Elimination of Stigma for Rape Victims? In Victorian Literature or Otherwise?

I’m doing a paper on Dracula, and I am struck by how Stoker handles Mina at the end. She has been symbolically raped by Dracula, and expresses the stigma* several times by proclaiming herself “unclean.” She even carries a Hester Prynne-like marker, a blister on her forehead where Van Helsing has burned her with a consecrated host. When Dracula is destroyed, however, the stigma is lifted. She is “pure” once more, and takes her place as a perfectly respectable wife and mother.**

Are there any analogs to this in other creative works, especially those contemporary with or predating Dracula, where we see the stigma of rape utterly removed by killing the rapist or by other means? I’m not as well-read as I should be, but I’m more used to works like Tess of the d’Urbervilles or Titus Andronicus where the rape stigma is seemingly inexorable.

My thesis doesn’t hang on this point by any means, and I don’t need an answer fast. This is just something that struck me, and I know where to go when I need fellow warriors in the fight against ignorance.

*I’m using the term broadly here to mean either social, spiritual, or physical injury. If there’s a better term, I’m open to suggestions. I may be accused of begging the question that Mina’s attack is a symbolic rape, but, AS THE ATTACK IS DESCRIBED IN THE NOVEL (not any of the adaptations), I literally cannot interpret it any other way.
**There are alternative readings, of course, including that Dracula is actually Quincy Harker’s father, but I’m taking Stoker at face value for these purposes.

In “Ivanhoe”, Ulrica burns down Front-de-Boeuf’s castle with him (and her) inside.

Medieval women saints who were sainted because of their virtue often expressed that virtue by killing themselves or mutilating themselves in ways to prevent or hinder (they didn’t always succeed) impending assault or rape. They’re often considered virgins regardless.

These are what I’m used to. She’s been raped, so she’s sullied forever. Dying is the best thing for her.

This is what happens to Lucy in Dracula, but Mina is purified when the big daddy vamp bites the dust. Is Stoker unique in this up to 1897? Are there any other aversions?

Yeah, Richardson’s Clarissa is a classic example of this, though perhaps with some “stigma erasure” in the form of being adored for all-around saintliness once safely dead.

See also: classical mythology of nymphs etc. turning themselves into a tree or something to avoid being raped by a god.

In the Forsyte Saga, Soames rapes his wife Irene, but there was relatively little stigma as such applied to her. They soon split, and Irene later married one of Soames’ cousins. They had a son, who fell in love with Soames’ daughter by his second wife. The son broke off their engagement, however, because his father told him that such a marriage would be too traumatizing to his mother (Irene). She and her son then went off to live together on a farm on the other side of the world.

Not sure where I was going with this. I guess she was carrying around some unresolved trauma. She wasn’t a saint. Those books were weirder than I’d remembered.

Also, not 'zackly Victorian, and don’t know if it’s even rape, but…

In the Lord of the Rings backstory/universe, are we to understand that Celebrian (Elrond’s wife, Galadriel’s daughter, Arwen’s mother) was raped by orcs when they captured her? Narrator only says “torment”, but surely that would be the go-to torment for orcs with an Elven woman.

In any case, the story says she was so traumatized that she had to leave Middle-earth and go back to the Undying Lands. But I didn’t pick up on any indication that she was considered disgraced or stigmatized in any way. Of course, maybe rape wasn’t actually involved and my morbid suspicions are off base.
Speaking of morbid, while poking around in the history of English literature for examples of the OP’s topic I encountered for the first time a plot synopsis of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, and I would just like to say: fuuuuuuuuuuuck. :eek: :eek:

In The Marquise of O (1808) by Heinrich von Kleist, the heroine is raped and becomes pregnant. She is initially stigmatized by her family who don’t believe her innocent, but ultimately winds up married happily-ever-after to her otherwise “respectable” rapist.

Which is more than Lavinia could say.

[I’ll see myself out … ]

I think that’s the general consensus, but the Professor was of course too genteel to say so directly.

According to Tolkien’s notes, an elf that was raped would probably die from the trauma. Which is either a classic “sullied forever” thing, or it’s because for elves sex = permanent soul bonding, so the victim is being raped physically and mentally. Or both.

OMG, we saw a stage production of it once that involved fake blood. So much fake blood. Who’d have thought the young girl to have had so much fake blood in her?

It was fabulous.

As to recoverability of virtue after rape: this is so taboo that, though I’ve read a lot of Victorian novels, I can’t think of a case in which a major character is forcibly raped. There is of course lots of rape by coercion, but that coercion represents a choice on the heroine’s part (even if it was really no choice at all). Such a woman could later marry her coercer (see Pride and Prejudice, Lydia and Wickham) and theoretically regain respectability, though people would remember it for a long time.

But Victorian women of high social standing–the kind novels were written about–were zealously protected. They were never alone outside private homes, and often not inside them. The kind of rape that happens quietly in a dark corner by a family member or friend was hushed up, and I can’t remember such a thing in any English novel of the time. It would just be too much. The woman wouldn’t say anything; nor would the authors.

So…that’s all I have. I’m following though, for the inevitable person who comes up with an example I couldn’t think of.

I know from experience that you don’t need to make blood squibs nearly as big as you think you do.