I woke up to the news of our newly elected President. I read excerpts from his speech and felt that for the first time in a year he sounded rational. I said a prayer that the things that I feared most from him would not come true and that he would lead in a way different than he had promised and demonstrated.
Even still, I think of the reasons why this scared me so much. As a woman I am vastly aware of how this man views my rights, my body, my consent. I think of my friends of color, my LGBT friends, my Muslim friends and I am scared for them too. I’m not scared only because of what I’ve seen and heard from him but from his many followers. These other Americans, my fellow citizens, many of whom feel such contempt and hatred for those who are different.
I was never a fan of the Apprentice. He annoyed me from the beginning. He makes a lot of weird faces. They are funny when they show up in memes. I became angrier and angrier as the election season wore on. Then the video came out. And a certain writer went to Twitter asking for women to share their stories of sexual assault. I read through more responses than I can count. I cried. I wondered how many instances like these women posted I had experienced. I began to think back. Then I became angry.
What angered me the most is that at the time that any of these things happened to me, I was scared, I was uncomfortable. I felt disgusting. I never thought to tell anyone or to say anything. I accepted it as what happened. That’s what pissed me off. The notion that because I am a female I don’t get to consent. My body is not my own. Reliving my own experiences from the realization that they were assaults in different degrees woke me up.
Now I think about my daughter and I wonder how old she will be when a boy touches her body and laughs when she frowns or cries. Will she tell me? We talk about body rules all the time and consent. I hope she will tell me. I hope she will know that it’s not okay. I talk to my son about how there will be boys who think it’s okay to touch girls in places where they shouldn’t. Some boys may try to get him to do the same. He has to stand up. He has to do the hard work.
The most upsetting part of this was not that there were so many people in America that believed this was okay, it was that there were so many people in my life that think it’s okay. That excuse it.
They wondered why women didn’t come forward sooner? Isn’t it just a ploy? Why would they come forward? I didn’t. My friends didn’t. I bet other females in your life didn’t. Did you? We are taught this is our cross to bear. Let’s look at what happened when they did come forward. They were attacked. Scrutinized. Threatened. That’s why we don’t speak up.
So then I see all these posts about how small minded all of us are who have let an election mess with our relationships. That infuriates me. When I see people stating how “it’s just locker room talk” or making excuses for this behavior I realize that these people I’ve let in my life are not people I want to know. We can differ in opinions on a lot of things. Sexual assault is not one of them.
Being around my children, when you believe that one of them is lesser than or doesn’t get to say what happens with her own body, that’s not going to happen. When Brock Turner’s dad wrote a letter basically stating that his son shouldn’t have his life ruined for “20 minutes of action” and that we should essentially all get over it. I was appalled. Then I watched half of America become Brock Turner’s dad.
I get to be sad for today. For myself. For my loved ones. I will hope and pray that the future isn’t going to be as terrifying as I imagine it will be. I will look for ways that I can make a difference. But for today I get to be sad. If that offends you, or makes you think less of me, feel free to show yourself the door.