I recently had the opportunity to read some of the works of the celebrated American writer and environmentalist, Wallace Stegner. His novels include Angle of Repose and The Spectator Bird. He is famous for his may quotations; referring to authors he talks about “we write to make sense of it all”. That surely is a truism with regard to my novel An Unplanned Encounter. The sexual assault at the start of my novel is not what matters; yes, it was dreadful; it shouldn’t have happened; and the innocent can carry the bulk of the blame. But what matters are the consequences.
As I wrote the novel these consequences became interrelated, they could not be avoided, and they do not discriminate in favor of the innocent over the guilty. The pieces fit like a jigsaw. You understand how a single act of 15 minutes that hopefully no-one would know about except the two people involved, can emerge uncontrolled and have catastrophic consequences on people’s lives, careers, and friendships, lasting a life time. In my novel these consequences occurred invisible to most and private knowledge to only a few.
In today’s world the opposite is likely to occur. It is my thinking that publishing case studies based on real events can assist this campaign’s educational process, demonstrate the insidiousness of these assaults, and hopefully accomplish a greater decline in their frequency. I applaud the overarching message of the Campaign, but making sense of the consequences can hopefully stop someone before they start.