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Rape/Sexual Assault Reference Tutorial by Staff
Chapter 1 : Rape/Sexual Assault Reference Tutorial
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Rape/Sexual Assault Reference Tutorial

Sexual Assault, Child Abuse & Spousal Abuse - We do not allow descriptions or depictions of sexual or intimate violence. Allusions (i.e., to refer to in a historical context [ definition]) to sexual assault (including attempted assault) are permitted so long as the references are not graphic or glorifying in nature. The same rule stands for abuse. Child and spousal abuse are defined as physical abuse and/or excessive emotional abuse. Stories containing references to any of these themes must be rated M and carry the warnings for Strong Violence and Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme.

The following is an example of a story containing references to rape that would be acceptable for validation because it does not contain any actual depictions or descriptions of sexual assault. A historical context of assault has been created for a character, yet there are no graphic descriptions, just allusions and references.

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He’d be damned if he was going to let some girl make him crazy. Whatever her game was she could just go find someone else to play it with because Sirius Black didn’t need to play games. He could have any girl in this school he set his mind to, so if she wanted to some play hard to get or push-me pull-me crap, or whatever the hell she was doing, he’d move on to the next in line. It wasn’t like she was all that great in the first place. He was doing her a favor by noticing her stuck up Ravenclaw self.

Sirius threw his school bag onto his bed. His seventh year was not shaping up as he had hoped. At the end of last term the pretty little Ravenclaw had been more than willing to receive his attention. Now she seemed want to pretend she didn’t even know his name. He followed the bag onto the bed with a heavy flop. He heard James enter the room and cross to his own bed. “She’s nuts,” Sirius said loudly not only to James but to the walls and ceiling as well.

“Calm down, Padfoot, it’s not worth getting worked up over,” James was unpacking his bag and shoving in the books he’d need for the afternoon classes.

“Worked up?” Sirius sat bolt up on the bed. “What do you mean worked up? I am not worked up.”

“No, you’re not worked up, yelling is your regular tone of voice, especially when speaking to me.” James looked pointedly at him over the glasses that had slipped down on the bridge of his nose.

The grey eyes glared back at the boy. Worked up. He’d show James. He wasn’t worked up over some… some… girl.

His friend straightened up and slipped his pack on to his back. “Come on, Sirius. If we’re late for Transfigurations, McGonagall will have us in detention.” He got up and followed his friend out of the room they now shared between the two of them due to James’ status as Head Boy.

They had hated leaving Remus behind in the dorm, but true to his nature, the boy had simply smiled when James had told him he’d asked Sirius to share the Head Boy’s room and said, “Of course you asked Sirius, James. He’s your best friend. Truth of it is Peter and I are a bit relieved. You snore and Sirius talks in his sleep. We may just get a whole night’s sleep. It’s sort of like the four of us got two private rooms to share. How we split that doesn’t mean we aren’t all friends.” The fifth boy in that had started out in their dorm room with them had died their forth year leaving them alone.

Sirius scowled all the way down to the Transfiguration classroom, pausing only once to shoot a hex at Snivellus, splitting his bag and sending his ink bottles, books and papers crashing to the floor in an irredeemable mess. Even this, however, failed to cheer him up. Taking his seat next to James in the classroom, he determinedly set out his book and parchment. He refused to look around. A sharp poke in the shoulder from the end of a quill spun him in his seat. Remus gave him a half smile and nodded to the opposite side of the room. Following his gaze he saw her enter and take a seat at the front of the class. Now, with NEWTs so close, those students pursuing the study of Transfiguration all attended class together no matter their House. Sirius watched her sit down. He could see the profile of her face that would be mostly hidden by the brown curls that hung past her shoulders when they weren’t pulled up and secured in a knot. He watched the slope of her neck as she leaned over her books. Something about her hair was different. It wasn’t the clump of twisted curls barely held in place by an extra quill. No, this was a severe look, hair straightened back tightly to her head and held in place by no visible support. The long earrings that usually brushed her neck as she moved were gone. She wore none.

“Padfoot, pay attention,” James hissed at him. McGonagall was standing over the desk occupied by Severus Snape who was staring straight ahead while she chastised him for the condition of his homework which was smudged and covered in splatters of various colored ink, courtesy of Sirius. “Twit,” James muttered. “All he had to do was spot clean the paper. The git never learns.”

They were working on human transformations that day. Sirius should have been paying attention, but he couldn’t help looking back over at her. McGonagall set them to working with partners. “Not your usual partners, that means you and Mr. Potter, Mr. Black. Find someone new to work with today.”

“Go on,” James hissed and nodded at the girl. Sirius grabbed his things and moved quickly across the room.

“Dorcas? Need a partner?” He spoke the words to the back of her head.

She turned and he saw her face up close for the first time since they had gotten back to school. When he had first seen her in the Great Hall during the welcome feast he thought the lighting was bad. Each time she had dodged him in the halls he had noticed she looked pale and wondered if she was ill. That had increased his attempts to talk to her. After all at the end of last term things were going well, very well for them. He liked her. He actually liked her, and not just as a pretty girl, but as a real person. She could almost be as much fun to be around as Prongs.

Now as he looked into her dark brown eyes he realized what was different. She wasn’t wearing any makeup. She was even dressed differently. The colorful scarves and open collars of her shirts that had caught his eyes were now gone. The only color was the blue Ravenclaw crest on her robe. The collar of her shirt and robe fastened up to her chin.

“I’m not sure this is a good idea, Sirius.” Even her voice sounded different. It was stiff and she looked at his face without seeming to really see him.

“Come on, Dorcas. Who better to work with? I’m brilliant, you said so yourself. Remember last year?” Sirius gave her his most winning smile.

She stiffened and stood up quickly. “Last year was a hundred years ago, Sirius. Now if you’ll excuse me.” She moved over to Professor McGonagall and muttered something. Sympathy and pity filled the older woman’s eyes and she nodded her head. The girl left the room as if hounds were at her heels.

Sirius grabbed his things and made to follow her, he’d take McGonagall’s detention if necessary. He headed for the door but was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. He turned to find his Transfigurations Professor standing behind him. The expression wasn’t one of anger but one of understanding. “No, Mr. Black. Not now. Give her some time.”

“Time for what?” Sirius asked still astounded that he wasn’t being told off for trying to leave class.

“She’ll tell you when and if she’s ready. ‘Til then, leave it be, boy.” She turned back to the room. “I believe Mr. Pettigrew is still in need of a partner.”

Sirius trudged back over to Wormtail and sank into the chair next to him. He gave the lesson only half his attention and ended up sending Peter to the hospital wing to have his ears returned from their new position just below his chin and to have their shape restored from something that currently resembled a rutabaga. “Sorry,” was all Sirius managed to mutter.

Dorcas didn’t make an appearance in the last class of the day, Advanced Potions. Just before leaving the classroom, Sirius duplicated Remus’ notes and told James he was going to find her and give them to her. The candles were lit in the Great Hall as he entered. He scanned the Ravenclaw table and did not see her there. He waited by the door and eventually saw her walk in alone. Her small circle of friends seemed to have also been left behind with this new term.

“Dorcas,” he approached her side. “I copied my notes, well actually Remus Lupin’s notes, for you since you missed class.”

She stared down at the parchment roll between them and muttered, “How kind. Thank you.” She reached out to take the scroll and Sirius placed his other hand over hers.

“Dorcas?” He wanted her to tell him what had happened, why it had suddenly changed.

She jumped at his touch and tore her hand away. Her eyes were wide and she stood there shaking her head at him. “I’m… I’ve… I’m not hungry I guess.” She turned and pushed through the crowd of students trying to enter the room.

He stood there staring after her until he found himself face to face with his cousin. Narcissa Black stood smirking at him. “Showing her some of the old Black charm were you, Sirius? Too bad it seems to skip a generation. But even as hopeless as you are, I’ve never known you to make a girl run like the devil was after her before. And out into the pouring rain no less.” Her laugh tinkled like a high clear bell as she pushed past him.

He dropped the scroll to the ground and shoved his way through the crowd. He pushed open the oak doors and scanned the grounds. Just as Narcissa said, a figure was running full pelt away from the castle and toward the lake. The water beat down on his head, quickly soaking his robe, making it feel heavy and awkward. He watched the figure, now still several yards ahead of him, struggle out of its robe and leave it behind. He did the same and ran after her.

Close behind her, almost able to reach her, she darted away from him and into the boat house. The door slammed in his face and he heard the heavy bolt fall into place. Three separate unlocking charms failed and Sirius hit the door with his fist. He pushed his hair from his face, smoothing it against his skull and back out of his eyes. The rain was coming harder than before and the sky was growing more and more menacing. “Dorcas, let me in. Dorcas, it’s Sirius, I just want to make sure you’re ok.” She didn’t answer and he struck the door again. “Dorcas, please open this door.”

Still greeted with silence he moved around the side of the boat house and waded into the lake. If I get eaten by a giant squid doing this I swear I’ll die laughing at myself for being an idiot. He swam out around the edge of the building and came up through the opening among the boats. Treading water he looked for her. He could hear her sniffling and the intermittent sound of sobs. He grabbed one of the tether ropes and hauled himself up on to the dock. He was freezing. September or not, that damned water was ice cold.

He followed the sounds until he found her curled on an old pile of nets behind several crates. At the sound of his footfalls she straightened up and rubbed at her face. “You really can’t take a hint, can you Black.” Her voice was meant to sound angry, but it broke and the result tugged at Sirius’ heart.

He knelt down beside her. “Dorcas what is this? What’s happening?”

“Nothing is happening, Black.” She turned away from him and pulled her knees up snug against her chest. Her arms wrapped tightly around them.

“Black? So I’m Black now, am I?” He couldn’t hold the bitterness back from his voice. He had liked this girl. “Well Meadows, perhaps if nothing is happening, you’ll be so kind as to tell me why you’ve been avoiding me since we got back.”

“I haven’t been avoiding you,” the voice was tight and strained. “It is not always about you.”

“Do you really think I’m that stupid? Of course it isn’t always about me, but this does have something to do with me.” Sirius moved up behind her and put his hand on her shoulder, she flinched but didn’t move away. “Four months ago a lot had to do with me. You and me. Now suddenly I don’t exist? I may be a stupid self absorbed git but I think I deserve an explanation. Contrary to popular opinion, Meadows, I do have feelings.”

This last bit shocked Sirius as much as it seemed to shock the girl before him. She turned to look at him over her shoulder. Sirius swallowed what was left of his pride that hadn’t deserted him or been frozen to death in the lake, “I like you, Dorcas. I thought you liked me too. Now suddenly you don’t?”

He felt her body begin to shake underneath his touch. She was sobbing hard. He slid himself up against her and pulled her to him. She resisted for a moment, then leaned into his chest and let him put his arms around her. He held her tightly as she cried. This was uncomfortable, awkward, but it was also the right thing to do. Even he knew that. As her crying eased into gentle hiccupping, Sirius pulled out his wand from his pant’s pocket and lit a small fire. The flames did not consume the surface upon which they glowed, but they gave off a warming heat. Looking out through the opening of the boat house, Sirius saw the night sky reflected in the lake. The sky raged as heavily as the pain that filled the young girl in his arms.

She shifted in his arms and tried to sit up. “You don’t have to pull away, Dorcas,” he followed her motion, leaned into her and whispered against her hair. The curls hung in spiraling clumps around her face. He reached out gently and pushed the wet strands from where they clung. Again he felt her flinch. “I’m not going to hurt you, I’ve never hurt you and I wouldn’t. You know that.”

She shook her head, “Do I?” Pain and something close to hate colored those two simple words.

Sirius’ stomach contracted painfully as if he had been punched. “I would hope so. What have I ever done to make you think I’d hurt you? Damn but that’s unfair Meadows.”

She rounded on him then shaking his hands from her. “Life is unfair Black. People say they would never hurt you, no one ever hurts you until they do. You don’t see it coming, you don’t have a warning. They just do it.”

Sirius shook his head in disbelief. This wasn’t the happy girl he had walked into Hogsmeade with, holding hands and even playing childish games of tag. This wasn’t the girl he grudgingly saved the cherry from his sundae for, though he wanted it and was seriously coveting the shining red fruit sitting atop hers. This wasn’t the girl whose hand slipped so wonderfully into his own at the Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff Quidditch match as she rooted for her team and he rooted for Hufflepuff because their victory would bring down Ravenclaw’s House and Quidditch Cup points. Whoever this was, she wasn’t the girl who had tilted her face to his under the April moon and kissed him in a way that made him realize that right at that moment there was no other girl he’d rather be kissing. The girl whose kiss followed him for days, making him think only of her until the next kiss.

“Fine, I’ve tried to be nice and all it’s gotten me is soaking wet, frozen extremities and insults. Look, I don’t know what happened and I won’t unless you tell me. But one thing you need to remember, Dorcas is that what ever it was, it wasn’t my fault. Whatever it is that’s happened, I didn’t do it.” He pulled himself up to his feet.

“That’s right, Black, go on and go. You would have eventually anyway.”

Sirius turned back and saw a pair of eyes filled with more pain and fear than he’d ever seen. She struggled to her feet and he reached for her hand. She slapped him away. “You’d go anyway so save us both the embarrassment and run now while you can.”

He tried to tell himself she was mental. She’d lost her mind, that’s what had happened. But deep inside, even Sirius Black knew better. Even the boy most people felt to be shallow and egocentric knew this was something big.

“Why would I have run, Dorcas?” He reached out and closed his hands around her wrists. “No, don’t pull away from me,” he stopped her. “Tell me. Why would I have run?”

Tears were sliding down her face. “When you found out you’d go. You wouldn’t want…” her voice broke. “You wouldn’t be interested in someone like me. Not now.”

Thoughts of Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort flashed in his head but he shook them away. Dorcas was a muggle-born. It wasn’t that. “Dorcas, tell me what’s happened. Please. Can’t you give me a chance to decide for myself if I want to run?”

She was crying hard again and he released her wrists to pull her to him. He was uncertain what to do. It wasn’t usually his role to play the comforter. He found himself wondering what Moony would do in this situation. He’d hold her and tell it was alright, you idiot, he thought. Sirius wrapped one arm around her shoulders and one around her upper back. He cradled her head to his shoulder and tried to whisper reassurances. “Tell me, Dorcas. What’s happened? Why would I run? Why wouldn’t I be interest in you?”

“Because a pureblood like you would be dirtying himself enough with a mudblood as it is. But one who had been… One who wasn’t…” her voice seemed unwilling to find the words.

A sick feeling began to rise in Sirius’ throat. No, he thought, no this was just his mind going where it shouldn’t. Something like that couldn’t happen to her. It couldn’t happen to Dorcas. But it makes sense, his rational mind tried to interject and he pushed it aside. He held her tightly, his arms encircling her as if he could now at this too late stage protect her from what he mind kept telling him she was trying to say.

“Dorcas, just tell me. And don’t call yourself a mudblood. A muggle-born who had been what? Who wasn’t what?” He wondered if he was being cruel, making her say what he already thought he knew, but he had to be sure. Sweet Merlin, something like this he couldn’t assume, couldn’t guess at.

“Who was no longer clean,” she choked out. “Oh, God, Sirius. I’ll never be clean again. Nothing will ever make me clean again. I’ll never not feel his hands on me.”

Sirius’ heart plummeted like a lead weight sinking in a pond. Anger burned inside Sirius. He’d find him, he’d make him pay in ways only a wizard could. The boy wouldn’t know what hit him and he’d never know who to tell if an unforgivable curse had been used on him. Something inside him spoke sharply in his mind. This isn’t about you, Sirius. This isn’t about how you feel. No. It was about how she felt.

He pulled her with him to sit. Back against the pile of nets, she curled against his chest, tears slipping silently down her face. It helps to talk about it. That’ was what Mrs. Potter always said when she thought someone was upset. God he wanted to do the right thing, say the right thing here. “Dorcas,” he murmured against her hair. “Oh my sweet girl. Talk to me. I’ll listen if you want to tell me. If it will help to tell me.”

“Nothing will help,” her voice sounded cold and almost numbed.

“Maybe it will,” he tightened his arm around her. “I do care, sweet girl. I do care. Let me help if it’s only by listening to you.”

“Looking for a little…” she broke off and pressed her face to his chest. “I’m sorry Sirius. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. It’s just so hard.”

“I know, I know,” he pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

“It was my brother’s friend. My brother’s a muggle and goes to university. We grew up next door to two boys our whole lives. They played at our house and we played at theirs. Until they suddenly realized I was an icky girl and wouldn’t play with me anymore.” A small choked sob broke from her. “God I wish he still thought that way.”

“Who, darling, who?” Sirius was trying to keep his breathing shallow, trying to control his reactions to this.

“Brent. He’s a year older than my brother,” she brought one hand up and rubbed harshly at her eyes. “He was Dylan’s best friend all through school.”

“Dylan’s your brother?” he asked softly. Encourage her, Sirius. Let her talk it out. It’s good to talk things out. Gods he hoped Mrs. Potter was right.

She nodded and he pressed her on. “Go on, Dorcas. Go on and tell me what you can.”

The hand that had been laying against his chest clenched suddenly and she held tight to a fistful of his shirt. “Everyone was gone, Sirius. Brent came in. I didn’t think much about it when I heard his voice, he was always there. I’d just gotten out of the shower. I’d been swimming and had to wash my hair.” She was talking very quickly now, her eyes closed tight. Her voice was matter of fact as if she were telling him about a particularly boring piece of homework.

“I didn’t think anything about it until the bedroom door opened. He just stood there smiling at me. I had my towel around me and he just stood there smiling. Then he very calmly stepped into the room and closed the door. I remember hearing the click of the lock. None of it made sense, Sirius. None of it seemed real until it was too late.”

He had moved quickly. Grabbing her arms, he had bent them behind her back and pressed his mouth to hers. He’d been drinking. The warm heat of his breath mixed with the scent of the alcohol smothered her, pulling her breath away.

On her own bed. He had pinned her beneath him and forced himself on her. No one was there to help her. Alone in the house, no one was there to hear her cries. Even he did not seem to hear her crying and pleading for him to stop.

“I see it again and again before me everyday. I see his face everywhere. I feel his hands. I feel how it hurt, Sirius. How it hurt so much.” That was all she could tell him, all he could bear to hear.

Her story finished, she sat quietly in his embrace. Finally he felt her lips move against his neck as she whispered, “Say something, Sirius. Please say something.”

He tightened his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her forehead. He leaned back and looked into her eyes. “Dorcas, I won’t lie to you and tell you this doesn’t matter. It does, but not in the way I think you thought it would. This doesn’t make you bad. It doesn’t make you less. But it matters. It matters because I don’t want to hurt you. It matters because you matter.” Sirius placed his hand on her face, cupping it gently. “It matters because you matter and I only want to be good to you. If you want that too, then I had to know.”

He lowered his face telling himself to move slowly. He pressed his lips to hers and kissed her sweetly. Her hands came up in his hair and when the kiss broke she was again crying softly into his neck. “Tell me this is real, Sirius. Tell me you’re really reacting like this.” She pulled her head back. “I really liked you too. I really...” she took a deep breath, “cared about you and I was so afraid of how you would look at me when you found out.”

“I care for you too and I’ll look at you like this,” Sirius ran his thumbs in soft arcs against her cheeks as he gazed into her eyes. This wasn’t her sin any more than the sins of his family were his. He had done things he was ashamed of because he had done them. His eyes told her clearly, he found no shame in her for what others had done.

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