I remember I was thirteen when Law & Order: SVU first came out. My mother asked me if I could watch it without getting nightmares, and I said yes. We started watching it religiously together when I was a kid, and I haven’t missed an episode since.
My mother once commented years later that she was surprised that I liked this show so much, still.
I really connected with the character of Olivia Benson. I, too, was the product of a violent beginning. So I know what it’s like to doubt yourself, to think that you’re a monster, to hate yourself and wonder if you really do have a purpose in the world. I know what it’s like to blame yourself for what happened, even though, it wasn’t your fault. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
I remember my mother once told me sometimes beautiful things come from awful situations. I knew she was talking about me.
I identify with this character deeply, and I love watching and seeing her grow as a person. I hope that I can be as brave and strong as Olivia is one day because there are days where I feel fierce, determined, and strong. Then there are other days where I doubt or wonder if I have any right to be here, at all.
I think I really just enjoy this series because each of the characters is strong in their own way, and I love watching their own personal stories and how it affects their judgment and how it impacts the decisions that they make along the way.
I am really grateful that there is a character like Olivia out there because I think it’s important for those of us who feel like outcasts, misfits, and monsters to know that we are more than our violent beginnings. That despite everything, we can still be beautiful and strong individuals that help other people.
It’s really not representation that you see everywhere, and I am grateful for it.
Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She has also authored two micro-collections, and three full length poetry collections.