Message From The Author

Robin York

Book Title: DEEPER
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult

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Author's Message

If only you hadn’t trusted him. Didn’t you know better?

You shouldn’t have worn that / thought that / done that / dressed that way / let him do that to you. How could you not know this would happen? Wasn’t it obvious?

It’s your own fault.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s the litany of victim-blaming, still alive and well in our culture. And in few contexts is victim-blaming as spectacularly alive and well as it is in discussions of “revenge porn.”

“Revenge porn” refers to sexually explicit images or videos shared online without the consent of the person pictured. It’s often nude self-portraits or videos of women shared by former lovers, either with malice (because they’re angry in the wake of a breakup) or from a sense of privilege (this media / this woman’s body belongs to them and is theirs to share).

It’s also the subject of my upcoming new adult romance, Deeper, whose heroine is the target of an attack by her ex-boyfriend.

I’d like to say that I took on the subject of revenge porn because it has interesting social and cultural angles for new adult characters, and this is true — but the real truth is, I’m really pissed off about prevailing attitudes toward revenge porn, and I want to see them change.

Here’s a truth about revenge porn that isn’t stated as often as it should be: revenge porn is a form of sexual assault. The perpetrator disseminates images and videos in an attempt to cause his target pain. The women in these pictures — which are posted alongside the women’s names, hometowns, and Facebook pages at various sites online that collect them — are meant to feel shame. They suffer emotional distress and, in many cases, damage to their relationships with friends and family, to their self-image, to their feelings of personal safety and even to their livelihoods.

These are real consequences. This is real assault. 

Yet sharing revenge porn is perfectly legal everywhere in the United States except New Jersey and Florida — and if you read the comments to any online piece about this issue, it quickly becomes clear that many people think that’s just fine, because

young women “need to learn” the consequences of their behavior. If they’re “dumb enough” to share sexy pictures, then they deserve what they get. They should “grow up” and “get smart,” because this is their own fault.

Your fault, your fault, your fault — that’s the litany in my heroine’s head when she first discovers her own pictures online. Her journey is one of reframing her own attitudes, reshaping how she thinks about her own sexuality, her future — and also of accepting responsibility for advocacy for herself and ultimately for others.

And if it changes even a few readers’ minds about whether revenge porn causes real harm and who deserves the blame for it, I’ll consider the novel a raging success.


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