I am so happy to have Robin York here on Electively Paige today. You can see my review of her recently released New Adult Contemporary Romance Deeper, read more about it, and enter for a chance to win a copy over here. As you can probably tell from my review, I’m a pretty big fan. So, without further ado, here’s Robin’s post as she tells us all about what made her decide to write Deeper.
Why I Took on the Subject of Revenge Porn
I went to college at a small school in the middle of Iowa. My sophomore year, the student body was warned that a serial rapist had been attacking women at colleges in the Midwest. We were to be careful with our IDs, which functioned as key cards to unlock the dorm doors.
We were to be careful with ourselves.
Around this time, I stayed up late writing a final paper. The paper had been due at 5 p.m., but I didn’t get it done on time. I had the flu. I was dragging. I really wanted to get this paper turned in so I could sleep.
I walked across campus alone in the middle of the night to slide the paper under my professor’s office door. On the way back to the dorm, I saw a large man approaching from the other direction.
For a few seconds, half a minute, I was afraid.
Women know this fear. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, how smart you are, how careful. No matter how great you’re feeling, how confident, you will always size up strange men. You’ll watch shadows, walk faster past dark alleyways, gauge how far you are from the closest person, the closest telephone, your car, safety.
We’re told to do this. We’re taught to do this. We learn to do this, and it changes the landscape of our lives. We become infected with danger.
Nothing bad happens in this story.
When the man got closer, I realized I knew him. He was a football player, a friend of friends. He said hey. I said hi. End of encounter.
But I remember thinking, as I walked back to my dorm, how much I hated that I’d been afraid.
I hated that I couldn’t walk across my campus at night without fear, or without being worried I wasn’t afraid enough, or without thinking about how my actions were reckless and I could get hurt.
I hated especially that if this man had been the rapist—if I’d been raped—then I would have been blamed for it. Because I had done something “stupid.” Because I had made a bad choice, walking on my college campus, turning in my paper.
That night, I decided I wasn’t going to accept it. I wouldn’t stay indoors for fear of what might happen to me outside. I wouldn’t buddy up for my morning run, I wouldn’t choose not to live alone in London, I wouldn’t stop turning in papers at night if what I needed to do was turn in a paper at night.
And I would never accept hearing a woman was to blame when she’d been attacked and hurt by a man.
This decision changed my life, and it’s the reason I wrote a book about revenge porn.
If you’re not familiar with the term, “revenge porn” (also called “nonconsensual pornography”) occurs when someone shares intimate pictures of another person online without their consent. The stereotypical case is of an ex-lover sharing photographs of his naked girlfriend on the Internet on websites that exist for this purpose.
Yes. Websites exist for this purpose. Because people are vile.
Because angry men do this to women all the time, posting pictures of their exes with their names, their locations, comments on their bodies and their morals and what they deserve for being such stupid sluts.
It’s vicious and disgusting, and it’s not going to just go away.
Revenge porn is a form of assault against women. It sucks. And compounding how much it sucks, when revenge porn is mentioned in the media or even discussed in casual conversation, the focus is almost always on what the victims did wrong.
She never should have sent him those pictures.
She should have known better.
Everything you do and say on the Internet is there forever, girls, so be careful. Don’t be stupid.
Implicit in this message, always, is the assumption that if you somehow fail to protect yourself from the vindictive actions of a man you’re not even dating anymore, all of the fallout is your fault. If you allow someone to take pictures of you naked because you want to, or because you don’t want to but you failed to say no, or because you were asleep and he pulled off the blanket and snapped a few shots for posterity—if you send a hot selfie to the boy you love over a private phone line—you’re asking for trouble down the line. Asking for it. You’re begging to be assaulted, because you’ve trusted the wrong person.
Never mind that it’s impossible, in fact, to tell “wrong” people from “right” people. That men who will betray you, assault you, rape you, do not come wearing labels.
Never mind, because if you’re a woman, you’re never supposed to trust men without reservation.
If you’re a woman, you’re not supposed to walk alone in the dark.
If you’re a woman, you’re not allowed to have intimacy, to have sex without shame, to feel safe. Not completely. Not ever. And if you do and someone takes advantage of you, it’s your fault.
That’s what our culture wants you to believe, and it’s bullshit. Infuriating, asinine, ridiculous ubiquitous bullshit.
Trust is fundamental to our humanity.
Trust is the foundation of all intimacy.
Trust is absolutely necessary for love to flourish, and the urge to trust is in us. It’s in us particularly when we are young, because when we are adolescents and new adults, we seek love, partnership, intimacy, understanding. This is normal and healthy. It’s beautiful.
It doesn’t always work out. I mean, of course it doesn’t. We break up. We get divorced. We get angry. And when people are angry, they often violate trust. This, too, is part of life. It will happen. It happens everywhere, every day.
But when one person breaks another person’s trust, the person to blame for the breach is not the victim.
I wrote a book, Deeper, that makes this argument. It does a lot of other things, too. It’s a love story, a trust story, a beautiful story about coming into your strength, discovering what you want, and learning how to stand up for yourself.
It’s a story I had to write, and I hope you like it.
Thanks again, Robin, for Guest Posting! Also thanks to all who read her wonderful post! Don’t forget to add Deeper to your TBR list on Goodreads and pick up a copy. It’s such a great book and one that I know I will be on my mind for a long time.