End Assault. End Sexism. End Patriarchy. Fight for Freedom. #VOTEPROCHOICE

#VOTEPROCHOICE represents at #GOPHandsOffMe rally — New York Times Page A-4, Sunday October 23, 2016 “Trump Recording Narrows Divide on Sexual Assault”

This is a truly a transformative moment in American politics — and America itself.

We have endured a litany of misogyny from Donald Trump throughout the election. Last Sunday, speaking from Gettysburg of all places, Trump aggravated his assault on American women by promising to sue every “lying” woman who stepped forward to accuse him. This, of course, after being caught on tape admitting to the type of behavior these women are describing.

Yet this is good news. Really. It IS good news. Donald Trump has struck a powerful chord that will change the course of this election and politics in America forever. Why? Because, women.

Thanks to Trump, women have started sharing stories they never dared to tell, and are being inspired into action in unprecedented numbers.

When reporter Kelly Oxford tweeted the story of her own assault and invited other women to join her, over 30 million women (and counting) responded with their own stories and the hashtag #NotOkay.

And that was just the beginning. Online, women seized the #NastyWoman meme, owning it to demonstrate growing political power. Young women of color organized exuberant #GOPHandsOffMe rallies across the country. And in states with early voting, women are turning out in droves to #GrabHimByTheBallot.

Why? Nearly every woman in America has experienced sexual assault in some form. Every woman in America has been diminished or suppressed in some way. None of Trump’s behavior is new to women or much of surprise. We see it all the time in our own lives and we’ve been seeing it from Trump — and so many other powerful men — for decades.

Let’s be honest. It’s nearly impossible to find effective recourse for the humiliation, anger, and feeling of powerlessness of sexual harassment, assault or even obvious misogyny. Our systems continue to fail us, whether the path be law enforcement or the justice system, human resources at work, going to the press or even pursuing personal mental health and trauma treatment. (This is especially true for the LGBTQ+ communities, and even more so for the transgender communities who have the most difficulty finding safe spaces to escape abuse.)

Each path can be fraught with shaming, inefficiency, ineffectiveness and onerous costs. Thus, the men in power stay in power. Women try to shake it off, heal and move on. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. The battle never ends.

But this election is proving that we can fight back. We are not powerless. In fact, we are the most powerful force in America.

THIS YEAR, IF WE VOTE TOGETHER — AND CONTINUE TO VOTE TOGETHER — TO REJECT SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ALL FORMS OF SEXISM, WE CAN TRANSFORM AMERICA — NOT IN 100 YEARS, BUT RIGHT NOW.

America’s best-kept “secret” is that women are already the most powerful force in politics. In fact, women elected Barack Obama — twice. Women made up an astounding 60% of his voters in 2008 and 54% in 2012.

Women support Hillary Clinton by a landslide margin of 61% to 28% — an unprecedented 33 point gender gap. Although a majority of white men support Trump, women in all demographics and political parties will defeat him and elect the next President of the United States. How perfect that this President will likely be the first WOMAN.

Still, it’s not enough to simply defeat Donald Trump. We must also defeat every politician who agrees with Trump that women’s bodies belong to men.

Our enemies are the politicians who believe they have the right to control women’s bodies — whether they want to assault one woman or deny all women our right to choose should not represent us in government. But we cannot defeat them unless we know who they are and where they stand so we can vote them out.

That’s why we created #VOTEPROCHOICE and the #VOTEPROCHOICE Voter Guide— to help voters all across America identify all the politicians who share Trump’s hatred of women and defeat them at all levels, from President to local office.

The issues of sexual assault and reproductive rights are inextricably linked. Hundreds of laws have been passed in state legislatures since the passage of Roe v. Wade to limit women’s access to abortion and reproductive health services. These laws include everything from onerous waiting periods for abortions, requiring doctors to provide medically inaccurate information to patients and forced burials of fetal remains (thank you Governor Mike Pence).

In the broadest terms, we’re in a fight against sexism and patriarchy — hatred of and discrimination against women and the belief that men have the right to rule the world.

But this battle is even simpler. Women are not free unless we have control over our own bodies. What we’re really fighting for is freedom.

Women have struggled for millennia for a positions of equality and partnership. But freedom, like slavery is binary. Women are either free or under the domination and control of systems of patriarchy established by men in power.

At this critical moment, this fight for freedom is a fight we can win. All we need to do is join together, own our collective power and #VOTEPROCHOICE.

Shall we change the world?

Heidi Sieck and Bob Fertik
Co-Founders #VOTEPROCHOICE


ABOUT US: #VOTEPROCHOICE is a radically inclusive political engagement platform created by Democrats.com, the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund and Act.tv with partners and supporters including Lady Parts Justice, MoveOn, Progress Now, Our Revolution, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro Choice America and more. For purposes of this post discussing political power, we use the term “women” or “woman” to include either individuals who identify as women or assigned female at birth.

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