This is a rant, so if you don’t want to read about abuse, rape, legal injustice, then STOP right here. Do not enter this black moment.
A new thing lately is the bully romance. Did my chin hit the floor that this is a thing?
This is how it’s described: Bully romance is where the heroine falls for a hero who is a bully. He may torment, tease, belittle, or deride the main character and others in the story. He is dark and brooding, possessive, and doesn’t know how to express his feelings properly.
aka – a dark romance.
FFS. Enabling things like jealousy, possessiveness, aggression? It perpetuates the myth that men are allowed to be this way, and from the opposite side of the spectrum, that it takes a good woman to change him. I’m sure you know my response to that crap. It’s not a story about empowerment through change – it’s an excuse for bad behavior. It horrifies me.
I imagined a big, fat, heavy cake to throw in the face of the bully in the trope story, and it got me thinking …
Remember the #MeToo movement? Did it achieve anything?
I know them’s fightin’ words, but I’m not seeing a change from the world-wide event that carried that hash-tag.
Are people more enlightened? Is the world more understanding? Is the legal system picking up on the needs of the people it purports to serve?
That last one, that’s the kicker. In the guts, that is.
So many stories, so many broken people (usually women and children, but so much is hidden that we may never know the true extent).
I watch the legal lists (is it to check if any of the foster-kids went back to the old ways? Not at all).
I see the allegations. And the sentences. I see the cost of the failures in that realm (yes, I use that word with stern deliberation to indicate the kings on their little hill-forts looking down on the plebs).
I see something that raises my hackles to full-on, red-rimmed rage.
A judge allows a defence lawyer in a rape case to ask questions that an average person in the street would respond to with a frown and ask, ‘what does that mean?’ And yet, in a court situation, where a man or group of men are charged, their counsel is allowed to demean, diminish, and browbeat the person bringing the action. A 17-year old girl was the last case I noted. The opposition (enabled by the judge) asked questions that had no way to answer either yes or no without looking like an idiot. They blamed what she was wearing by encasing a non-question into a hundred-word tirade against her morals.
The girl did better than I would have.
What happened there was not right. It’s a legal matter. The questions need to be able to be answered, so they need to be understood, or it cannot be allowed as a question. If the question is ambiguous, it isn’t a question, but a tactic, and if the law is to benefit the good, the right, the weak … well, you get the essence of the underlying desire for common sense, I hope, and the need for a question to be understood by the average person in the street.
In a way, we’ve become inured to these moments. We like to think the world is better than it was.
But then it happened; a comment was heard in the rooms of the defendants – let’s go with the ‘girls with skirts raised run faster than boys with pants down’ argument. (How did I hear about it? Do I know people who do matters at court? Yes, I used to work within that system, not as a legal person, but as part of the administration.)
Oh, boy, instant enraged. If I’d been in that corridor, what would I have done? And it shames me to think I may have done nothing. Not when I was part of it. And no one did anything this time, either.
And then I realised.
Nothing in the #MeToo movement is new, and nothing will change until the people who instigate their will by force are dealt an appropriate blow rather than a slap on the little finger (in the above case, one guy got off, and the other got a few years, but due to time served, it ended up a few months!).
This is where the problem lies. Not with the general people out there in the world, but with how the legal system applies its own form of justice that is not what the people want or need to instill a sense of community.
For every person who’s abused, raped, battered; for every child whose pain carries through into the community, there is a cost that’s too high to ignore – but the legal system does ignore it, and even perpetuates the myth of justice through inaction and verbosity that says nothing of substance.
In 1990, I read a study that included police records and social welfare records about child (sexual) abuse. Very specific. The numbers (this was one city) were bad, but one comment made the numbers so much more than bad.
Those numbers: one in five girls under the age of 12 report sexual abuse, and one in nine boys. There are other reports, but they seem to fade without ever getting the air-time they need to show how deep it goes.
The comment at the end of the report indicated that the reported cases were only those that went further than an initial inquiry. If they included the count of cases where the parents didn’t pursue the matter, the numbers were substantially higher. It wasn’t stated how much higher, but gave an estimate of reported cases being only ten percent of initial inquiries. One unnamed comment (I paraphrase) was that all the sex that’s sold is done by those who have suffered from this abuse because that’s the only thing the person has that is of value, and it’s a way to punish those who use their body by making them pay.
The social services comment on the end of that implied family shame as a reason to not pursue the matter to the courts, that it would damage reputation, that everyone would see the family (not just the victim) differently.
So it’s swept under the carpet, carefully hidden. Until, that is, the victim tries to become a normal part of society and fails. Then they get blamed again for not following the social rules, including the unspoken rules. Like the comment about the ‘raised skirts’ which is still so rampant in the attitudes of the males who think anything smaller, weaker, or lesser than them is nothing of value and can’t be allowed the expectation of justice.
Why do we have so many people seeking psychological help? Why do we see so many people who can’t cope? Why do we see so many suicides? Why do we see the broken people as a separate issue, rather than try to find the cause and deal with it?
It isn’t hard to find the answers. Just peel the edge of the icing away, see that it hides the filth of the so-called legal system (I won’t call it justice, not ever again, not when a judge blames the victim rather than the perpetrator).
My call to the world is to change the system. Start with the punishment to fit the crime. If it’s against a child and the risk to the child is a lifetime of trauma (which, if not dealt with appropriately, may cause the child to become an abuser to give back to the world what was given to them), why not give a life sentence to the perpetrator of the crime? (or give the right of punishment choice to the victim or parents.)
The icing of the legal system hides the rotten, centuries-old cess-pit suet-cake of entrenched abuse that ensures the downtrodden remain that way.
It’s time to cut that cake and shove it down the throats of the bullies, abusers, and bastards who disempower others.
It’s time to take the bully trope in romance stories and cut them to shreds because what they do is perpetuate the myth that it’s okay. It is not okay. It will never be okay.
Take the #MeToo movement and put it into the system as a real thing, not a few words in a social media setting. Make the law fit the needs of the people, remove the overblown words of those who obfuscate the meaning behind the law. Make it real. Make the lives of all those who have been through the bastardry of legal bullying, of being unable to speak because the law is not going to help them – yes, give them a voice that is heard and acted upon.
And do it now, before the up-swell of rage creates a completely new world. One way or the other.
End of rant. Tomorrow, I may return to my human form, but don’t count on it. And I apologise for any errors, mispells, etc. I still have a cast over the right wrist, fingers and thumb – a full-blown lefty for a few more weeks.