So I'm planning to start a blog where I write about sexual abuse, sexual harrassment and also domestic violence. Pretty heavy stuff right? That's why I'm here for advice. I'm worried that people don't usually read or want to read such heavy stuff. Honestly, I cant read for long too because I feel I'm not doing much to help the cause. Being a victim of child sexual abuse I feel the need to write this blog but I also want to make it seem somehow different. Something which gets people to want to read it and make it memorable and not just dismiss it. I initially thought about writing some flash fiction...but again wouldn't it just be a sort of repetition? I mean, I'm not sure. So if you've read so far and if you've ever come across an article or just something on these themes, and you've found them to be too monotoned, like maybe a reporter reporting the case and you've quickly forgotten about it...What changes would you recommend? Is there a better way you can suggest to present stuff on these themes and help the cause? Let me know. Writing this blog is really important to me. It took a lot of courage for me to finally get around the idea of starting the blog. Everytime I try to give up, I tell myself that doing this will help me get a piece of myself back. Also, I'm cool with absurd and wierd ideas (not too weird though). Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance :)
A couple of thoughts.
If I see a book or a movie that is advertised as being about an unpleasant subject, sexual abuse or racism or Nazi concentration camps or whatever, I generally avoid it. It's certainly not that I condone such things. Of course they're bad. But that's the point. I know they're bad. I don't want to wallow in the misery of it. I don't need to be reminded how bad they are. I already know. So I'm not really interested in reading a novel or whatever that will remind me of how terrible this thing is. It will just make me depressed. Which leads me to ...
I've been involved in various political and social causes in my life. After some debating in my mind, I think I won't name them to avoid getting into a side debate about whether I was on the right or wrong side of each of these issues, let's stick with discussing your issue. Let's just call them A and B.
Anyway, I noticed that when I attended meetings of groups advocating A, the discussion was all about how terrible the current state of affairs was. Speakers would talk about how bad it was. They'd explain why the current state of affairs was bad and why we need change. Attendees would discuss why our ideas were better than opposing ideas. The members would sit around and complain about how bad things were. Everyone would get very upset and depressed. And then the meeting would end and they'd go home.
In groups advocating B, on the other hand, the conversation was always about, What can we do to change things? What kind of laws could we propose to fix the problem? What kind of laws could we actually get passed versus proposing laws that would promptly get voted down and accomplish nothing? How could we get candidates who were on our side elected? Which candidates should we support? What sort of advertising campaigns should we conduct to convince the general public? How could we influence the media? Etc. We almost never discussed why the current situation was bad and why we wanted to change it. Everyone there agreed on what was wrong and what needed to change, so there was no point discussing that. The only time we'd talk about such things was when we were talking about how to influence the general public.
Group B was far more successful at creating change than Group A.
Do you see where I'm going?
I don't think there are many people out there who think sexual abuse is a good thing. You probably don't need to devote much effort to convincing people that sexual abuse is bad.
Maybe you need to convince people to be motivated enough to do something about it. There are lots of things in the world that I think are bad that I have never done a thing about, because I devote my resources such as they are to issues that are more important to me. As one person who doesn't have a lot of money or political power, it's hard enough for me to make a difference on one issue, never mind on every issue that's out there. So you have to convince some number of people that this issue is important enough for them to make it the issue that they will work on.
Second, talk about practical things that they can do. Give money, perhaps. Volunteer with organizations working on this issue. Whatever.
The typical approach is to personalize the issues. Stalin is reputed to have said, "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." Although he was clearly a monster, his point is still valid that that we as human beings are much more able to deal with the concrete particulars of a single human being than we are the abstraction of the masses. So make your points with stories about individuals. Then we are energized.
And as one of the other commentators mentioned, the stories that call for action resonate with people. You do not want your readers to huddle in the darkness in fear of the ugliness in the world. You want them lighting fires and carrying torches out into the darkness to attack the monsters. So tell stores about people who had a problem, took action, and achieved a good (or at least better) result. Then we have a path upon which to expend that energy.
Finally, if you can introduce some simple, focused principles that serve as background of these stories, all the better. Here is the "shining city on a hill" that represents the envisioned future. Here are the steps that take us from the here-and-now to the what-it-should-be. Here are the stories of specific people who have taken those steps and gotten closer to that city. Then we understand the choices that we have to make.
In some ways, this is all too simplistic; reality is filled with subtle shades of gray. A cautious blogger recognizes that there are nuances, exceptions, and complications. A proactive blogger ignores most of that most of the time. A wise blogger realizes that they are more cheerleader than in-depth analyst. The task is to get the folks moving and then (and only then) to fine-tune the steering.
Ok. So I've written some stuff on my laptop but I haven't published it yet. I've written stuff like: what would I want my 8 year old self to do to my abuser (mostly drive a knife through his heart and become a child murderer) not kidding Or another one: Here's why I want to slap my 12 yrs old self..... and a few more stuff about how I could go back and change things. It's mostly my anger that's being reflected in my writings. But I don't want the blog to be about my personal stuff.. because I know I'll run out of things to say.. and seriously not everyone will be able to read such stuff...So how can I write stuff that people who have experienced it can relate it and the ones who haven't can still ....enjoy the read no that's the wrong emotion...maybe not get too sad and still feel empathetic? I hope that makes sense. Or maybe I should think of something other than blogging?
You might want to consider type of traffic and level of engagement you are looking for. If you prefer to write peacefully in relative obscurity, you can use a platform like wordpress.com or blogger.com and turn off comments. On the other hand, if you are looking for community and engagement you could use a platform like medium.com which has a very active community of sexual abuse and assault survivors.
I for one, like most people I believe, almost never read personal blogs. If you want your experience to be read, instead of just writing for catharsis, a novel is one of the few options. There are two main axes you can explore: the victim's or the revenge fantasies's.
That's the most straightforward, relate your story. The difficulty is to make us care enough for the character to be touched by what happens. It may also be hard to translate the event into a novel plot structure and length and particularly to be original.
Use that rage to create an avenger character. For instance, something like Dexter with a pink skirt and garden shears, especially if you can bring in dark humor. Or darker, staying with your idea of a child murderer, maybe the abuse left her a sociopath and now she trolls web sites and isolated locations acting as a honey pot to Lure and kill abusers, peds...
Sadly for you, and for the state of the world, similar stories are very abundant and need quite an original approach to interest the reader. However, many authors have used the depth of their trauma as a source of inspiration. Even when the author's characters don't specifically mention it, that gravitas of life experience makes them more real, more complex, deeper.
“Taking the kernel of that experience and turning it into fiction was a way of coming to terms with what had happened to me.” – Barbara Boswell, author of Grace