Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love in the Crisper

A writer who has a great female character brutally raped and then gives her no healing time on screen and no resource for that healing has tossed her in the crisper and left her there to rot like a 2-month-old cucumber.  Rape poisons relationships too and that character's relationship will follow, just like the 2-month-old tomato melting next to the cucumber.

Fridging a great romance throws the relationship dynamic into the shit storm that careens around the trauma of a rape, because the healing work has not been done.  Under this kind of narrative neglect the whole thing falls into chaos.  The center cannot hold unless you restore the center.

Then the romance itself becomes a twisted, rotting thing. 

The thrill that used to come from courage and tenderness of a great romance now is marked by the danger of a new sensationalistic thrill, for those who are not survivors of rape.  The "nail that has never seen the hammer" thinks the hammer is exciting and thinks itself unsmashable.  

A writer using rape as a shock device is counting on that double whammy: on the thrill aroused by fear, and then the righteous high of denial.

Fear and denial are the ingredients of rape culture.  We want to believe that we live in a just world and that we will never be victimized, meaning that victims must be at fault for their own horrors.  Stamping the fault for rape on the victim keeps us safe, because we will never screw up like they did.  We're in love enough with this denial to allow rape victims to be subjected to that attitude in our courts.  That's how rape culture is sustained.  

But rape culture is created over and over again in the public mind by writers, producers and media professionals who make a cheap device out of it.

Meanwhile, for survivors, the romance becomes permanently tainted by echoes of their own trauma and the injuries that never completely heal.

Now, the cheap thrill has left a deep scar in the subtext of a great romance. There is no way around it; you have to write the way through the trauma and darkness and back into the light of a functioning relationship.  If you don't make the journey to emerge, the shadow  taints everything.

Sick.  Chilled.  Twisted. 

Decaying in the dark. 

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