Spark, Slow Burn, Fire

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I’d like to make a short case for why Making Out Like a Virgin should be in a visible if casual place in your home or office.

The momentum of #MeToo and #TimesUp has made us look at people in power differently. It has sparked conversation and reconsiderations of why we have let “open secrets” carry on for so long. The prevalence of the abuse of power is not a shock for most people. Especially women of color. Especially vulnerable populations. LGBTQ+. Elders. Differently-abled. Poor. Incarcerated… I could go on. However:

The prevalence is a shock if you’ve not ever been a victim.

It’s a shock if you thought you were unique and alone in your shame.

It’s a shock when you realize that for whatever reason – and there are many many good reasons – your own #MeToo circumstances were filed under another heading. Because to put it under the real heading was not going to work for you at the time.

But an earth-shaking shock to everyone is the incalculable economic cost to a survivor and the rippling quake on families.

Both immediate costs and over a life-span. From higher medical bills to lower earning-power.

In August 2017 the Institute for Women’s Policy Research published The Economic Cost of Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking report.  A few keyword searches reveal lots more data on the impact of violence, such as what was reported in the GW Hatchet, February 2015. The 2015 White House estimates (it seems relevant to note which WH was doing the estimating):

...Sexual assault can cost a survivor between $87,000 and more than $240,000 on top of an emotional toll that is difficult to quantify.

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Statistically, you personally know many people who have sexual trauma and/or interpersonal violence in their background or even their present. Having MOLV in a visible place will signal that you are aware of violence and abuse and, in time, spark a conversation. You may be that one person who can make it possible for a victim to take the steps to acknowledge a past or current situation or take the next steps toward an active recovery, or – yes! – help set them free from feeling isolated and even defined by what happened.

Having taken a statistically significant portion of my life to put out a book, you’d think that its increased relevance would only be a good thing, both as a writer and as a publisher. When Catriona and I spent a year pacing our dining rooms while talking through the book, and when Tavia and I worked through the publishing process, we knew Making Out Like a Virgin was going to be a slow burn. In the case of our book, understandably, I’ve mixed feelings.

But the way things are going, it’s ramping up to a raging, powerful fire.

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Cathy Plourde and Catriona McHardy co-edited Making Out Like a Virgin: Sex, Desire & Intimacy After Sexual Trauma (Portly Media, 2016). Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. Narration by Tavia Gilbert, 2017 Audie Award Winner Best Female Narrator.

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