YA Romance Authors Need to Stop Glamorizing Sexual Assault/Harassment

I’m sure that we have all read a Young Adult romance novel where the main character, most likely a female character, was put in a situation where she was man handled, catcalled, or needed to be “saved” by the male love interest.

(To clarify, I’m only only referring to YA romance novels that do not have a focus on assault or harassment. I am calling attention to the YA romance novels that use these actions only as a plot point to strengthen the relationship between the damsel in distress and the hero.)

I’m tired of it.

I’ve read countless scenes in YA books that glamorize sexual assault or harassment and authors need to stop this. The majority of these scenes are not necessary to the plot and are only added so that the male love interest can swoop in and be the hero.

In addition to these scenes being pointless, most authors only write the assault or harassment to the degree that the female character isn’t “actually” harmed, just shaken up a bit. The male hero comes in to save the day before anything too awful can happen to to the damsel in distress. How convenient.

Then, as if being assaulted or harassed is a normal thing, every character (including the victim) seems to magically forget that the event happened within the next two or three pages.  These scenes aren’t realistic, appealing, or necessary.

These scenes glamorize real life assaults. In real life, not every victim has a love interest that can enter the scene right on time to rescue the victim. Not every victim can forget their assault before the next chapter. Not every victim has a happy ending.

These scenes that are so casually put into YA novels desensitize young women into thinking it’s romantic to be saved from an assault or harassment. That being objectified makes you desirable. That these scenes are actually trendy.

It also categorizes males. Young women are taught that males can only be aggressors or heroes. In all the YA romance novels that includes these kinds of scenes, the male is never the victim.

Assault and harassment are not tools for authors to use to strengthen a bond between characters. These are not actions that authors should normalize or glamorize. These are actions that have consequences and effect a person from the inside out.

Let me know your opinions on this issue in the comment section below.





3 thoughts on “YA Romance Authors Need to Stop Glamorizing Sexual Assault/Harassment

  1. Taiwo B. says:

    I totally agree with you. A lot of YA novels and “chick-lit” novels have this concept. A “dominating” guy who to me seems abusive and controlling is shown as the ideal partner. It’s very irritating. It’s one of the reasons why I haven’t read 50 shades of grey. Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a novel that explores sex slavery and abuse to men. It’s really long but at the time I read it, it helped me understand and accept that men too are sometimes abused and that it’s very wrong and dehumanising.


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