Writing Rape/Sexual Assault Part 1: Accuracy

Many of us have been victimized or affected by rape of sexual assault in some way, especially here in the US, where 1 in 5 women are likely to get raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. This is a subject closer to me than ever, since a friend of mine went through a brutal, violent rape just last month.

A lot of people want to evoke feeling and powerful scenes in their stories. I get that. Many that I’ve seen (and I was guilty of this myself when I wrote my story Misconception at 18) have done this by including a rape scene and having their character refer back to their past pain time and time again.

Here is a list of things I’ve seen in multiple stories vs. real life statistics. Truth be told, I was guilty of two of these when I was 18.

1. The perpetrator

On Wattpad: usually a college guy at a party or a random creep on the street.

Real fact: 51% of women are raped by an intimate partner, 41% by a friend or auaintence

2. Location

On Wattpad: happens at a party, a remote park, a back alley, or right on the street

Real Fact: the party fact is correct, but many victims are raped/assaulted in their own home or a friend’s home

3. Conviction

On Wattpad: the guy is usually found and convicted, is spending years in jail

Real Fact: Many victims (68%) do not even report their crimes, and even when they do, a measly 1% end in an actual conviction. These jail sentences are actually very short, many ranging from only 30 days to a little over a year.

4. Pregnancy

On Wattpad: almost 100% of the time, the victim is suddenly pregnant and wants to keep the child.

Real Fact: Many victims do not end up pregnant, statistics say only 3-5% of rapes end up in pregnancy. 50% of that small percent choses to have an abortion.

Again, research is super important. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how not knowing these facts can lead to offensive content in your story.

My Hate/Hate Throat Relationship

My throat has always seemed to hate me. I’ve come to terms with that, because I hate it right back. After all these years, it’s still giving me trouble.

When I was a kid I had frequent sore throats. As in, every month frequent. Not strep, which went away with antibiotics, but the viral kind, which resulted with many, many awful wasted swabs to the back of my throat and the usual, “Well, it’s viral. Take Tylenol.”

At first, for some reason my mom thought it was allergies. I went to the allergist at 11, had to face many needed and prongs, only to have it all be negative.

Finally in 6th grade I went to an ENT. My adenoids were getting removed, and everything was good until my tonsils got severely infected a year later.

I thought surely, no tonsils and no adenoids=no problems. Guess again. Food started getting stuck in the holes left by my tonsils. It also started coming out my nose.

X-rays, blood tests, barium swallows, nose scopes–no answers. At 16, I went to a world renown doctor at USF (who I will be ever grateful for) who solved the issue by teaching me exercises to strengthen my soft palate.

This past year, at 19, I’ve now been facing a new strand of issues that I can’t understand. I have symptoms for 2 weeks. Mild ones. I think I’m getting sick, but the symptoms don’t get worse. Then, when I do get worse, I’m in severe pain for 4+ days, compared to 1 or 2 like when I was younger.

This has happened 3 times. Each time it’s viral, my school health center refusing to give me anything until I go to a different clinic and get an antibiotic, which makes it finally go away. The first time was a bacterial infection. I don’t know about the other 2.

At this point I’m angry. I’m annoyed. What could be causing this? What could possibly make symptoms happen for 2 weeks? I don’t get it. I don’t understand. I just want my throat to work the way it should. I feel like it never will. Tomorrow I will be making a call to a different ENT. If u get an appointment I’ll keep you all posted.

When a Gameboy Kills

Picture this: you’re a college student who has just finished finals. You’re tired from packing and spent 4 hours in the airport.

Finally, you’re on the plane, ready to go home to see family. And just when it’s almost full, you think back to the sign before security that says “no lithium batteries.”

You look down at your bag, which contains a new, “vintage” Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP. Google says it has a lithium ion battery.

This was me last night: having a panic attack minutes before takeoff because I thought my Gameboy was going to explode mid-flight.

All I could picture was crusing at 40k feet in the darkness, then all of a sudden seeing battery acid leaking out of my laptop case, or a spontaneous fire forming at my feet.

I was so tempted to tell a flight attendant, “Hey, um…so I have a Gameboy with a lithium battery. Are we going to die?”

The plane was backing up from the gate. I was rapidly texting my boyfriend even though my phone should’ve been in airplane mode. He told me to breathe and calm down. I told him that me and my stupid Gameboy were about to murder 130 people unless I did something.

Moments later, a thought. “Wait. What kind if battery does my iPhone, (that I fly all the time with) have?” A quick Google search: Lithium ion.

So that was my flight yesterday. In this instance, I am granting you all permission to laugh not with me, but at me as well. Fly safe everyone.

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Beauty Standards Took 15 Days of my Life

I’m European. I’m hairy. American society doesn’t like hairy girls, though. Not on your legs, arms, fingers, stomach, or basically, any place but your head.

I started shaving my arms and legs daily when I was about fourteen. Because of genetics, I can’t get away with shaving once or twice a week like some of those lucky-thin-haired ducks out there. After getting an extremely hairy boyfriend, recently, I started thinking: if I was a guy and didn’t have to shave, how much time would I have saved in my lifetime?

Okay, so for everyone it’s different, but for me, it takes about ten minutes for me to shave in the shower, being careful not to end up with a multitude of cuts on my legs. This means I spend 3,650 minutes shaving a year.

In the past 6 years I’ve been shaving, that’s 25,550 minutes that I’ve spent SHAVING, which means that added together, I have spent a total of 15 ENTIRE DAYS OF MY LIFE SHAVING.

Over 50 years, if I continue at the same rate, I will have spent 127 days of my life shaving! This just proves how inconvenient beauty standards are. And to think, that is SHAVING ONLY. I don’t even want to know how many minutes/hours/days I’ve wasted with tweeting, waxing, and hair-straightening.