‘Lex Talionis’, or the law of revenge for the purposes of the book, begins with two people. A wounded soldier, trying to escape death from an unseen enemy while trapped alone on a ship in deep space, and a badly battered young girl who wakes in a spaceport hospital with no memory. The solider is trying to stay alive, but the girl has already died. It takes a mute alien no one has ever seen before to bring her back.
Clearly, these two people are connected. And it’s the nature of their connection that drives the central question of ‘Lex Talionis’. Who is this girl? Who killed her and why? What is the soldier’s part in all this?
Why does one young girl with no name matter?
Every woman on this planet lives with the daily fear of assault. Globally, the World Health Organisation reports that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. When you look at incidences in developing or under-developed countries, the rate becomes astronomical. Yet many people let these figures numb them. It only matters when it’s someone they know–or when they themselves have been attacked. But the attitudes and behaviour that lead to these appalling figures and institutionalized sexism are everywhere. And for those who think they’re good people, but who feel uncomfortable when certain issues are brought up, it’s important to realise that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re definitely part of the problem.
Every girl matters. Every person, no matter how ‘unimportant’, causes ripples in the lives of others. When you assault a woman sexually, when a woman dies as a result of intimate partner violence, you aren’t just hurting one woman. You are forever erasing a person from this planet. You are forever changing the lives of other. Because a woman who has been assaulted or raped will never be the woman she was before. And the people in her lives will never be the same people they were either, not if they love and care for her.
So in ‘Lex Talionis’ a terrible thing happens to a girl that doesn’t seem to matter, but it turns out she does matter. It turns out that the ripples set in motion by this attack go so much further than the pain the victim carries and the changes forever wrought within her.
And this is happening every day, all over the world, to too many women to count. Every day, we are building a legacy of devastated lives and changed futures. Sooner or later, we must realise we are suffering the consequences. Now. Right now. Not in the future, not in a few decades, but now, in this very moment. And women will not be the only ones caught up in the ripples. As the soldier in my book shows, all of us pay for what happens to the women in our lives. Every human makes up humanity. If we don’t value one of us, how can we value all of us?
With Lex, I have tried to present an unapologetic story of a girl’s battle to reclaim her life and her future after a terrible attack. I don’t ask that you like her, or that you sympathize with her. I simply ask that you think about the sad fact that although she is unique, her story is not. So whether you are man, woman, neither or both, let us think about those ripples and try, in our small way, to make sure they stop with us.
We are making the future, bit by bit, every day. Let’s try to make it a better one.
You can find R. S. A. Garcia at her blog: http://rsagarcia.com/
And, check out LEX TALIONIS, the newest release from Dragonwell Publishing, which Publishers Weekly is calling a “stunning debut” in their starred review, now on SPECIAL SALE for $2.99 at: