The following discussion questions contain SPOILERS! Don’t read these unless you’ve finished reading FOR YOUR HEART!

These discussion questions are meant to start an analytical dialogue of issues in FOR YOUR HEART.  Not all the issues are dealt with here so try to look for more at the end of your discussion and feel free to leave civil comments!  This section is a work in progress and may be tweeked over time.

  1. What is consent?  Try looking it up online.  Try a women’s center website or a good assault and battery webpage.

This is how consent was defined by my Women’s Center in college:
"Consent" is an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent must be informed, freely and actively given. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement. The lack of a negative response is not consent. An individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or other drugs both voluntarily or involuntarily consumed may not give consent. Past consent of sexual activity does not imply ongoing future consent.

-Do you think that Roxel’s magic is similar to alcohol or a drug? 
-Do you think that Jeanette and Tamrin gave each other consent?  Even if they loved each other and would have eventually hooked up?

  1. Try looking up the different ways you can help a rape victim.  What do you think Jeanette could have done to help Celeste after Celeste admitted that she’d been raped?

  1. What do you think Celeste’s cousin and boyfriend could have done at the party to help prevent Celeste from getting raped?
Did you know?
The buddy system works miracles.  Try not to ever go alone to a party and likewise, always keep an eye on your friends.  And if they do find a guy to make out with?  Always check with them to make sure they’re sober and willing and always know where they are.

  1. What could everyone have done to prevent Celeste getting raped?
Did you know?
The more people there are in a room, the less likely people are to step into and help someone in need.  It’s a mob effect.  Don’t be part of the mob.  If you see something like someone putting something in someone’s drink, someone getting abused, or someone who is passed out and can’t help themselves DO SOMETHING.

  1. What could Celeste have done after she got raped?
Did you know?
More than half of the rapes committed never get reported.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the best thing any victim can do is go to a hospital and have a rape kit done.  It may feel like you just want to take a shower or crawl in a hole and die, but the best way to bring your attacker to justice is to collect the evidence that he/she did it.  Also, people at the hospital are trained to help rape survivors.  They can connect you with people who can help with the emotional trauma.

  1. What could Celeste’s cousin and her boyfriend have said or done to help Celeste?
Did you know?
Victim blaming is probably the worst thing you could do to a rape survivor.  Telling them they were dressed too slutty or were asking for it doesn’t help anyone and isn’t true.  Remember that rapists are the bad guys, not the people who are raped.  If you encounter someone who has just been raped, take them to a hospital, try to be as supportive as possible, and for heaven’s sake, don’t find reasons to let a rapist go, even if they’re your friend.

  1. Try looking up the phrases “victim blaming” and “slut shaming.”  After learning more about it, do you think that Celeste was “asking for it?”
  1. Do you think that Jeanette was fair to herself by saying that she seduced Tamrin?
  1. Now, let’s take a look at Tamrin.  Do you think that Tamrin is a victim of rape?  Why or why not?  Does the fact that he’s a male and Roxel is a female make a difference? 
  1. Do you think that, because Tamrin “sells” himself for favors it’s okay that Roxel did what she did to him?
Did you know?
About 75% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.  This can be a girlfriend or boyfriend, a teacher or coach, a family member, a friend, or even a husband or wife.

  1. Do you think Tamrin’s circumstances are fair or that he was put into a position where he felt like he had no choice but to become a “court whore?”
Did you know?
A good number of people who sell their bodies do it because they have no other choice.  When you don’t have the education or resources to get a good job, sometimes the only option is to use the only possession you’ve got: your own body.  This isn’t true for everyone, but for some it is.

  1. Since you’re the reader and you know that Tamrin had no other alternative but to sell his body and be sexually abused by Roxel, do you think that Jeanette is being unfair and hurtful when she calls him a “whore?”
  1. If Jeanette and Tamrin had been able to give each other consent and had engaged in intercourse, what could they have done to prevent pregnancy? In other words, other than abstinence, what are the best ways to prevent pregnancy?  How about preventing the spread of STIs?
  1. Do you understand why Celeste started sleeping around after she was raped? 
Did you know:
Many people believe that people who have been raped are not able to have normal sex and certainly aren’t able to sleep around like Celeste does.  This is true for some people but for others, sleeping around can be a way of coping or self harming.  A survivor of rape might feel that sleeping around gives them control over their sex life or they might feel like they are good for nothing better than sex.  For some, they are looking for love and protection.

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