Rape is rape, and a coerced marriage is rape. I recognize this. I also recognize that culture and circumstances will always be in play in such a situation. My protagonist in ARROWS OF HEAVEN faces a forced marriage at one point.
Now, rape occurs in some of my other books, mostly the Donzalo sequence. These are straightforward, violent encounters and do not require any special handling, other than to condemn the perpetrators (and off them later!). But this instance required a little more thought — more so, in that is narrated by the female protagonist herself. That’s a minefield I guy like me should have avoided, perhaps.
In the end, I decided both culture and temperament would lead Teme to take a rather matter of fact view of her choices, and decide that she could always get vengeance down the line. Of course, she plans to escape in the mean time! It seemed right for her character; another might have decided to slip a knife into the groom come the wedding night. Yet another might have used that knife on herself. And, it must be admitted, some would simply have accepted their fate. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to something like this.
Teme is a noblewoman with a quite high regard for herself. Her self-esteem would be likely to remain whole no matter what happened to her. So how does she ultimately deal with the situation? Well, I do think you’ll have to read the book to find out. Coming September 1, in case you have not been paying attention.