Disclaimer: this post begins with candy but touches on many dark subjects including domestic violence, rape, verbal and emotional abuse, and our presidential election. At least one of those things should not be included in that list like everything is aces, yet there it sits, tied in with the others.
Today’s topic for the #WingWritingChallenge is a blessed one. I would be excited to talk about candy regardless – it’s something I spend time doing daily – but today it is extremely helpful.
I am a choco-holic. Part of our weekly shopping list simply says “chocolate”. It’s left ambiguous regarding what kind, but the point is that it is there. It can be ice cream, peanut butter cups, those delightful candies that melt in your mouth and not in your hand, or straight up pyramids of kisses. Sometimes it’s an actual Willy Wonka chocolate bar.
When the night is dark and full of terrors, I’ve found a peanut butter cup adds a distinct warm light that cannot be mistaken. Yes, at this point I am blatantly ripping off Game of Thrones. Why not? It’s a nice turn of phrase.
I consider candy to be its own food group. There are several different kinds I won’t eat – licorice comes to mind – but I definitely eat some regularly. Candy is a nice mood enhancer.
On to why I’m thrilled to write about candy today:
I’ve been doing a lot of research for my current work. I’m not checking facts and figures as those don’t play into what I am writing. What I am doing is reading various accounts of domestic violence; the occurrence, the aftermath, the recovery. I’ve been doing this for about a month straight now.
That’s some pretty dark shit to immerse oneself in. In Freedom’s Treasure there are two instances mentioned of DV. There’s a story from the 1860’s and there’s mention of it in the modern timeline. Our heroine in the current work was the victim of the domestic violence that was only touched upon lightly. I used it to demolish the character of the antagonist and give my readers one more reason to not like him and appreciate the protagonist all the more.
The violence itself is part of the story, but there’s more to it than that. Along with physical abuse often comes mental, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The power of words can be incalculable. And insidious.
We recently heard a tape of a presidential candidate using words that indicate he is a sexual abuser. He’s made it obvious he has no respect for women, period.
They’re “disgusting”, they’re “dogs”, they shouldn’t be seen or heard unless they’re a “ten” and even then, those women’s words are not listened to. And let’s not forget the newest horrifying phrase, “grab ’em by the pussy.”
When confronted with this, it becomes “locker room talk” or, my new horrifying favorite of “I never said that.” The I never said that thing is a pefect example of gas lighting. It’s a common tactic of abusers used to make their victim question if they are actually being abused or if it’s in their imagination, or maybe they deserve it because they’re stupid, or ugly, or don’t deserve anything that’s good in this world. And this shit works on victims. I just … I can’t … It makes me …
Why, America? Why? Why are we letting this man abuse us? Do we believe we can’t do better?
During the debate that came after the tape was released, I watched this candidate stalk the stage and essentially use his size and energy to try to intimidate the capable, intelligent woman he was debating – after he tried to gas light the viewers with, “I never said that.” Thankfully it didn’t work.
Regardless of if you think Hillary is a good candidate or not, at least she isn’t verbally, sexually, and emotionally abusing the entire population of the United States, and technically the world beyond considering our country’s status.
This absolutely terrifies me, this thing with the candidate. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am a woman who’s been abused in the past, but rather as a human being who doesn’t wish to see these attitudes enforced to our boys and men.
It’s these attitudes that make 14 year old women with large busts wish they could dress in a burqa (yes, I read a story about this just yesterday) so men two to four times her age don’t harass her on the street, bus, or at school. It’s these attitudes that enforce that if a rape victim hadn’t gone to that party and had a cocktail, she wouldn’t have been raped. If she hadn’t been wearing that short skirt that makes it so easy to “grab ’em by the pussy”, she wouldn’t have been assaulted.
The President is someone we should be able to look up to. They are supposed to be the moral advocate for our country. They should be held to a higher standard, and yet …
I was raised to respect the Office even if I couldn’t respect the person holding it. I had a hard time doing that when George W and Dick Cheney were in office, I won’t lie, but I did it and I used my votes to make it clear that I didn’t approve of our country’s agenda.
But now? NOW? This is far worse. My psyche reels back in a panic when I think that this man may influence our domestic and foreign policy.
When did we become a place where women are best seen and not heard – but only if they’re pretty and even then, the woman better know her place? Carly Fiorina wasn’t my favorite candidate, but she didn’t deserve to hear that her face disqualifies her to be President. Her record with Hewlett Packard was disqualification enough.
Not that this is equivalent, but we’ve had some ugly dudes as president and apparently their faces didn’t disqualify them. I certainly don’t remember anyone bashing Ross Perot’s looks as an actual reason he can’t hold the office. I mean, SNL and others made fun of him because he was basically a caricature of himself, but they never suggested he’d make a bad president because of his looks.
Rosie O’Donnell. Need I say more? Twenty years later and she was attacked again because … why not? She was being verbally abused for a very long time and everyone stood back and chuckled because it was “entertainment news”. But now this entertainment news is actually politically relevant.
Man, I make up some crazy stuff for my books, but I NEVER imagined something like this election happening nearly 100 years after women were given the right to vote.
#RepealThe19th as a trending hashtag makes me wonder what on earth could be coming next.
I’m going to build a blanket fort and raid my candy stash. There is not enough candy in this world to lighten up this darkness but, dammit, I’m going to try. Please join me and maybe tomorrow we’ll see the people who should be standing against this actually stand tall and say that this is not who we are.