I’m no Miss Universe…
But I have fended off more than my fair share of unwanted advances. Sadly, that doesn’t make me exceptional.
Current events have had me thinking more and more about some of those experiences. I haven’t been an especially strident decrier of #rapeculture — not because I don’t believe it exists or that we shouldn’t speak out against it — but rather because, maybe, as a woman of a certain age, I have grown accustomed to bearing some of that behavior as the price of being a woman in the world. We’ve been told to lighten up — it’s just “locker room talk”, “boys being boys” — but I’m calling bullshit on that today.
As I was driving into work this morning, I was recalling some of the times when boys and men did to me exactly what Trump described in that now famous hot mic video. These are stories I’ve never told and never wanted to tell. I really prefer that my family never read these things (Dad, please stop reading now), but I’m going to tell some stories of how NOT harmless this mindset, this talk, this behavior is.
When I was 11 — yes, 11 — I had just started 6th grade and became the target for a group of boys who followed me in the hall ways and persisted in putting their hands between legs from behind and grabbing my…well, I can’t stand the word that is currently being bandied about every cable news channel, so I trust you all will understand my reference when I say “GMP”. This happened everyday until I finally told my mother who came down to the school and somehow put an end to that. I was mortified.
When I was 13, some family friends came to visit, including their 16 year old son. While our parents were out (dinner? Some event that brought them to town?) we were watching TV and he literally jumped on top of me, pinning me to the floor while he writhed and slobbered all over me, putting his hands everywhere — including…you guessed it, GMP. I was fighting back — hard. Fortunately, we were interrupted, or who knows what may have happened next. I spent the rest of the weekend locked in my room, terrified, while he acted like nothing happened.
When I was 19, I was working as a waitress in a cheap steak house. I was going about my business replenishing the rolls for a customer’s bread basket, when I encountered my boss, the restaurant owner, in a passage way whereupon he pressed me against the wall, kissed me and …GMP. He was easily twice my age and weight. And married. But I guess like the Donald, he couldn’t help it. Pretty girls are like magnets — just kiss first, ask questions later. I had to quit that job while he conducted business as usual.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and because of the pathology of #rapeculture, I immediately filtered out any examples I have where there may have been alcohol, poor judgement, or risky behavior on my part to stain my testimony. These are just three examples of a girl at school, at home, at work, just going about her business when a male capriciously decided to grab what wasn’t his. Fuck that. Fuck them. Fuck Donald.
I was not “triggered” or surprised by the latest revelation of his deplorable behavior, but the more I see men and women (!) shrug this off as “just how guys talk”, the more sickened I become. This dismissive response is exactly why this will continue to happen.
I won’t elaborate on the consequences of repeated objectification on body image and the sexual fall out, because I’m afraid my dad didn’t stop reading when I told him to. But it’s sad, profound, long-lasting, and hard as hell to get over.
If you think Trump’s the man, ugh. If you are willing to hold your nose and stand by him because he checks some policy box for you or you think he could stay the consequences of another supreme court justice appointed by the left, think again. Just take a quick trip through the headlines or his twitter feed, and you will see he has no respect or loyalty for anyone — not the party, not the party leaders, not the policies, not even his running mate. You are on a fool’s errand