Saturday, May 20, 2017

Asleep Means 'No' For Sleeping Beauties Too

Illustrator unknown, coloring by child
Warning: this post references real news. If you are sensitive or have trigger issues, you may wish to stop reading.

On reading this awful news story, we're thinking this is the true dark side of society being familiar with, well, the dark side of fairy tales. Who would have thought the trigger warning often attached to an old fairy tale telling would be used as a defense in court?

And yes: before you continue:
Though we are not including details, this article references sexual assault.
Please practice self-care in reading below.

This is the very real headline from May 18, 2017:

Doctor accused of drugging, raping patients claims ‘Sleeping Beauty fetish’

We repeat, this is not a drill. This is horribly, awfully real.

Here's the very weird testimony, recorded in court, as reported by ReviewJournal:
A suspended Las Vegas doctor accused of drugging and raping unconscious patients told jurors Thursday that he had a “Sleeping Beauty fetish,” which he acted out and videotaped with a woman during an affair.
... He acknowledged that she appeared unconscious in the recordings, but said the woman was actually awake and playing a role to act out his fantasy.
“Sleeping Beauty, kind of like a Disney movie, right?” prosecutor Alex Chen asked.
The doctor replied: “Sleeping Beauty meaning princess.” He referred to what’s known as somnophilia...
We're going to stop there, and let you look up the last word, in case you can't guess it's full meaning, because it goes on and gets worse, so if you want to read more about this bizarre "fetish defense" and what ensued in court, you can go to the article HERE.

Perhaps you are wondering, why on earth are you posting about this horrific thing on your lovely fairy tale blog? The thing is, the 'lovely' side of fairy tales is only one aspect of those tales. We all know there are many harsh and horrific ones, but society tends to relegate them to research, to case studies, and yes, to 'stories'. 

But we want to remind people that for many of us reading fairy tales, these issues are NOT stories. That they're real - newsworthy real. Perhaps they don't read so specifically like a dark old version of a fairy tale, but take out the 'wonder' aspect and you realize fairy tales are talking to us about the human condition, about human behavior, and about consequences and our choices.

We want to acknowledge all those who have survived their dark moments and have the courage to continue their tales. We want to acknowledge that it's a daily challenge and respect every second they choose life as a result. Like this photo from a set of survivor photos who chose the art of photography to communicate how they felt after being assaulted. (The photographer is a survivor too.)
Photo of survivor 1 by Elisa Iannacone"In the original fairytale, the princess is asleep and the prince rapes her.
I felt like 'Sleeping Beauty' and could have stayed in that tower forever."
This is one of the reasons fairy tales resonate so much, with so many people - because they talk about real, harsh, horrible things - things with consequences. Society is, in many ways, different now than it was when these tales were told, and again from when they were written down, yet it many ways it remains the same. It's acknowledged it was still a very bad thing 'before' but now that women are not property, the brutal behavior of what humans are capable of is even clearer.

The thing is, we're supposed to learn from the past, and yes, from fairy tales, to make the future better, not to twist it and curse others. We believe that in sharing these tales, our tales, with others we can share our support, and acknowledge that despite all of the dark, that we are not alone in our journey out from under that pall. Together we can resist the ongoing influence of those who believe they can impose their wills -and bodies- on us, and together we can help create a stronger protection for more of the dreamers to come.

Let's retell this fairy tale our way.

Note: as the court case stands, the doctor in question has been suspended from practicing indefinitely, however, jurors have not yet reached a consensus, and the deliberations will continue next week. We will not make an effort to follow this story, so if you wish to know the outcome, please refer back to the article and the links provided there.

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