Child Abuse & Spouse Abuse Reference Tutorial

Sexual Assault, Child Abuse & Spousal Abuse - We do not allow descriptions or depictions of sexual or intimate violence. Allusions (i.e., to refer to in a historical context [ definition]) to sexual assault (including attempted assault) are permitted so long as the references are not graphic or glorifying in nature. The same rule stands for abuse. Child and spousal abuse are defined as physical abuse and/or excessive emotional abuse. Stories containing references to such themes must be rated M and carry the warnings for Strong Violence and Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme.

The following is an example of a story containing child and spousal abuse references that would be acceptable for validation because the story does not show any actual depictions or descriptions of abuse. A historical context of abuse has been created for a character, yet there have been no graphic descriptions, just allusions to the abuse.

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“I love you, Mr. Tonks,” Andromeda giggled, pouring another glass of sparkling cider and dancing around the honeymoon suite of the rather bland, ordinary muggle hotel. She was absolutely breath taking in her long gown of white satin, her hair tied back in a fancy plait, woven through with golden ribbons.

Ted grinned as he regarded his beautiful, perfect, luminously lovely bride. “And I love you, Mrs. Tonks. Or do you prefer Mrs. Black-Tonks?” He frowned a bit. “You don’t prefer Ms. Black-Tonks, do you? So many muggle women go by Ms. these days, but I don’t care for it much, myself. It just doesn’t seem right, not for a married woman.”

She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. “Never say that name again,” she insisted, her tone bordering on strident. “I loathe it. I’m not a Black any longer. And I’m not sure that I ever really was. I was always such a disappointment to my parents – it hurts a little that they didn’t come today . . . not that I expected them to.”

He had pulled her close and planted tender kisses on the top of her head, on each of her eyelids, the tip of her nose, and finally, her pale pink lips. “Then you’re not a Black,” he murmured, kissing her again and again. “You’re a Tonks. A respectable and solid family name, if I do say so, myself. And I promise you, I’m going to be the best husband in the entire world.”

Slowly, the tension began to ease from her body, for she knew that her new husband was a decent man – chivalrous and with more honor in his left pinkie than any man she had ever known before. He would be a good husband, she knew, and should they ever be blessed with children, a good father. She had chosen well, for she had sworn a unbreakable vow before she was old enough for her first broomstick, that if she ever married, it would not be to a man like her father.

That day was forever imprinted upon her mind.

Andromeda had been six years old, sitting at the dining room table and drawing pictures of Quidditch players, longing to be far, far away from here. Her mother Druella was in the kitchen, chopping tomatoes and garlic and the air was thick with the scent of simmering spaghetti sauce. Blithely, she had continued coloring until something, some instinct told her to drop the gold colored crayon and sink beneath the table, which wobbled as she bumped the unsteady pedestal on his way down.

“Goddammit, Druella!” Her father had roared, flinging open the door from the mudroom. He stank of smoke and a funny drink that Andromeda knew was called Fire Whiskey. From his demeanor, it was clear that there would be no meat for dinner tonight, for it was not hard to see that his paycheck from the Ministry had gone up in a cloud of nicotine and booze-scented smoke – as it often did.

Druella had backed against the tiny wood stove, wringing her hands fretfully. “Oh, Cygnus,” she whispered, “You promised you wouldn’t, you promised! You promised my father!”

He had stalked her around the tiny kitchen, chasing her as she skittered across the uneven floorboards like a baby rat, until his frustration grew so great that he picked up the giant cast iron saucepan and hurled it directly at her. She had ducked easily, dodging the boiling projectile, which impacted dead center on the plaster wall, forming a cracked dent that dripped with the blood of three dozen half-ripe tomatoes

“Oh, Cygnus, you know you shouldn’t drink . . . Cygnus? Cygnus? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. It’s my fault, I’ll clean it up, I’ll get that miserable house elf to patch the wall and paint over the stain – Cygnus? Cygnus, what are you doing?” The voices grew fainter as her parents disappeared into their bedroom – her mother still wringing her hands and following her father.

Bellatrix was already settled under the table, her legs tucked awkwardly under her lithe little body so that she was completely hidden by the shadows. In a rare showing of solidarity, the two little girls had clutched each other for comfort.

“Cygnus, no, why do you need your wand?” Druella tugged on the end of his wand, trying to loosen it from his grasp, but he pushed her aside easily and she fell to the floor. “Please,” she whispered, knowing that he wasn’t listening and that he didn’t care. “Please. Don’t hurt the children this time.” And she cringed and wrapped her arms around her knees, shivering in her everyday robes, as Cygnus took aim at the wall and fired at Druella. Two spells: the first went wide and broke the window; the second singed the hem of her robes.

Down the hall, the baby began to cry. Barely six months old, little Narcissa had already learned to sleep through yelling and arguments, but the sound of dueling was a new disturbance in her unsafe and tumultuous world and the staccato of hexes and curses peppering the kitchen wall awakened her from her nap. Unfortunately, it was a sound she would hear again, a sound that Cissy would strongly associate with her childhood, although she was the luckiest of the three Black sisters, for her elder sisters would take the brunt of Cygnus’ anger. Lovely, angelic looking Narcissa, with her long silver-blonde locks, they had coddled and protected from the worst of Cygnus Black’s wrath.

Andromeda and Bella, they were not so lucky, and for the rest of their lives, their backs would bear the scars from the hexes of Cygnus’ thick mahogany wand. Bella had worn those scars like a hair shirt, but Andromeda had done her best to ignore them. She had tried to hide them with concealment charms and cosmetic potions, tried to pretend that Cygnus Black had not done lasting damage, but deep down, on levels she was too afraid to acknowledge existed, she knew she had been fooling herself for all these years. Not all scars can be seen or felt, and despite her protestations that she was not a member of the Black family, nor had she ever been . . . the past could not be changed.

She gazed into her husband’s eyes and bravely smiled. No, the past could not be changed, but the future? The future was a great adventure, yet to be written.


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