A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 6: More rape tropes and other awful attitudes!

 
Chapter six begins four hours after Merry was pulled from Norton’s house by Jeremy and Roane. She has been at the police office, unable to wash or clean herself from the magical oil. She’s been kept so long because, despite seeing video evidence of the rape and Norton’s death, no one is believing her side of the story. She hadn’t yet been charged with anything, however, because she had been outed as Princess Meredith NicEssus of the sidhe, the missing princess, and she could, at any time, claim diplomatic immunity and walk away scot free.
 
She won’t claim immunity, however, because if she were to do so, her aunt would be able to track down her exact location and send the queen’s guard after her. Merry still believes she has a chance to go back into hiding by not claiming immunity. So, instead we get a 10,000 page interrogation scene between Merry, Alvera, and Merry’s lawyer, Eileen Galan.
 
Detective Alvera, like most male cops in LKH’s novels, is a giant dickhead. How do I know he’s a dickhead? Well, he pulls this bullshit:
 
            “I saw the tape too, Counselor. It looked like your client was enjoying herself most of the time. She said no, but her body kept doing yes. … A woman can keep saying no, stop, but if she’s playing with a man’s dick, you can’t blame him for getting mixed messages.”
 
For fuck’s sake, Bob. 

So they argue for a few pages over whether or not the video showed Merry killing Norton, or whether or not the video showed Norton raping Merry, or whether Merry wanted it despite her yelling no. Alvera also throws out a “I know what rape victims look like, and she doesn’t look raped!” because let’s just get all the rape tropes out of the way while we’re at it.
 
Now, LKH does a decent enough job putting a character like Alvera in his place, and explaining how what he’s thinking is totally fucking awful and wrong. My problem with this scene is that it happens CONSTANTLY in her novels. Especially in the Anita Blake series. Blake is a Federal Marshall, and she is constantly up against asshole authority figures that question her reasoning and ability and logic because she has a lot of sex. It’s such a common theme throughout that series that I expect it to come up from at least two characters per novel. This is SO CERTAINLY a jab at her readers who dislike how much sex is now in the novels. We can’t understand it, so she throws in a character to represent those readers. The conversations between characters is pretty much the same in every book too. It’s just so old.

Merry also spends a bit of time explaining that while she’s officially listed on the police report as being a rape victim, she likely doesn’t “look” like a rape victim because she doesn’t consider what she went through as “true rape”. A-what? 

Apparently, when she was in her teens her Brownie best friend was raped and brutalized, which is Merry’s rape standard. Because she did not go through the same sort of pain that her best friend went through, she’s only a 1 or 2 out of 10 on the Rape Scale. She’s able to stomach the rape because it was also not as bad as other things she’s been through while she lived in Faerie. She presses Alvera to believe that although she had been raped, she was able to walk away from it without the physical and emotional scars most rape victims face. Also, she was under the spell of magic oil, which not only helped to dull the emotional pain of the rape, but also caused Merry to behave out of character. Which is why she may have appeared to “enjoy it”.
 
So, Merry tries to get Alvera to go after the magical oil. If there is more Branwyn’s Tears out on the market, it could cause a lot of damage to humans. Alvera doesn’t believe in lust potions (OR RAPE DRUGS I BET) but Merry finally convinces him to let her touch him with her oily hands. As soon as she rubs her hands over his lips, he just attacks her. And it causes the power of the oil to flare up in Merry all over again. They start ripping at each other’s mouths, ripping off clothes, etc… Additional policemen burst into the room and tear the two apart, but Merry is able to get her hand on a younger uniformed cop, and he jumps her too. Eventually they get a team of female cops to hold Merry down (because the oil doesn’t work on females??? This isn’t explained at all) and Jeremy is called into the room to place a ward on Merry to block the spell.

Merry is finally allowed to leave, after the cops are convinced to start looking for the oil. Jeremy and Roane help Merry out to their car to get her home without the media being made aware of the discovered sidhe princess. The chapter closes with Merry wishing for a shower, but Roane wishing for something else.

Gee, I wonder what THAT MEANS.
 
Characters Introduced:
Detective Alvera: asshole 
Laywer Eileen Galen: Merry’s lawyer on retainer
 
Themes Introduced:
Rape apologists and authority characters that constantly challenge the main character for having an active sex life.
 
Sexiness level: There’s a pretty gross description of Merry’s best friend from faerie being raped when they were 17. Yeah, there was basically nothing sexy in this at all. 

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