We’re so pleased to welcome author Avylinn Winter today on the tour for her latest release, Toxic, book two in the Treacherous Chemistry series. She’s with us to address a serious subject explored in the book, and is also offering a giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below.
Young Victims and Perpetrators
Thank you for the opportunity to visit you here at Novel Approach. I’m here to talk a bit about my novel Toxic, the second in the Treacherous Chemistry series, but I find myself prompted to address reality rather than fiction.
I knew from the moment I began writing Toxic that I was touching a sensitive subject. What I didn’t know, was what part of it that would prove to spark most controversy.
Toxic deals with partner violence, and on its own, that is a sensitive topic. Most of us, if not also directly affected, have grown used to hearing about it, but many times, it’s not spoken about in the context of men abusing other men, or women abusing other women. There is also a pretty controversial relationship between Adam and his teacher in the book. Although I tried to navigate that one as well as I could, I knew some would see red. A reaction that isn’t entirely unwarranted as Adam is in a vulnerable position to begin with, but I had personal reasons for writing the story the way I did.
So, I waited for some kind of reaction, but what I didn’t anticipate was how age would play such a vital role in the discussions. My characters are young. Adam is 21, so is Gabriel who abuses him. It never crossed my mind that this would be an issue at all. Abuse can happen to anyone. Abuse happens in teenage relationships. Perpetrators can be young.
So, color me surprised when not just one, but several commented that they thought the age of the characters weakened the story. I’m not here to accuse, but I’m here to inform and hopefully contribute to better awareness. As adults or peers, we shouldn’t look away from situations that affect those who need our protection and support, especially when it comes to young people in already marginalized groups.
Partner violence, as horrific as it is, does not discriminate between gender or age. It happens, it’s far more common than I want to even imagine, and it happens to young victims. Young victims who need representation. Young victims who need to be validated and seen. I didn’t know it, but if I’m now one of their voices, I will take that role and carry that mantle proudly because I care. I care so much that it pains me that their voices are too silent, that they might be afraid to speak up.
· Four in ten LGBTQ+ college students in the sample reported intimate partner violence, victimization or perpetration within a current relationship.
· More than one-third of the victims told no one about the abuse, a rate that is higher than what is generally found among heterosexual college students.
These bullet points are from Edwards and Sylaska’s (2014) study on Intimate Partner Violence Among LGBTQ+ College Students. I have seen other percentages during my quick search, but there is nothing that supports the notion that violence in LGBTQ+ relationships doesn’t happen at college, or even earlier. In fact:
“Partner violence, which includes physical, psychological, and sexual violence toward one’s partner, is an endemic problem in US society, especially college youth.” Edwards and Sylaska, 2013.
It is during college many of us experience a relationship for the first time, and things can go wrong from the start. We should not look away from that fact, or believe that abuse is something that is isolated to what we have learned to expect. The abuser doesn’t have to be older than the victim.
So, why are these victims of abuse less likely to tell anyone about it?
This quote from an article in Advocate from 2014 might shed some light:
“Myths about domestic violence, victims’ fear and shame, a silence that stems from a desire not to harm perceptions of the LGBT community — all these together contribute to making the problem invisible to others. Many people who are suffering either don’t realize that they’re in a terrible situation or don’t know where to go or who to tell. They wonder who will listen, who will believe them.”
I want to stress that we have to believe them. If we claim to be members or allies to the LGBTQ+ community, we have to see these victims and listen to what they say. I wrote Toxic to understand, and it appears the book has found a new purpose as well. Toxic tells the story that apparently is not often told or heard, and perhaps someone, somewhere, can recognize this suffering and offer to help out. Perhaps someone will identify with Adam and hopefully realize that they’re not alone and that they shouldn’t be afraid to seek help.
The moment we say that someone is too young to abused by their partner, we are not listening. We are turning away from them, and we are perpetuating the problem. Don’t let that happen.
About the Book
Buy Links: Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 79,690 words
Treacherous Chemistry Series
Volatile (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Blurb: When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain.
Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.
Seven months later, Adamís effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isnít ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabrielís world.
Despite Adamís attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adamís photography teacheróa man who treasures what Gabriel does not.
They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence and dubious consent.
About the Author
Raised in one of the cold corners of the world, Avylinn spends her days either wrapped up in a blanket or basking in the precious sunlight. When she canít choose herself, sheís holed up in an office working with climate research that has little to do with the worlds and characters she creates in her vivid dreams.
Always the emotional one, she has found her outlet in writing, voicing thoughts, emotions and fears through her characters that feel very much alive to her. And, what began as a hobby soon took more and more time in her life until she realized that she had left her old life behind and entered a new one where her emotions turned into a super poweróready to launch at her poor readers.
She recharges with the help of coffee, cinnamon buns, popcorn and occasionally a healthier alternative.
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