October is, as the title of this post says, domestic violence awareness month. In so many ways this is an incredibly difficult and yet important topic. For me, it’s a very emotional one. It is a topic that I have, on numerous occasions, spoken out about. And in its own way, it relates very much so to the conversation of romanticizing abuse.
This is a theme that I’ve seen several times over the years, a theme that most recently I have seen discussed in relation to the movie After, based on a novel of the same name by Anna Todd. Now, I have not read the book or seen this film, but the fact of the matter is that media that portrays abusive relationships as romantic or good are deeply problematic.
It is even more so when the romanticism of these abusive relationships appear in young adult fiction.
As my own way of spreading awareness this month, I wanted to bring back to several commentaries and reviews that I have written over the years about abuse romanticizing that appears in novels. This is one of the few instances in which I cannot reasonably respect the idea that people should be able to write whatever they want to write in fiction. I don’t condone romanticizing abuse. Ever.
And that is not to say that I would have a problem with someone writing a story in which abuse was romanticized initially and later called out for the horrifying and disgusting thing that it is. But when authors knowingly or unknowingly promote abuse as romantic, I have no respect for it.