The statistics are staggering, and heartbreaking. According to Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) an American is sexually assaulted almost every two minutes. See https://rainn.org/statistics. Which means by the time you are done reading this blog post, at least one child, woman or man would have been violated in the worst possible way.
Lady Gaga gave a moving (a bit tad over dramatic but it doesn’t take away from the song itself) performance of “Til It Happens to You” during the Oscars. It was the theme song for “Hunting Ground,” a documentary on abuse. The most moving part of the performance was when some survivors of sexual assault walk out on the stage, then held hands. Each one had messages written on their arms. One said “It’s not your fault,” another “Unbreakable,” another “Survivor.” I still get teary remember that montage because it was so evocative and so true. As an aside, the movie Spotlight, also about the abuse of children in Boston by Catholic priests won the best movie category.
There is no doubt the crisis we face as a society of how sexual abuse not only continues to happen but how many victims still sit in the proverbial dark, alone and many suffering in silence because of our culture of shame.
My two WIP I’m working on involves heroines that have suffered abuse. One suffers from emotional and mental abuse, and one is a rape survivor. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have experienced neither of these. So I want to be extra sensitive on how I write my heroines’ journeys. For both of these heroines, and for the stories, I want to emphasize, not just their survival after the abuse, but how they thrive. I want and hope to show their journey towards healing, empowerment, and a life that is full, in spite of their personal tragedies. This is what I wish and hope for, that every victim finds some peace, some healing, because the abusers already take so much from these victims, I hope they don’t take away their ability to find a way to heal and to triumph over them.