I’m about to enter a short story in the Overland VU short story competition as I’ve been feeling far too franchised and encouraged lately. Consequentially, I read the judges’ reports on last year’s shortlist. Specifically, Jacinta Woodhead stated that ‘abused women should never be used as a plot device’. Really?
Here’s the thing; Abusing women is generally frowned upon. It’s easy to see, therefore, how the act of abusing women might be at the centre of a story, as other characters may seek to hide, normalise, amplify or limit their actions. Certainly, the treatment of these women should not be gratuitous, but it’s wrong to limit their presence altogether.