I normally write in malls—there’s something about the busyness of them that helps me write. Earlier this week, I thought I’d write in a library for a change, for the first time in years.
While there I noticed someone watching a rape scene on one of the library’s computers. (If you don’t want the description, skip past the paragraph separated out by ***.
The couple was mostly wearing clothes, but it was obvious what was happening. I couldn’t hear the sound, since the guy watching it had the headset on, but the woman was clearly saying no. I watched to make sure it wasn’t one of those miserable scenes where the woman at first says no, but then changes her mind after the man is done, but this wasn’t that. The man raped her a second time, a prolonged scene. Then they showed him starting in a third time, brutally. During the whole scene, the woman was obviously unwilling and struggling. The guy watching it, who was maybe college age, was just lounging back and showing no reaction.
There was no use complaining about it. This has been in the news: In this county’s library system—and perhaps the whole state as far as I know—the librarians cannot ask him to stop watching a sex scene. It would violate his privacy or something. This became a famous case in the news when a guy in Seattle was watching something more explicit, and it disturbed a child. The mother complained, but the most the librarians could do was ask the guy to move to a computer that was not as easily seen by other people, if he was willing.
You might ask why I watched the whole scene. As I indicated above, I wanted to make sure what I was seeing, but I also was witnessing firsthand what goes on in libraries.
In the past, I thought about donating a substantial amount to the local library system if I became a successful author—become one of those “friends of the library” that you hear about. Not anymore. There’s a library at a private university I might donate to.
I’ll go back to shopping malls to write. Things are less disturbing there.