When I was writing Bartlett’s Rule I drew on a lot of experiences that my friends and I had growing up. According to statistics from RAINN “One out of every six American women has been a victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” My friends and I definitely knew the reality of that number.
In Bartlett’s Rule Paige is unable to talk about her experience, she feels shame and doubts that people will believe her. Even though she has gotten some therapy, it is hard to get past the guilt of being a victim — this is a very normal reaction and one which keeps many victims silent. In Bartlett’s Rule my characters learn that being a “victim” is not the victim’s fault, the story line also shows that sexual assault is not an act of love or even just healthy sexual desire, it is a show of force and control.
Recently the #MeToo movement has helped many women speak out and see that they are far from alone; it has also allowed some male victims of sexual assault to speak out as well. While there are many who have stated that “they are just coming out of the woodwork” there is a modicum of truth; finally victims who have remained silent all these years are speaking out. Facebook hosted so many comments containing the simple #MeToo moniker and there were a lot of discussions.
Still there are people who doubt, people who question about the movement inspiring over reactions. Some have even complained about being falsely accused of sexual harassment, people are worried about things that can be conceived in the workplace as improper, and still others who simply cannot fathom the amount of people coming forward. It is a difficult topic, too difficult to ignore. Perhaps one day when folks are more aware of their own actions and words, when they are more respectful of others’ feelings, and they are less judgmental about what types of clothing were worn or where someone was walking we may be able to weed out the over reactions, reduce the incidents of abuse, and help to heal victims without any shame or guilt.