I’m literally sick over the news lately. I managed to get myself together to “escape” to the Echo Park library and spend an evening reading and listening to crime fiction, having good food and conversation, and then ... back in the car. Sick again.
I don’t know how to write about crime fiction while I watch people debate sexual assault everywhere around me and face the fact that, in a few hours, we will most likely see Brett Kavanaugh appointed to the Supreme Court. I don’t care what your opinion on his truthfulness is (I mean it, I really do not, and attempts to debate with me will result in you being ignored and removed from my life), I care that we still think women with nothing to gain and everything to lose are liars by default. I care that women are asking - begging for an investigation, and it probably won’t ever happen. The Amaerican Bar has asked for one now, but I can’t bring myself to have faith that it matters
I see this cycle play out over and over. A high profile man is accused of a sex crime(harassment, abuse, assault, rape, etc) people rush to his defense, women come forward to cut themselves open and lay our trauma out to be examined. We say “look! You know us! You trust us! If this happened to us and we behaved like this - isn’t it possible these women are telling the truth?”
The result of this retraumatizing, this painful relitigation? We quickly discover who we can trust and who we must be fearful of. We discover how many men seem to be hiding something terrible in their past because as they accuse women of not knowing the difference between a compliment or a cat call, “rough housing” or assault, we know they know us better than that. We know they know women aren’t that stupid.
I want to promote things and generate discussion about our genre but I can’t do it today. I’m looking forward, thinking about what I do if, in a few hours, a serial sexual abuser is given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. I am thinking about how I will care for myself and the women I care about. I am thinking about the men I know who have also suffered abuse and watch as it’s erased or ignored even though these events and constant discussions are triggering* and upsetting for them, too.
I can only ask that we be kind to each other. It might be the last line of defense.
*When I use this word I am always using it in the clinical sense.