In the interest of my readers (All one of you) the following may contain triggers for various fucked up shit. If you have experienced some fucked up shit, you might want to skip this drunken word slurry in favor of something more pleasant. (YouTube has some great cat videos.)
Today, Gwen and friends had to go to sexual assault training. This resulted in thirty males age 20-30 snickering through a video about a girl who was assaulted by a friend, and how it destroyed her life. Now, your auntie Gwen is a hard ass, but her girl Pip isn’t. Pip spent the rest of the day trying desperately not to break down crying at work while assholes made jokes and an array of insensitive remarks (Personal favorite was our boss reading that 1-in-4 females will be sexually assaulted, and quipping that since there were four females present, we were screwed. Jerks.).
This (And copious amounts of rum) have made me consider the issue of rape in fiction. Because I (And Pip) write some seriously fucked up shit. Pip’s is for therapy, but why do I do it? Why read comic books, with their long-standing tradition of ‘Girl-In-Fridge’? George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice, with more rape per square foot than murder? Anything Stephen King has written in the last five years or so?
Why is there so much sexual assault in our make-believe?
I can’t speak for everyone. I know there are people (male and female) for whom rape is a fetish. But that’s a fantasy of rape, no more real than Saturday morning cartoons. It’s for pretend. And while those people make Auntie Gwen very uncomfortable, they don’t explain the issue. They might be the readers, but they can’t all be the writers, because I don’t fantasize about getting raped (Living with Pip, I have to be careful saying that word).
So why, Gwen asked the empty stage. Why write about something that makes me so uncomfortable? Why probe at your own wounds? Why display them for others to see? Why would you do something that hurts that much?
And there (And at the bottom of the glass) is the answer I was seeking. The reason that we look into the scaberous, pustulent face of our own nightmares is because it hurts. Because it’s fucked up, because it makes us cringe and turn away. Not to stare at the freaks, but because the only way to master our fears is to strip them bare and chase them through the streets, howling obscenities. Things hiding in the dark are terrifying- a gargoyle dragged into the light begins to wither and die, squealing and thrashing.
Don’t look away, Gentle Reader. Don’t pretend this isn’t happening. Don’t pretend that you don’t know someone who has been sexually assaulted- you do. Don’t pretend that you don’t know someone who has committed sexual assault- you do.
One in four women and one in six men with report being sexually assaulted this year.
One in twenty males will commit sexual assault this year.
Don’t look away.