Tag Archives: rape

We Become What We Read

BookWingsSoarJust finished reading a book that at first glance appears to be a fun-to-read, graphic sex, romance novel. On closer inspection, however, the book is revealed to be a #novel that portrays women as weak and childlike and not only embraces but glamorizes some very damaging myths about women and relationships between men and women.

The Synopsis of the Subject Novel: A werebear cub is found in a woman’s house. The child/bear has obviously been abused. The clan leader, a very large, male werebear arrives at the woman’s house and demands that she turn over the child so he can “reunite the child” with the child’s uncle. The woman refuses to turn over the child because when the child heard his uncle’s voice at the door, he peed himself in fear.

The clan leader is so taken with this woman that he “and his bear” (his bear gets a lot of blame in this novel for violent behavior) decide they have to get her to stay at his house though she has said “no thanks” a couple of times already. Using his physical strength, he scoops up the now-changed-back-to-child werebear and starts to leave the woman’s house. When she protests, he tells her that he is taking the child (and she is human and therefore no match for an adult werebear) and if she wants to continue to be with the child to provide nurturing she will have to stay at the clan leader’s house.

For the sake of the child, the woman goes with the clan leader to his house for the clearly expressed purpose of taking care of the child. The next day, the clan leader, without the woman’s consent, has his brother break into her house and gather clothes and other necessities for her to continue staying at the leader’s house. The woman is angry when this fait accompli comes to her attention, but the leader successfully uses “his hot sexiness” to sidetrack her anger. After all, women are unable to continue to focus on complaints or issues if the man uses flattery and attention to distract them.

The leader continues to pressure the woman to have a sexual relationship with him. Though he stops short of forcible rape, he does climb naked into her bed in the guest room without her consent and refuses to leave her bed. Throughout the early part of this book, it is made clear to the reader that the leader intends to relinquish the child to a very possibly abusive male relative simply because “it is what is expected since the child is the only heir to the male”, though this is contraindicated when considering the child’s welfare. However,in order to placate the woman and entice her to remain at the leader’s house, the leader continues to foster her belief that he will assist her in keeping the child with her where the boy can receive the nurturing he needs. (His mom and dad were murdered shortly before all this and the child is only four years old.)

Throughout the novel the clan leader pushes more and more intimate contact–just short of forcible rape–with the woman though she is, at best, unsure, and at worst, makes it clear she wants him to desist. Her “no” is ignored.

Every time she attempts to leave his house, he makes it clear that he won’t allow her to take the child though he knows the child is better off with her. She continues to remain at the house for the child’s sake.

Early on in the book, the clan leader frequently loses control of his temper and begins to change into a werebear with the clear and express purpose of committing violence toward others, including members of his clan and his own brothers, for very minor infractions. Each time this occurs, ONLY the WOMAN can “soothe his savage beast” and thereby halt his violent behavior.This statement bears repeating: She is responsible for stopping his violence.

Eventually, it comes out that if she stays with him it increases her chances of maintaining care and custody of the child. She is prepared to do that; and, of course, over time and exposure she finds the man “hot and too tempting to resist.” At the end, she realizes she can’t live without him and “begs him to claim her”.

The problem with this story is not the graphic sex which is consensual and well within reason as far as roughness, and so forth. No, the problem is that this book puts forth these erroneous statements:

  1. When a woman says “no,” it really means “yes”. All the man has to do is continue to insist that she does what he is telling her to do.

  2. A man’s coercion by using the safety of a child to force a woman into a position she declines to be in, is very acceptable.

  3. A man can continue to ignore and override a woman’s decisions about her own life because the man knows what is best for the woman.

  4. A man is right to keep secrets from a woman if it is, in his estimation, better for her not to know XYZ, even though the XYZ affects her life tremendously.

  5. In stressful situations, women will always faint and need to be carried to bed and tucked in like a child. Also, they will need physical rescuing as they are unable to even use a gun in their own defense.

  6. Women are responsible for keeping men from escalating in their violence toward others. Women must “soothe the savage beast” in order to keep others safe.

  7. There is a happily ever after as long as the man is in charge. He only needs to pretend he is consulting her about her life and only tell her what he believes she should know.

These are myths about relationships, men, women, intimate communications, rape, coercion, use of children to force women to do what a man desires (this all too frequently occurs in divorces!), that need to be shattered beyond repair!

As long as literature, movies, television, and music continue to glamorize these #myths and make the actions they represent seem like the “norm”, unhealthy relationships will continue to thrive. As much as we may not want to admit it, what we watch, read, and listen to, affects our subconscious minds and implants either healthy or unhealthy beliefs.

  1. Healthy relationships respect both parties. Communication is used to facilitate respect.

  2. “No” means no. Stop. Desist. Do not continue. Not wanted. Unless it is a solid, non-coerced “yes” then the answer is “no”.

  3. Children should never be pawns in adult relationships.

  4. Women are NOT responsible for men’s violence. Men are responsible for controlling their own violence.

  5. Each person–be they a woman or a man–have the right to make their own decisions about their own lives. No one knows what is “best” for another person because we are not the one living that person’s life.

As an author, I am not only obligated to write entertaining stories, it is also my responsibility to dissect what I write and to determine its probable impact on others. I have a clear commitment to write stories that bring about positive change and which glamorize healthy relationships.

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STOP! We Need Strong Female Characters

front cover artemis (One of my favorite book covers)
http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

So here’s a quick questionnaire for filmmakers who’ve created a female character who isn’t a dishrag, a harpy, a McGuffin to be passed around, or a sex toy. Congratulations, you have a Strong Female Character. That’s a great start! But now what? Screenwriters, producers, directors, consider this:”

I decided to compare my books to this standard to see how my strong female characters rate: (also please remember that my protagonists are all female)

1.“After being introduced, does your Strong Female Character then fail to do anything fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot? Anything at all?”

My strong female characters, even the secondary ones, always have a reason for being that is significant to the plot.

2.“If she does accomplish something plot-significant, is it primarily getting raped, beaten, or killed to motivate a male hero? Or deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero? Or nagging a male hero into growing up, or nagging him to stop being so heroic? Basically, does she only exist to service the male hero’s needs, development, or motivations?”

Even though some of my female characters—protagonist or secondary–are raped/beaten/kidnapped it is to advance the plot; not to advance a particular character.
Interactions in life are about the two people who happen to be in the same “story” as the other one. As in Street Harvest when Eleanor Hasting is kidnapped–she is in that position because of her personal beliefs.
I don’t create characters who primarily are there to motivate others. I don’t think life of a strong woman allows for that type of relationship, and all of my women are strong in their own way.

Street Harvest

3.“Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?”

NOT LIKELY!

4.“Is a fundamental point of your plot that your Strong Female Character is the strongest, smartest, meanest, toughest, or most experienced character in the story—until the protagonist arrives?”
Since my protagonists are female, I will answer this in regards to secondary strong female characters: no, the women I write about are complex, capable people who make mistakes, suffer and learn along with the protagonist who also suffers and learns.

5.“…or worse, does he enter the story as a bumbling fuck-up, but spend the whole movie rapidly evolving past her, while she stays entirely static, and even cheers him on? Does your Strong Female Character exist primarily so the protagonist can impress her?”

Dawn Samira, secondary/supporting character to protagonist Sergeant Nita Slowater, would really laugh at this one! Dawn has been called lots of things, but static is not one of them. She is Nita’s biggest cheerleader—as Nita is hers–but they grow together.

6.“It’s nice if she’s hyper-cool, but does she only start off that way so a male hero will look even cooler by comparison when he rescues or surpasses her?”

I love novels where the characters are not so much rescuing each other as they are growing together. These are the types of novels I write. Like in Run or Die when protagonist Jaz Wheeler interacts with supporting character Aretha Hopewell, both women come out better than at the beginning of the book. Learning and growing is a cooperative endeavor.
http://www.amazon.com/Run-Die-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00KV8BK5A

7.“Is she so strong and capable that she’s never needed rescuing before now, but once the plot kicks into gear, she’s suddenly captured or threatened by the villain, and needs the hero’s intervention? Is breaking down her pride a fundamental part of the story?”

The only pride that gets shattered is the pride of the bad dudes! My protagonists and her supporting characters, kick the bad dudes butts!

8.“Does she disappear entirely for the second half/third act of the film, for any reason other than because she’s doing something significant to the plot (besides being a hostage, or dying)?”

Even my hostage in Old Woman Gone, Grandma Greene at 85 years old does not sit back and wait for rescue. She acts on her own behalf and on the behalf of others.

“If you can honestly answer “no” to every one of these questions, you might actually have a Strong Female Character worthy of the name. Congratulations!”

Yep, I think my female characters rank among the most complex, significant characters in fiction.
To read the entire article from which this standard was copied, go to: (it is well worth the time to read!)

http://thedissolve.com/features/exposition/618-were-losing-all-our-strong-female-characters-to-tr/

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Sexy #Vampire Novels from #Mystery Writer

How does a mystery writer wind up writing a sexy vampire series? Isn’t that a bit far off the beaten murder path?
Yes, and no. In my writing, I adhere to a specific underlying agenda.
Sketch of a Murder2 ebook
http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

front cover artemis
http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

My agenda is to 1. entertain 2. enlighten 3. encourage and 4. empower women. Every novel I write must do these four things. (Those of you who know I am part Native American, probably suspected that there would be four–a sacred number–parts to my agenda! LOL!)

  1. Entertain: Every book I write–whether is a part of my Special Crimes Team mystery series or part of The Vampire Wars series or a stand alone literary novel–must first entertain the reader. Does it hook the reader? Can the reader identify with, and/or care about, at least one of the characters?
  2. Enlighten: What could possibly be enlightening about a mystery series or a vampire series?
    With each novel that I write, I attempt to challenge some long held beliefs or to bring some bit of knowledge to the reader. In Sketch of a Murder, Special Crimes Team, I shine a light on how the perpetrators of sexual violence against women and children all too often avoid prosecution or receive light sentences for their crimes. In Backlash, I highlight how ongoing violence and harassment is aimed at forcing women “back to the kitchen”. (I also highlight a practice among some police since 9/11 where they stop motorists and rob them of cash. True stuff! Read my past post on that. http://ayawalksfar.com/2014/12/03/cops-stealing-from-motorists/)
    In Artemis’ Warriors I explore creation myths and history from a matriarchal viewpoint rather than a patriarchal viewpoint. While some might feel this is blasphemy, there has been some evidence that matriarchal societies did exist in the far distant past. Granted this question is hotly debated. As is to be expected since no ruling class, including the patriarchy, willingly preach the history of the classes they rule over.
    We know from more recent history, that women have been largely erased from the historical narrative in many instances. Did you know that Margaret Hamilton was the Lead Software Engineer on the Apollo Project in 1969? (Follow this link to my Pinterest Board “Great Women” and see the Pin of Margaret Hamilton https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453737731188529025/ )
    Were you aware that Elizabeth Blackwell, born in 1821, was the first women to receive a medical degree in the United States? ( https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453737731181212469/ )
    If such recent history is missing from most textbooks, it is easy to understand why women’s ancient historical contributions might also be completely “missed”, or maybe deliberately forgotten.
    3. Encourage: Because I write of current issues, I validate those issues for women who are struggling with them. It is very discouraging for women to feel isolated; to constantly hear that what they are experiencing is only a figment of their minds. I bring issues forward so women know they are not alone; other women face these same issues. Some of the issues I write about in my Special Crimes Team mystery series are: women in the work place; sexual violence; age; and beliefs. In Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire Wars, I explore what it means to love; bonding between women; female sexuality; and, sacrifice.
  3. Empower: Every novel I write must in some way empower women; therefore, each book has a strong female protagonist, as well as other strong female supporting characters. It is well understood that what we read has an impact on our self-image. If women only read about helpless women who never direct their own lives and are forever victims, then that is what we internalize. Women need to see females as capable, intelligent, decision-makers so that our subconscious minds can integrate that into our views of what it means to be female. In the Special Crimes Team mystery series, Sergeant Nita Slowater struggles through her discoveries about herself while trying to find killers and rapists. Her major supporting female characters are Dr. Irene Nelson, FBI profiler, and Dawn Samira, lesbian investigative reporter. In Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire Wars series, Serena Longer struggles with her heart while fighting invading vampires who want to turn humans into blood cattle. Her major supporting female character, Alexis Night Runner, is also the cause of Serena’s soul searching about love.

Have you read one of the books from the Special Crimes Team series, The Vampire Wars series, or the stand-alone literary novels? If so, would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or email me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com !

UPCOMING BOOKS!
Beyond the Silence: Available for pre-order http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Silence-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01ADRQ0K8 Release date: Feb. 14, 2016 ecoversmaller (2) Beyond the Silence
Death by Dog, A Special Crimes Team Novel: Coming April 3, 2016! DBDCover(1)

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A GIFT TO MY READERS

FREE AND DISCOUNTED EBOOKS! THROUGH THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. DON’T MISS OUT! GREAT GIFTS!

SKETCH OF A MURDER
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IF ANY OF THESE LINKS DO NOT FUNCTION OR IF THE PRICES AT ANY OF THESE RETAILERS ARE DIFFERENT, PLEASE CONTACT ME WITH RETAILER, LINK USED, PRICE, OR OTHER PROBLEM EXPERIENCED. YOU CAN REACH ME AT ayawalksfar@gmail.com Thanks! Have a GREAT READ!

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LIMITED TIME: FREE EBOOK!

STREET HARVEST, BOOK 2, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM WILL BE FREE ON AMAZON UNTIL DECEMBER 7TH! GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KVREDIC
Human traffickers abduct children to feed a 35 BILLION DOLLAR PER YEAR industry. Children are raped, sodomized, tortured, murdered.
IN the United States, a child goes missing every 40 SECONDS. STREET HARVEST is their story.
What do the bodies of two young children have in common with the murders of two adult men?
Eleanor Hasting, a black bookstore owner and child advocate, knows these killings are linked. She must convince Lieutenant Michael Williams, head of the Special Crimes Team.
Psychic Jaimie Wolfwalker, is prepared to do whatever it takes to locate and rescue the missing street children. The law be damned. Jaimie’s attitude and methods place her on a collision course with Sergeant Nita Slowater, second-in-command of the Special Crimes Team.
Four dedicated people struggle to come to terms with each other in their desperate search for clues. Every day brings more missing children, more young bodies. Can they stop the monsters before another child disappears?

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The Story Behind Sketch of a Murder

No matter how dark
In 2013, I wrote Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, Special Crimes Team. I write novels that have been ripped from the lives of women.
Sketch of a Murder exposes the horrendous truths around the #sexual #assault of women and children in the United States. Perpetrators often walk away from prosecution and justice.Even those who are convicted may only serve three years for forcible rape.
Many victims do not report sexual assault.
–They fear the perpetrator will return and harm them. Something that perpetrators often threaten to do.
–The victim does not want to make a private matter public. This is especially true if the perpetrator is a boyfriend, a husband or ex-husband, even someone they simply met and had a drink with.
–The victim is worried that she will be blamed for what happened or that she will not be believed. This is frequently the case when victims actually follow through with prosecution. They are questioned about their sexual histories, why they were in that particular place at that specific time, and so forth. Some cops grill women and girls who report rape in much the same aggressive and offensive manner. Women are often told it is their own fault that they were assaulted.
–The girl or woman feels ashamed and/or feels guilty and/or is embarrassed. A strong element of personal shame, guilt and embarrassment for the victim is a factor in every sexual assault crime.
There have even been public debates about whether the crime of #rape actually exists or if it is an “attempt by women and girls to gain special privileges.”
As a past victim of the violence of attempted rape–12 attempts during my life–I understand the well-founded hesitation of women and girls to subject themselves to the process of attempting to prosecute the perpetrator.
One of the attempts on me included the perpetrator’s use of a straight razor. When I reported that crime, the police took me to the station and after leaving me to “stew” in a room alone they finally came in and aggressively questioned what I had been doing walking around alone after dark.
I finally lashed out and told one detective that “I have the right to walk where and when I please; the attempted rapist is the one who should not be allowed freedom to walk around the city.”
In response to my declaration, one detective openly questioned whether or not a crime had actually occurred.
I held up my hand and sarcastically said, “I’m not into self-mutilation. I did not slash my own hand open.”
Is it any wonder that rape is the most UNDER reported crime in the United States?
In Sketch of a Murder, I bring these stats to life. The Avenger, a serial killer who stalks and tortures men who have skated justice, sets up a Court of God’s Justice and questions the men about their crimes and then hands down “justice”.
The “reasoning” put forth by the perpetrators is, unfortunately, all too indicative of the thought processes of males involved in rape. In my other life, I have listened to such men give those arguments about how it’s not their fault and besides, the girl/woman “asked for it.” (Yes, those were the words used by one man).
And what of law enforcement–the real good people; the ones who want the rapists to pay for their crimes? In Sketch of a Murder I explore the dilemma faced by law enforcement officers who must stop a killer whose mission they may secretly applaud.
Just to give you some idea about the enormity of the crime of rape below are some statistics. Please,keep in mind that rape is a seriously UNDER REPORTED crime:
—67% of sexual assault victims are under 18. More than half of this number are under 12 years old.
—95% of rapists are male
In the state of Washington, First Degree Rape is considered a Class A Felony–the worst felony possible under law, yet a rapist may only get three years in prison for forcibly raping a woman or a child. A person is guilty of First Degree rape when such a person engages in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion where the perpetrator or an accessory:
—uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon or what appears to be a deadly weapon or
—kidnaps the victim or
—inflicts serious physical injury including but not limited to physical injury which renders the victim unconscious or
—feloniously enters into a building or vehicle where the victim is situated.
In Washington State, a rapist who is convicted of Class A Felony rape may sue for and receive access to the any child produced by his violent act; thereby allowing him future access to his victim’s life, and a future way to manipulate, control, and emotionally and physically harm his victim.
In Washington State in 2013 there were 13,442 primary victims of sexual assault and 6,252 secondary assault victims.
33% of women in Washington State have been sexually assaulted. And, 20% of this number have been the victims of multiple assaults by different offenders.
Only 25% of the women who suffered physical injuries sought medical assistance and only 33% sought counseling. (I was never one of those who sought medical assistance or counseling. I simply could not afford it. Fortunately, I was raised in a matriarch where rape was considered a crime of violence–rightfully so–and the rapist was the only one blamed.)
Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 MINUTES
43% of lesbian and bisexual women, and 30% of gay and bisexual men reported having experienced sexual assault.
34% of Native American and Alaskan Native women experienced an attempted or completed rape
19% of African American women have experienced an attempted or completed rape
18% of Caucasian women have experienced an attempted or completed rape
7% of Asian American women have experienced an attempted or completed rape
83% of adult females and 32% of the adult males who are developmentally disabled have been victims of sexual assault
Disabled women are raped and abused at a rate of at least twice that of the general population of women.
light in darkness

IF you or someone you know has suffered from sexual assault, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! PLEASE go to: http://www.wcsap.org/find-help This website is the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. You will find a list of places to go to for help! PLEASE, make use of these services.
creator's child

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5 REASONS TO MEET CAS REDNER

http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Road-Home-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00TLCRUFQ
Hard Road Home Front Cover
The Story Behind Hard Road Home
Many times those charged with keeping troubled kids safe become their worst nightmare. Already feeling as if they are broken, the child believes s/he is at fault for the adult’s abusive behavior. Abuse by the foster parent, or other authority figure, confirms this belief: it must be their fault since more than one adult abused them. They must’ve “asked for it”; or, somehow “provoked” the assault.
Such beliefs coupled with low self-esteem program the child to act in ways that mark her/him as a victim. Perpetually trying to please, and always failing. The cycle of abuse repeats itself, over and over, with different abusers.
After aging out of the social services system,this learned hopelessness continues to haunt the young person. Often s/he drops out of school, and can’t find a job with a living wage. In economic desperation and emotional neediness, s/he moves in with an abuser. Her/his self-esteem and economic position works to keep them locked into the unhealthy relationship.
Either introduced to alcohol and drugs by the abuser as a way to further control over the victim and to undermine self-esteem/self-confidence, or discovering the awesome numbing effects on their own, the victim becomes addicted. Addictions lead to deeper feelings of inadequacy and further confirmation of worthlessness.
Having never learned to relate to others in a healthy way, s/he cannot accept that anyone would want to befriend her/him if s/he wasn’t sexually pleasing and easily available. Relationships with adults during childhood have confirmed this reality in the victim’s mind.
Many young people die trapped in this cycle of never-ending abuse.
Hard Road Home goes beyond the tragedy of such children. When people read Casanita Redner’s story,Hard Road Home,five things will remain with them:
1. This story is based upon facts, though I have fictionalized the account to be able to concentrate on clarifying the message. Like Cas, however, there are young people who have found the strength to fight free of childhood sexual abuse. Remember: No matter how dark
2. Adults, whether central or peripheral to the child’s life, can in fact aid the child in laying a foundation that will allow her/him to escape this vicious cycle of abuse. In Hard Road Home, Cas receives these building blocks for a stable foundation from her grandfather, her grandmother, and other healthy adults she meets along the way.
3. Every adult has the responsibility to become aware of victimization of children, and to work–in whatever capacity that they can–to end it. Whether you are an educator, an author, a doctor, a counselor, a social worker, a foster parent, or a neighborhood adult you can make an impact.
Journey you make
4. Child victims are NOT responsible for the crimes against them, regardless of how they dressed, walked, talked, or acted. Children are worthy of true friendships and deserve healthy relationships.
5. If you have been a child victim, I am here to tell you: you can break free. You have the right to build a good life for yourself. You are lovable. You deserve people in your life who value you. Believe in yourself! You are worth it!
PurposeAndBeauty
Are you one of the adults who help shine a light for young people during a dark night? Are you a survivor of childhood abuse? Please leave a comment.
You can always reach me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com

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