I tend to write stories with action. Which, in this context means violence. Since the majority of my stories feature female main characters, this means that a lot of that violence involves women. In fact, of my six short stories that are out there (I’m counting one currently being considered for publication), five of them include attacks on women. And of those five, two involve abusive husbands and one involves predatory males.
In light of the #yesallwomen hashtag in response to a young man targeting women, I find myself considering why half of my stories involve violence targeting women.
I like to say that tropes are a great tool for a short story writer. They are a quick and easy shorthand, especially when you’re struggling against a word limit. For that reason, an abusive husband/boyfriend is an instant bad guy. I tell you he hit his wife, his girlfriend, his daughter, and instantly the audience recoils with a collective “Oh no he di’int!”
Also, like every woman I know, I’ve been the target of harassment. I won’t share the stories here, but if you want to hear stories of harassment, ask any woman you know. So perhaps I go to that because I know how frightening those experiences are.
I’m not trying to make a point here, I’m more making a pledge to myself. I will be more thoughtful about the use of violence towards women in my stories, both to be more sensitive to the reality of the problem and to avoid seeming to demonize men.
Be good to each other.