The coverage of the Ghomeshi always vexed me as an author. Narratives in stories always primes and grooms people to interpret reality in a certain way.
The fact the that women who testified against him had things to do with after what happened never surprised me. I know of many women who were assaulted and went back.
Some even married their abusers.
When a husband kills his wife, we don’t give the man a pass because his victim stayed with him for years. All it takes is one defining act: what happened before (she stood up to him, insulted him, hit him) is irrelevant, as is what happened after (in sexual assault, the he raped her). We have a narrow focus: did the defendant hurt or harm another person?
The defence in the Ghomeshi trial never disputed the assault. She used every other misdirection, knowing full well the trusty old Fairy Princess narrative of countless stories was going work in her client’s favour.
Fairy princess is the heroine. She is special and attractive, and Prince Charming will come in to save the day. Beauty and the Beast is a fairy princess because her magical love turned a beast into a cleverly hidden Prince Charming, rescuing her from her economic problems.
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella are all Fairy Princesses.
Twilight and 50 Shades are nothing more than by-the-numbers Fairy Princess narratives.
A woman indoctrinated in the Fairy Princess narrative will not being able to see she was a victim of abuse. The man who she has cast as Prince Charming is seen and analyzed through blinders and filters. He is a riddle to solve, unlocking his heart, and in doing so, all of her other problems will be solved.
Predatory men are fully aware of the Fairy Princess delusions and play along in the fantasy. Not him, he is shooting fish in a barrel. He will seek out a certain mindset and exploit it, knowing full well the optics will work for him should reality enter his victim’s equation.
We actively train women to be primed Fairy Princesses. We rarely challenge that narrative in storytelling, setting women to be blinded by the signs she needs to see and acknowledge to survive and flourish in her surroundings.
As an author, I made the conscious decision to do all I can to eradicate this disturbing Patriarchal structure.
And we need to address the impact these narratives have on society: not just the Fairy Princess chains, but those that dictate that a victim of crime has to behave and think in the same way they do on third-rate cops shows. Victims do not have to wear a prefab halo.
Psychology has debunked countless ideas we have about how people are supposed to behave. Authors can construct grand world’s that help challenge our bad thinking, not enable toxic lies that have consequences for people in hidden, but very real ways. Fiction serves a real purpose: it is the framework that shows us how to navigate and see our world, and when allow sophistry to deny us justice or progress, that fiction has failed, and we must look for ways to break the old framework to find a better one.