This one may be hard to read, folks. It deals with the issue of violence against women in daytime. It is relatively graphic though not explicit. You may want to come back for the next entry, if the topic is more than you want to handle right now:
Imagine being in the safest place you could possibly be in – your own home. It’s the place you go to shed the weight of the world. You may have fallen in love while living there. You may have raised your children there. Your summer meals are eaten on your back patio – allowing you to enjoy and cherish each cool breeze. When it rains or storms and the winds are blowing, you watch from the comfort of your window with a cup of strong hot tea. Some nights you pop popcorn, throw on a movie, and just unwind. Home is good.
Imagine every wonderful experience you’ve ever had in your home and as you’re sitting there thinking about it, you look up. There’s a stranger standing in front of you. It’s confusing because it’s your living room, and you know he shouldn’t be there. How and when did he get in? You know from his expression that his presence isn’t accidental. You know, as he moves toward you, that his intent is to do you harm, or worse. The anger in his eyes makes you fearful won’t survive what is about to happen. You wish you’d called your mother and your children that morning when you had the time, but didn’t because you thought you’d have time to do it later. In the dark place you don’t want to go, you pray that they aren’t the ones to find you.
When he first hits or grabs you, you stop breathing. You pray that it’s a nightmare, and start to convince yourself that it can’t be real. Your cup of tea is still sitting there, warm. The television is still on – and the characters on your favorite program are laughing and joking. How can you still hear the sound of laughter while feeling such pain and fear? It doesn’t make sense.
The sound of your own crying and the sting of your own tears makes you hate yourself. You feel betrayed. The tears make you feel weak and you’d always thought that you would be stronger -fight back, if it ever happened to you. It all makes him seem even more powerful in that moment. There’s that little voice inside of you tells you to listen, and look, and remember everything you can. It will all help you help the authorities catch him, if you live. Maybe you should scratch him, or grab something of his that will leave a trace to prove he was there. The sight, and the sound, and the smell of him makes you ill and you can’t do it. The survivor’s voice tells you to get through it, whatever it takes. The survivor’s voice tells you that it will be over soon so you start to think about something or somewhere else… this is not happening.
When it’s over, you’re supposed to be grateful for having survived it. You’re supposed to be glad that he’s gone, whoever he was. You pray that you never see him again, but your pain is so great that you almost begin to pray for your own death – anything that makes it all go away. You’re not sure if you want to survive. “You’ll be ok”, they tell you. “It may not seem like it, but you’ll be stronger when this is over”. No matter what they tell you, you know what you feel.
Imagine, if you will, that when he’s caught, you find out that the person you’ve loved, or tried to love but has only ever despised you and faulted you for her own life failings, is the reason you looked up to find a stranger in your living room. She’s the reason he was there to violate you. She didn’t tell him to do it, she only told him that he should pursue you, you’re ‘that kinda’ girl. She tells him how to gain access to your home. The ultimate betrayal.
All for display – Epic FAIL
That, dear readers, is daytime in a nutshell. Writers at all ages/decades of entertainment write based on what they understand the ‘truth’ to be at the time they create their works. The truth they seem to keep ignoring, as I see it, is that women are tired of violence against women. PERIOD. It’s not entertaining to us, even when it’s supposed to be educational, because we’ve lived it all too often. If it hasn’t happened to us, it’s happened to our friends, our sisters, our mothers, our aunts, and sometimes our grandmothers. We’re tired of watching daytime writers craft ‘rape’ storylines and then treat them as if they have no meaning – that rape survivors move on and live their lives without the context regarding their assault:
DAYS – Sami not only had children with her rapist, she’s now defending him as a ‘changed man’ despite the fact that he’s violated her since the rape. The writers apparently decided that they liked the ‘chemistry’ between the victim and her rapist and have decided to downplay the fact that he held her at gunpoint and then threatened the life of her fiance to force her into having sex with him. I’ve written enough about this travesty, I don’t think I could stand to address it again.
GH – Elizabeth Webber, who’d worked so hard to rebuild her young life only to continue to throw it away on illicit affair after illicit affair and is now the mother of three children with three separate fathers, none of them involved in the lives of their children – so far. This storyline could have been tied back to Elizabeth’s rape, that she never fully adjusted and that no one noticed her still fresh scars, but no. The idea is that Liz is just willfully self-destructive without cause. Her life is just charmed, but her morals are weak. What a waste of a character and a storyline. The most I/we can hope for is that Lucky becomes the father of two of her children (forgeddabout Jason) and that Liz is allowed to deal with her assault and refocus her life on herself, not the men in her life who treat her like something they own and then discard at will.
BnB – Brooke Logan Forrester. While the BnB is not alone in writing follow up storylines for rape victims that are disheartening and improbable, the BnB is the worst. Stephanie Douglas (Forrester) has demeaned Brooke in a manner far worse than any man ever could. She’s called her ‘whore’ so often that it’s shocking to me that the writers haven’t changed Brooke’s name to reflect Stephanie’s constant name calling. Stephanie is the woman who facilitated Brooke’s rape by sending Andy Johnson after her. Afterward, Stephanie admitted that Brooke wasn’t a ‘whore’, that she never was, and that she didn’t deserve to be raped by Andy, or treated poorly by her. That lasted a few months, maybe a year.
Brooke had to ‘trade’ her evidence that Stephanie facilitated the rape by using the letter with Stephanie’s admission of guilt for her brother’s freedom. Storm shot Stephanie to protect his sister Donna (a sad, stupid, and sick move on his part). Being a “free” woman she was free to return to being violently misogynistic toward the Logan sisters. She was free to pimp her own son, using his drugged and alcohol fueled condition to force him into bed with Brooke’s rival. She is FREE, period, when she should be in jail many times over for her acts of violence and attempts at murder.
Her freedom has led to one more tragedy. She’s facilitated Beth Logan’s death. The Logan sisters are now motherless. Storm is dead, their mother is dead, Brooke still lives in the home where she was raped – she still bears the scars, and Stephanie will continue on. It’s hard to believe that the writers can allow one woman to cause so much human misery and not understand that for some of us, when we look at this character, we still see the woman who lacks remorse for the sexual assault of another woman and who keeps inflicting pain on her.
For all daytime writers, these are words on paper.The characters aren’t real so the actions aren’t that serious. For many women and some men, these are scenes linked to painful very real episodes in their lives. In the end it is ‘just a soap’. We get that, but why take the most painful and hurtful things that could happen to a person (murder and rape) and treat them as mindless entertainment? You can’t ‘undo’ the ill treatment of serious issues by adding a PSA at the end of an episode. You can’t continue to heap insult upon injury and expect the rest of us to keep watching.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Click the RAINN logo above for more informatin. Help be a part of the solution!