My book has a lot of hard things in it. Some of them are clear up front, some of them get revealed over time. Some things you may not wish to read about, no matter how they are handled, some things you may want a heads up about so that you can decide whether you want to read the book or take a pass. There’s a lot of great books out there, I want you to find ones that you will enjoy, not ones that you’ll wish you hadn’t picked up in the first place.
There are other potential triggers that my book might have, but I’m focusing on ones pertaining to sexual assault here. There will be some spoiler-y bits in the mix, but I don’t specify names of characters so the mystery won’t be spoiled per se.
Here we go…
I have personal preferences about not writing anything that I’d consider an explicit scene of sexual assault, however, there are scenes/ongoing parts where characters discuss their experiences of sexual assault and/or highly coercive relationships.
One of these involves them being drugged and unconscious at the time of the assault, so the discussion is about the before and after of the event. She reports it to the police, and she is treated with contempt, subjected to questions about the veracity of her claims and her motives.
The other involves being blackmailed into continuing a physical relationship that was originally consensual. There is a reference to someone putting their hand on the girl’s neck like a clamp, which, in context, is not intended to mean that her neck was squeezed or chocked, but is absolutely an assertion of power and dominance.
There is also a scene of the protagonist being physically attacked by someone with a history of sexual assault. This attack itself is not sexual in nature, but it is still very violent.
There is a question about whether a girl had a sexual relationship with a teacher. While (spoiler) no such relationship actually occurred, the protagonist, overwhelmed and confused, begins to question what it might mean if it were true.*
I think that covers it. Apologies if you read it and find that there’s something that you’d wished I’d mentioned. No worries at all if you decide to pass at this point. I hope that you read something wonderful instead.
*Author note: This is not an area where I feel that there is any grey area and the character only questions this from a place of deep confusion and grief.
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