TW: Rape, Sexual harrassment, unwanted touching
Living with the scars of the past is hard. It takes courage to even tell others about the experiences that haunt us even after years of therapy. Sometimes however as writers we have occasion to come across these same things in our own writing, whether we meant them to appear or not.
A few years ago I was sexually harassed by a guy over a period of nine months. I was in college at the time and had my first job in what I thought would become my career. I was just trying to make more friends when he asked me if I wanted to have sex with him the second time I went to his apartment. I honestly should have bolted right there, but I didn’t. Of course, I didn’t know what would happen next.
Over the course of that time I developed immense amounts of anxiety as his advances continued and he ignored every time I said no. At the time I didn’t even know this was sexual harassment, I didn’t know it could happen to guys.
Eventually this grew into terror that he would grope me or get sick of my denying him and drag me into his room and do things. Because of the situation I didn’t feel like I could get away from him, and I didn’t tell anyone for a variety of reasons.
Finally I did and it was a quick trip from the last text to student services and therapy. The school handled the situation amazingly and I got the help I needed.
I’ve been a writer for years, in some ways writing has provided an escape from my own thoughts and allowed me to get away from my head. I have however had occasion to brush against related topics from time to time in one work or another. I actually wrote a dear john to my abuser recently just to get my emotions out, though I’d never send it to him even if I knew how. And I’m glad I don’t.
Writing about your trauma is hard. Even this blog post was tougher to write than I thought, but it can be healing too to confront these subjects and face them head on. That Dear John and this post have drilled home the importance of self-care, where sometimes you just need a break from your own head and in my case I’ll go watch a few episodes of an anime, all other work can take a back seat.
I have a friend though who writes about their trauma in their books more frequently than I and isn’t triggered by a lot of it. This can depend a lot person to person and the only thing that decides this is your personal level of comfort, not any kind of external pressure. Trauma is a touchy subject for anyone who has experienced it, and facing it in writing can feel harrowing, but managing to do it in spite of your fears can also be liberating.
Book Blogger @ Tyler Richter Blog
Tyler is a book review and writing tip blogger who spends his free time blogging, writing SFF stories, digging into his endless TBR pile and taking care of fish. He also spends an inordinate amount of time on twitter where he talks about books, writing and anything else that comes to mind.
- Signs of Attraction, Representation and Me
- Writing Mental Health and Physical Illness
- Review: The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci
Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where twice a month diverse book bloggers will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog.