Carolyn
Carolyn asked N.K. Jemisin:

TW for sexual violence. I'm gonna get all serious and talk about trauma so please feel free not to answer if you'd prefer. Given that some of your readers are survivors of sexual violence, and the fact that rape is often used in novels as the tropey most-shocking-thing-ever, do you have guidelines/rules for when and how you write about sexual violence? I think you do it really skillfully.

N.K. Jemisin I don't really have guidelines or rules about how or when to do it. For the most part, I try to avoid it, precisely because it's overused as a trope (nothing wrong with tropes in and of themselves, note, but when tropes are overused or used as a substitute for proper characterization, they become cliches). But when I do write about sexual violence, I try to do it in a way that either a) goes somewhere different to what other writers have done, or b) deals with it fully and realistically, which I think is the problem with a lot of treatments of sexual violence in SFF. So a) is why I discussed Yeine's womanhood ritual, in order to show how someone from a society that doesn't think rape of women is possible might think (even as that's exactly what she's describing), and b) is why I made Tiaanet one of the 3 main viewpoint characters of THE SHADOWED SUN, so that I could depict the full complexity of her life. (I think that making sexual violence survivors peripheral is a problem too.)

...So I guess I do have rules. :)
N.K. Jemisin
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