|Charity Bradford, author of Fade Into Me; image is property of the author|
Why Doesn't Ryanne Report Her Sexual Abuse in Fade Into Me?
My newest novel (Fade Into Me, an Urban Fantasy Romance) was released on January 21st and it touches on a sensitive subject. One we don't talk about, but many of us are afraid of.
Something happened to my character, and she thought it would be best to never speak about it. Many people will read her story and ask why wouldn’t she say something and get justice? Sadly, lots of women don’t report sexual abuse, just like Ryanne. Back in November, I found an online article that talks about Real Reasons Women Don’t Report Rape. I’ve summed up the top three reasons for you.
1. Even if you report a rape, you can never get back what was taken from you.
2. Two out three rapes are not ‘violent’ events. They are by someone you know—co-workers, friends, dates, etc. It often becomes a ‘he said, she said’ kind of thing.
3. Often, those types of rapes occur when a woman has put herself in a situation that is hard to get out of. Maybe they planned for a little flirting but the man doesn’t stop when she puts the brakes on. In cases like this, women often MISTAKENLY think they are to blame.
I wanted to share the story of one person that Ryanne is partly based on. When she was around 14 years old she lost her virginity to an older teen boy. She was hanging out with her older brother and some of his friends. She found herself in a room with one of those friends and they started making out. At one point she put a stop to things and left the room only to have her brother tell her she didn't have the right to lead a guy on like that. He then told her she had to go back in there and finish what she started. In my mind this was rape. Some would say, "Why didn't she just leave the house? She could have still said no." However, we are adults looking back at this situation. She was only 14 and not equipped with the skills to deal with this. And the truth is even adults would find this hard. She didn't want to, but she felt she didn't have a choice. Later she couldn't say anything because the guy became her boyfriend and they'd had sex many more times. Who would believe that she didn't want to if she did it again?
Ryanne’s story touches on several other things talked about in the article: Someone she knew raped her and someone she trusted knew about it. She felt like she had to protect the second guy and his future by keeping quiet. She thinks it was her fault because she agreed to hang out with them. It’s a lot of baggage to carry. It’s the kind of thing that affects the way you see love for the rest of your life. Ryanne’s lucky though. She finds a man who understands it wasn’t her fault. He’s impressed by her strength to carry on and knows she's worth every ounce of love he feels for her. He just has to convince her to stop running from her future.
For me, Ryanne's story is about Ryanne taking her life back. She's let the hurt, guilt and fear control her life. This story is really about her accepting that the rape was not her fault. That she has the right to be happy and loved.
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Summary of Links for Charity Bradford:
The Magic Wakes
The Magic Wakes
Some other links and articles about reasons rape goes unreported are here, here, here, and here.
Knowing why women (and men, for that matter) DON'T report rape is important -- it's important to understand WHY rape goes unreported. But how do we change this? What can we do to help those who have been raped reclaim their lives -- their senses of self -- their empowerment?