted rape happens in it. I can see where it could be very triggering to someone who is a survivor. But to me, it is not glorifying or trivializing rape, and it is not just gratuitously including rape for the purpose of being sensational. Rather, it is an honest and accurate portrayal of what life was like in the time period where it takes place, including the fact that rape happened, a lot, and of the effects that violation has on the victim. I also give it props for including a male victim of sexual assault.
Tracie Lear It's not a rape book.........It's a really good book which probably gives an accurate representation of how hard life was in the 1700's, especially for women, IN the Scottish Highlands! It was a violent time in history, in a fairly violent place, so to expect the author to represent it differently to protect the readers sensibilities is silly. It does not"promoting rape" nor " justifying domestic abuse". It tells a story with an accurate representation of the time. If you want flowery love stories these books aren't for you. They are full of adventure, misfortune, sex, romance, with a healthy dose of violence mixed in and they seem to be historically accurate! It kept me on the edge of my seat, but I knew what I was reading and got exactly what I expected. This is my second reading of this book and I enjoyed it much this time as I did the first time I read it!
Shirley Walsh As a device to place the characters in danger, I think it is used a lot. I think one can't dispute that, it is a lot. But, it was chosen to illustrate the difficulties Claire would have interpreting what she needed to do to stay safe in the 1740's. The book is about Claire's choices, and what difficulties she'd face not being familiar with the 1740's expectations of women. The greatest danger was that men control everything, and enforce it however they choose. Women are confined in what competencies they can acquire, and which they dare demonstrate. Rape or the threat of, or the threat of the label whore is a familiar tactic, in both the 1740's and now. I don't know what I would have written differently, but perhaps the author also wanted us to believe Claire stumbled into Jamie's arms involuntarily, regardless of his appeal. Do we know how common rape was then ? Probably cannot be known, but it's familiar enough now to make us believe Claire needed to marry Jamie. What is hard to digest, and it took me a while to understand it, is that maleness and it's appeal, has primitive roots. I am married to a fastidious gentlemanly man. Yet.. the mud, the muscles, the ownership thing... has it's appeal. Rape, no, but that physicality of you are not leaving me, yeah.
Stacie Logue It is very graphic at times with sex, sexual violence & torture. Not for young readers or survivors of rape.
Bob I suppose because in today's feminist circles any book that has a rape in it, but is not specifically centered around condemning rape, is a misogynistic rape book.
CM Nanes Although rape is not the main focus of the book, Jamie, a heterosexual man, is raped and achieves orgasm during the ordeal. His hand is pinned to a table by a knife while all this is going on, I don’t think this is at all realistic. Claire is also raped. It’s not a “rape book.” It is a hefty volume that could have been whittled down by half to make it to tedious. As it is its best used to cure insomnia.
gaplan ıt's unfair to name a book as a "rape" book when there is so much more to it. That's shallow.

Sarah Cesani In this time era of the book, women were seen as somewhat weak and "below" the men in the social hierarchy. Thus they thought it was justified to rape/sexually assault women, also if the women tried to speak out or try to defend herself she would be counted as "unladylike" and whipped for her "bad" behavior. While this is a theme in the book (I mean female oppression) it isn't enough for the whole book to be justified as a "rape book"
Jonathan L It's not entirely a rape book, but rape (and attempted rape) is prevalent in the story and the author does use it often as a plot driver a bit too much in my opinion. I started watching the t.v series while reading the book and I got ahead of the book with the series and was disturbed (to say the least) with Jamie recounting his emotional and sexual abuse (it was nauseatingly graphic). I wound up skipping that part (16% of the book) because I couldn't bear to go through it again. Otherwise, it's a great book.
louise rossiter The problem is not that rape and child sexual abuse happens in this book its that the real impacts of trauma that victims experience is completely excluded. In fact the paedophile who attempts to rape young boys is joked about and portrayed as a likeable character. The horrendous abuse Claire suffers at the hands of her husband is justified because rather than continuing to be ignored by the other men they now sexually harass her 'in fun' to show she is accepted because she has been suitably punished. Ultimately the beating and rape she experiences brings her closer to her husband rather than the fear, repulsion and trauma that is the actual experience of victims of this kind of abuse. This book is dangerous because it normalises abuse and celebrates the kind of masculine toxicity that leads to rape culture.
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Frances I was surprised by some of the comments here .I have read the series twice, and cannot justify the name “rape book”. There is one attempted (female) rape by the “villain”, one beating ( to be expected in the 18th century, I am not condoning this)... one male rape.
Yes there is a lot of sex, consensual between two people very much in love.
I think it should be remembered that this is a time travel book and its heroine is very much a 20th century woman who has lived through a dreadful war.
There is no comparison between this book and ‘Fifty Shades’.
Diana Gabaldon is a beautiful writer, opening a window on Scotland in that period.
Jim The most apparent rapes are committed against two males, but few women in this thread have noticed that in what they see as offensive to them...Oh yes, some did find the male rape a little comical I see.
Sapphire Orchids The book is mostly taking place in the 18th century where the men acted the way the book puts it. There was rape in the book, but it was male on male and it was horrifying and saddening. Then there was the part on domestic violence, i did not like how the victim had reacted afterwards, giving excuses and forgiving the perpetrator like 6 seconds after, but if the victim was a real person and this did happen, she would have probably acted the same way. I do not in any way promote domestic violence, but for the sake of character development, it was a proper reaction.
I believe this book portrays the realities of the 18th century and it was great at it. But if you would like to read about fantasy or unrealistic premises, then go ahead and pick another book because this just isn't it.
Christine Civitarese There is rape in the books and on tv. But that us not what the books are all about. The show is awesome! Great talent all around!
Evelyn Daigre Because there is one chapter where this happens. Overall, the book isn't a rape book but a 5 star read.
Louise Annetta Not going to read this. I have read many stories with graphic truths about the past. Not this one. How a bodice ripper can be thought of as good fiction i do not know.
Laurie Oliver I have several friends who are not rape fans who highly recommended this series. I don't think rape is an issue with this book. I'm almost through the first one, and no one has been raped so far.
Phylicia It has a lot of rape and attempted rape
Lora Swafford So not a rape book. One woman gets raped.
Roc Fritz this isnt a rape book... yes there is rape in this book but thats not what all the focus is on...
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