While on the topic of rape, I did some random reading on the subject and ran into this very interesting tale about the rape of the Sabine women by Romans. More interesting, still, is the above ‘sequel’ to the rape as painted by Jacques-Louis David. Apparently the women flew into the midst of the warring parties along with their children and implored them to cast off their weapons. They’re said to have offered themselves and their children as sacrifices in order to prevent the battle. After this intervention, the Sabines and the Romans reconciled their differences and set up joint rule.
You can read more about it in the Wikipedia entry and its references. Fascinating stuff.
Also interesting is what you can do with paintings of this sort as a writer. Very few paintings afford a view of men, women and children in such extreme, violent positions. Just describing the scene in words itself ought to be a worthwhile exercise, and if you’re looking for a bigger challenge, you can always pick one of the mothers as a point-of-view character and dash off a scene of narrative.