The Warren Times Observer, my hometown newspaper, has been publishing articles about the alarming number of instances of statutory rape in Warren County. Certainly, this is a conversation that has needed to happen for quite some time as my story is roughly based on what happens when a young girl falsely accuses someone of this heinous crime. Thinking that the WTO would be eager to include the viewpoints of one of Warren County's native sons, I contacted the newspaper to share with them that I had, in fact, explored this very topic in a work of literary fiction, All the Bad Things.
Was I welcomed? Invited to participate in the conversation?
After first being accused of trying to promote my book using the WTO, I was then told that my viewpoint had already been shared in a letter to the editor I wrote over two years ago and that mentioning anything about my book would result in tipping the scales of the topic in the wrong direction. Simply put, the WTO was not interested in hearing the side of those who have been falsely and maliciously accused of statutory rape. It was interested in maintaining the popular perception that being accused of this crime makes one guilty -- that regardless of what the girl says, the accused is always at fault.
I was shocked by this response. I had never expected to be silenced or banned by my hometown newspaper, but there it was: All the Bad Things was not welcomed in the discussion.
I, too, am all about eradicating this horrible crime, but I belief that to do so properly, a community must consider all aspects. Sure, we must ask ourselves what is it about a culture that produces so many statutory rapists, but we must also ask ourselves why the same culture produces so many liars.
Perhaps this is why the WTO chose to ban me. I wanted to hold a mirror up the Warren County's face, and Warren County wanted none of it.