Taboo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment.
There are few subjects in fiction writing that are taboo. I wrote about one in my novel, The Necromancer.
I wanted to write a paranormal/horror in the tradition of Stephen King, or Dean Koontz, or one of my favorite writers, JA Konrath.
Their books have lots of death, dismemberment, and grisly detailed disboweling, hangings, shooting, stabings, etc. Killings with all kinds of implements. These books are popular, thrilling, scary, and many have humor and are a lot of fun. Then there are horror movies, that are sometimes even more graphic, like The Chain Saw Massacres, and others like it. They show real torture. Not my thing. I don't watch them.
I wanted my book to have scares, and some horror, but I didn't want blood and guts. I wanted it to appeal to women, because my protagonist is a woman.
In my novel I found out the taboo subject in fiction is rape. This surprised me because there are numerous TV shows about the subject. Most notably, NCIS Special Victim's Unit.
You usually see a battered woman in a hospital bed, crying, and telling her story. Then the detectives get all incensed, and in the space of 1/2 hour they catch and convict the rapist. The thing about TV is you can show someone shot with a gun, lots of blood leaking from the wound, but you can't show a scene that may have 'sexual' violence, for obvious reasons. So everything in the TV show goes on after the attack.
Interesting statistics: In 2010 there were 14,748 murders, 84,767 rapes in the USA. But we're not supposed to talk about it--or write about it.
Here's the link in case you want to check the statistics: http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm
In my book, the rape scene is in the third chapter. I tell it in the third person, with the point of view of my main character. I do not tell exactly blow by blow what happens. I do give her thoughts while she is being violated. Her psychological reactions to the event in her life changes her forever, and I happen to be very proud of what I wrote, because I think it's the best description I've ever seen in fiction. Even if I did write it. I have a degree in psychology.
The responses from readers have been varied. Some knew it was necessary to the progression of the character. Some said they started reading the book and when the rape occurred they stopped reading. Some said I should have given a warning. (I do say it is for mature readers.) Some returned the book for their money back. Other readers loved the book.
Remember the statistics. 14,000 murders. 84,000 rapes.
(Dead is dead. Final number. How many rapes are unreported?)