When you think of romance novels, you think of happily ever after. But what about what’s happened before that HEA.
We’ve seen some heroines who didn’t have a charmed life and that could be poverty, growing up caring for addicted parents, caretaking for siblings, but what about those that have experienced physical, sexual and or emotional trauma or abuse. Statistics of this type of violence show 1 in 6 women, 1 in 33 men and 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) at some point will have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence)
So how do we deal with showing the realness of this reality and giving them an HEA that they deserve?
In the romance industry I have seen some ‘trends’ towards heroines with troubled pasts, who might have experienced various types of assaults or abuse and yet they find love. Which is wonderful. I think it’s something that gives hope to those who have suffered from these different traumas to know that they too can heal and find love.
As with anything, some books or authors do it better than others. Some show a greater range of how the heroine responds to the trauma and the aftermath and how she overcomes it. What I sometimes find lacking is the different experiences that aren’t shown. Some of the stories don’t take into account PTSD or other factors. (See my PTSD blogs part 1 and part 2)
Where are the heroines who maybe don’t shy away from sex? Where are the heroines who not only dress “unfashionable” to shy away from male attention but who also gained weight to put distance between them and others and offer themselves ‘protection’? The one size fits all approach hurts rather than helps. And the takeaway is that your coping mechanism makes you unworthy and that’s not true. Let’s show more experiences. What do you want to see?
Looking forward to connecting with you,