You think of her as strong. resilient. untouchable.
But – she was touched. She was hurt. She was violated.
And for the first time – the very first time – you think, just maybe, “Wonder Woman” can lose. Wonder Woman is fallible; Wonder Woman is broken.
And it’s a lie.
It’s a sham.
But for that one agonizing moment, you did believe it.
As a writer, we do not have the luxury to believe bad marketing. As [great] writers, we do not have the luxury to write bad marketing. We market only in the truth. The first step to compelling storytelling is to be real. And what’s real isn’t always sugar plum fae-ries. Sometimes it’s raw and comes from a dark and unpleasant place. But that’s what your readers expect and need from you. They need your darkness, just as they need your light. So don’t fall for the hype.
Those who have been raped and sexually assaulted are not victims. They are survivors. They may have lost something in that battle, but the war is far from over. I’ve begun to write a character who experiences this trauma herself because it’s the only way I know to positively filter out my feelings [other than this blog]. Can I be honest with you? I was sideswiped this week, and it was not a great feeling.
You know that hopeless, rug-pulled-from-under-you feeling I’m talking about.
There have been so many articles, blogs and news stories about rape culture and the nature of sexual assault and misconduct in America. There is NO rock you could have been hiding under to miss the overwhelming flood of reports over the past few years about the horrific acts of powerful media moguls, famous athletes, college sports hopefuls, teachers, high-ranking military personnel, and even trusted, childhood heroes. For most of us the most disheartening part is the knowledge that these public, frequent events are not even the tip of the iceberg. We know that there are more out there, have always been and our fear is that they always will be. However, the truth is that news travels in fast, and old news travels out faster. In our society, anything constantly in our face annoys and alienates us, especially when it’s sad or psychologically probing. The only thing most of us can fill our brains with nonstop are cat videos and reruns of “Finding Dory.”
[via tumbler – itslolit-a]
“Out of sight, out of mind” is more than just an old Merriam-Webster quote. It’s the continual salt bath we throw on society’s wounds. It’s the sore we won’t allow to heal. Understanding this helps us understand why we allow this cycle of subjugation to continue. Oh, and just so you know the scope of this epidemic in our country: It’s not just the subjugation of women. Sexual assault checks all boxes: men, women, trans, children, adults, elderly, poor, rich, free, incarcerated, military, civilian. Anyone who is a person can be a victim. According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization) someone in America is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds! That’s insane. It gives that opening song from “RENT” a wayyy more sinister vibe.
That’s 321,796 people a year.
That’s inexcusable. Yet a fact that most of us go all day without thinking about. To be honest, this post has taken awhile to be written because I’ve gone the past few days thinking of little else.
To put this in perspective: While over 300,000 people is a terrible amount, it’s still less than 1% of the US population. It’s actually less than 0.5%. So I [and many of you] have been blessed that it’s never truly affected my life in any direct manner. It has saddened me. It has made me write a few Facebook posts. But it has never rocked my core. Until it happened to my Wonder Woman.
Until a beautiful, majestic, divine goddess that I love and have looked up to forever admitted that she is a survivor of rape. And I do mean a survivor.
Unlike many of her fellow servicemen and servicewomen who pop pills and pray for dreamless nights where they don’t wake up with gunshots, blood, or bombs, she pops them and prays to not dream of someone who should have protected her back in combat. A person who was supposed to be her support behind enemy lines, not a combatant on American soil sharing a United States Marine uniform.
My Wonder Woman was taken down from the inside.
And the helplessness I feel is smothering. The anger and disgust at his actions makes bile rise up in my throat. I want to cry, but I can’t. I want to scream, but I won’t. All I can do is write about it. Express to the world my outrage that monsters I always knew about live among men.
I’m expressing my horror that I knew – I knew – and I only had “philosophical debates” about this until my inner sanctum – my Hall of Justice – was infiltrated and hollowed out.
My Wonder Woman was raped. 5 years ago. By a supposed brother-in-arms. She got help, but she never got justice.
So, I’ll write her a story about justice. It may mean nothing to anyone today. It may not change a thing today.
But the power of the written word lies in tomorrow.
I ask all my fellow [and new] writers to uplift someone you may or may not know. Write a poem, a letter, a note, a story, anything. Let our survivors know that we stand with them. We mourn in anger with them, but we also fight with them. If you are a survivor, then tell us your story. Write for the brother or sister or friend who just experienced this 98 seconds ago, what you wish someone had told you.
Post it here with our community in the comments.
It doesn’t have to be sugar and pretty. Just let it be real. Let it ring with the truth.
And be free.