I wrote this as a comment to a post by Loren, but wanted to preserve it, so I'm reposting it here, with minor editing. The topic is the rape of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis. I can't speak from any personal experience on the topic, just that of a reader and writer.
The rape isn't what the story was about. Rape was a device to show how despicable Light was and he had to do something that despicable to get the heroes to do what they did so the storyline could be set into motion, the whole vengeance thing from the villains and it also explained why a nasty like Light and some others became caricatures of themselves. I thought some aspects of the story could have been handled better, but overall, I thought it worked. If Sue or any other character had been horribly killed by Light, THAT would have screwed up continuity far more than Sue not acting like a character who had been raped. It's far easier to assume she got counseling between published stories featuring her and Ralph.
Rape or any other aspect of the human condition is, IMO, a fair subject for writers and as long as a comic isn't being targeted for children, I have no problem with such a story being in a comic. Adults read comics, too. Back in the '70s, comics took a realistic turn after the campy '60s, and a lot of people bitched and moaned that comics were supposed to be fun. Well, there's room for all sorts of comics I like to read a variety, in comics and in books.
I suppose someday, when people are less squeamish, ie the men in charge and who do most of the writing, we might see the scales balanced with male rape storylines. We've already had Grant (Damage) confess to Roy (Arsenal) on an outing with him and Lian that he'd been abused growing up in the Titans book that preceded the new Outsiders. It was a powerful scene and has as much a place in comics as seeing how a group of heroes reacted to a loved one's assault. That there was a division, an argument, over what to do to Light, showed how real and individual those heroes are.
There's always a danger in retroactively changing a character's history, but in this case, it worked for me. More than ever, I can admire Sue. I am far more upset with her death than I was with the rape. And yet, her death propelled Ralph into a major, powerful role in the DCU in 52. Much as I wish Sue hadn't been killed, I can appreciate it from a writing standpiont for what it's let the writers do with Ralph. And maybe someday, a female hero will lose her significant other, preferably male, so we can see this in reverse. But good writing is good writing and and some point, we have to move away from looking at everything that happens to a female character as showing a writer's bias or misogyny.
What would the reaction have been if it had been.... Well, it is hard to find the opposite couple, isn't it? The female heroes aren't as plentiful and their significant others, if they exist, aren't civilians. Dinah had Ollie, a fellow JLAer. Diana had no one at that point, nor did Zatanna. That's where things need to change. More female heroes so we can have as many story opportunities for them to show all aspects of their personalities.