Created By: DarthLinaNovember 8, 2011 Last Edited By: ChaoticDreamsMarch 8, 2012

BadAssRapeVictim

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Rape is horrible. In Real Life, rape victims often suffer a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder called Rape Trauma Syndrome, which has a broad range of symptoms and takes a heavy toll on those who suffer it, emotionally, mentally, and physically. And once sexually assaulted, a person is more likely to be assaulted again because of the changes in their behavior. In some of its worst cases, victims find themselves unable to function in society at all, becoming shut-ins or prone to flashbacks and anxiety attacks.

But not in fiction! In fiction, a victim of rape is likely to become more Bad Ass than they could ever achieve if they hadn't been raped in the first place. Sometimes, the rape serves as a means of achieving Bad Ass status because, after all, only the weak can't protect themselves from sexual assault. In these cases, it's usually multiple rapes (because one just wouldn't be enough to learn anything from), and the "training" phase usually ends when they kill or otherwise avenge themselves against their rapist.

Don't expect the Bad Ass Rape Victim to have more than superficial flaws or difficulty regarding the experience; those difficulties that stem from having been sexually abused will never inconvenience anyone but their Love Interest for very long (unless it finally drives them insane) and mostly serve as a means to further a dramatic moment or ensure that the character is both a sympathetic victim and a strong hero.

In its least thoughtful forms, there's the implicit message that the rape was really the best thing that ever happened to them: after all, the rape is the reason they're such a Bad Ass now, so obviously it worked out for the best, right?

A subtrope of Rape As Backstory, related to Rape As Drama.

  • Janissa of Conan, who was raped repeatedly by demons until she could learn to defend herself.
  • Guts of Berserk, who was sold as a prostitute by Gambino for Donovan's use; he later gets revenge on one and kills the other in self-defense.
  • Sakura Matou of Fate Stay Night spends most of her life being a sex toy because it'll improve her magic circuits.
  • Nakago of Fushigi Yuugi, whose powers manifested as a result of his mother's rape and was repeatedly raped by the Emperor of Kutou, uses this as his motivation to become a god.
    • Likewise, Soi, who was a child prostitute.
  • Red Sonja was approached by Scathach because she was raped, and thus became a Bad Ass swordswoman.
  • Genkaku of Deadman Wonderland, who wouldn't be a Super Monk if he hadn't been raped as a teenager.
  • Ryuuko of Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest, who after being raped repeatedly ends up the poster girl for Axe Crazy at fifteen, and kills her rapists.
  • Ten'i of Ikki Tousen kills her sexually-abusive father and is acquitted, only to be raped again later by school bullies.
  • Sadako of The Ring, who only began to use her telepathic abilities as a weapon after being sexually assaulted.
  • Melinda in Speak who fights back against her rapist Andy after he attempts to rape her a second time. In the movie she blinds him.

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • November 8, 2011
    DorianMode
    This one seems to be more complete, see if you can get rid of the other one.
    • Boa Hancock and her sisters from One Piece may be subtextual examples; they were slaves, playthings of wealthy nobles, but other than branding and being forced to consume devil's fruit, anything else that happened to them is only implied. As for the badass, well, she's now known as the Pirate Empress, so there's that.
  • November 8, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Jodie Foster in The Accused?
  • November 8, 2011
    captainpat
    I dunno about that last line. That's a damaging accusation to say that it's an implicit message of a work
  • November 8, 2011
    Statalyzer
    I agree with captainpat.
  • November 8, 2011
    BOFH
    Now, there's a title that you don't want to make a punctuation error in...
  • November 9, 2011
    Koveras
    ^ Indeed. :D

    • Mistle from The Witcher novels started off as an aristocratic young lady, but was gang-raped by soldiers who sacked her family's castle and was "reborn" into a vicious highwaywoman and a deadly sword-fighter. Also, this experience turned her into a Butch Lesbian, as Ciri is quick to find out.
  • November 9, 2011
    Statalyzer
    I agree with captainpat.
  • November 9, 2011
    Omeganian
    Mord-Sith training seems to include rape as a matter of course.
  • November 9, 2011
    TrustBen
    Katee Sackhoff played a hardened rape victim on an episode of Law And Order. She was suspected of murdering her rapist when he got back in touch with her, but turned out to be a Red Herring.
  • November 9, 2011
    Shnakepup
    • Lisbeth Salander, from Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is raped several times by her legal guardian. She later enacts sweet, sweet revenge on him: the next time he attempts to rape her, she tasers him. While he's unconcious, she strips him naked and ties him up. When he wakes up, she forces him to watch a video she had secretly taped of him raping her. After the video is over, she then holds him down and forcibly tattoos "I'm a rapist pig" on his chest and tells him that if he ever attempts to harm her or threaten her in any way ever again, she'll send the video to the police.

    Not sure if this counts:
    • The Bride in Kill Bill. She was raped, and was certainly a badass, however the rape occurred while she was in a coma.
  • November 9, 2011
    captainpat
    ^ No Kill Bill doesn't count. She was already badass before the coma and rape.
  • November 9, 2011
    TrustBen
    Yeah, the Kill Bill example falls more into Mugging The Monster.
  • November 9, 2011
    Koveras
    Rape And Revenge is closely related.
  • November 9, 2011
    jatay3
    Gretchen in Sixteen Thirty Two. Not only did she become a Badass she recovered from her trauma during one night with her rescuer.
  • November 9, 2011
    LiberatedLiberater
    Fujino Asagami from Kara No Kyoukai regains her sense of pain during her rape encounter and subsequently recovers her ability to telekinetically bend objects... and people.
  • November 10, 2011
    NetMonster
    I think the last sentence can stay in. There really are Unfortunate Implications in this trope.
  • November 10, 2011
    captainpat
    ^ of course there are Unfortunate Implications but saying there's an implicit message in a work is a completely different, much more purposeful thing. I doubt any of the examples are trying to convey the message that rape "worked out for the best" because the being badass isn't an improvement in a lot cases. If you look at the examples very few of these character's lives have gotten better.

  • November 19, 2011
    LeighSabio
  • November 19, 2011
    surgoshan
    • A Victim Of The Week in Law And Order SVU didn't get justice in her first appearance; the rapist got away with it. However, she shows up in a later episode and helps another victim kill the rapist and then confuses the evidence (with bleach) so the police can't possibly prosecute either of them.
  • November 20, 2011
    Cider
    Rape Makes You Tougher maybe. By God if badass isn't the most overused ill defined term on this website.

    If someone who suffers rape, gets over it and lives their life as before with maybe more caution by without much stress beyond that you'd be hard pressed to argue they aren't "badass", same with a rape victim who becomes a console for others or works to have further cases prevented but they wouldn't be what this trope is trying to describe would they? But then maybe this concept is too narrow as it is already? I say we just include anyone who the story shows was toughened by the experience, regardless if they better at defending themselves from physical assaults or go out for revenge.
  • March 8, 2012
    ChaoticDreams
    Melinda in Speak who fights back against her rapist Andy after he attempts to rape her a second time. In the movie she blinds him.
  • March 8, 2012
    Treblain
    We're trying to cut down on Badass being used unnecessarily. How about Empowered Rape Victim, or would that give the wrong impression?
  • March 8, 2012
    pawsplay
    Empowered is the wrong word. And I think the tone in the description is a little too arch for the subject matter. I'm trying to figure out what the most important element is that separates this from other badass origin stories. Is Tough Rape Victim too laconic? Are these characters Revenge Driven Rape Victims, or is that too specific? Does it have to do with masculinizing the character, since becoming a rape victim is feminine and weak, but becoming a weaponized rape survivor shows strength?
  • March 8, 2012
    reub2000
    • Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) reportedly took his anger over being raped in a prison out by shooting police officers. The rest as they say is history.
  • March 8, 2012
    pawsplay
    Well, this would cover a backstory, even if they turned into a regular badass instead of an Omnicidal Maniac. But Rape And Revenge does cover everything for revenge driven rape victims.
  • March 8, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    The low-budget porno film I Spit On Your Grave features a woman who goes after and murders the four men who brutally raped her. A particularly memorable scene involves seducing one of them in a bathtub, pulling a hidden kitchen knife from under the bathmat, castrating him, and then going downstairs and calmly reading a book while he bleeds and howls for mercy upstairs.
  • March 8, 2012
    pawsplay
    Both of those examples fall under Rape And Revenge

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