You see there’s something inherently childish about judging others by our own standards. Most children take people at face value. Most children don’t have a laundry list of nefarious plots. This is why we worry about kids being wisked off the playground by grinning strangers with promises of free candy and a pool full of puppies to play with.
I view people putting their bullying opinions out there like a flasher in the park. They run up, show you stuff that is none of your business to be seeing, for the purpose of making you feel uncomfortable. So, in my opinion, overt your eyes. Don’t be a voyeur to internet exhibitionism. They are trying to violate your boundaries.
I’ve heard the argument more than once that the fantasy worlds where sexual assault goes unpunished are just grittier than our own. It is war-time. People are living under constant threat. This is how it was in Earth’s dark history, too. While I do not argue with any of that, I would like to argue with the character development of these sexual predators. I’m not here to say we need to stop having sexual assault in fantasy. If it fits the story, write it, my brother! What I am saying is that we need to be mindful to how we treat our characters, specifically our sexual offenders in fantasy. We need to be mindful that we are being realistic, and setting the right character progressions for a person who is a sexual offender in fiction. What I’m calling into criticism is how I’ve seen some authors develop character arcs involving these characters.
I mean, in general, almost nothing bothers me in fiction, so long as the story demands it. I’m not sure if the story called for this scene, 100%, or not. I haven’t read his full novel, just that snippet. But, when it comes to issues of sexual aggression toward women, does it matter if the story calls for it? Are we, as fantasy readers, tired of this story? Should this story still be being written?