After Donald Trump mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a rally in Mississippi this week — a new low for the president of lows — I couldn’t muster the energy to be outraged. Even as the crowd chanted “lock her up,” now a catchall for any woman who defies Trump, I felt that I had simply run out of anger. And today, as the sham FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh came to a close and it became clear that Republicans would vote how they were always going to vote, I wasn’t sad or upset — an exhausted numbness came over me instead.

For women, the national reckoning on sexual assault — and its backlash — isn’t just a political moment or a cultural shift. It’s an unraveling of the lies this country tells itself about women’s progress. It confirms feminists’ worst fears about men in power and how poorly they think of us.

For once, it does not feel good to be right.

Over last few weeks, as Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation has killed off any pretense of justice, I’ve heard from dozens of women who are not just angry or sad or devastated. It’s something more; what they’re feeling is something deeper, more existential, and lasting. I know because I feel it too.

In my last book, Sex Object, I asked how it was possible that we still have no word to describe what happens to women living in a country that hates them. Terms like “trauma” or “triggered” don’t quite capture the cumulative impact of how living under sexism slowly whittles away your sense of safety and self.

For once, it does not feel good to be right.

This lack of shared language feels more urgent now than ever — how can we explain to the people in our lives, the men in our lives, what is happening with us if we don’t have the words to do so? How can we probe our own experiences if there’s no framework to give name to what we’re feeling?

Here’s what we do know: We know that violence causes trauma. We know that living in stressful and harassing environments can cause anxiety, PTSD, and depression. And we know that to be a woman in America is to live with the daily threat of all of these things.

Researchers who study objectification theory have shown that when women are dehumanized, it has a profound impact on their mental health. Other studies have shown a direct link between misogyny and psychological trauma and distress. Though we may not have the language to name what is happening to women, its impact is well-documented.

What we are witnessing right now through the response to Kavanaugh — and the slow-roll comeback of various men held to account by #MeToo — is a large-scale dismissal of women’s reality. It’s a national gaslighting by politicians and pundits saying Yes, I’m sure something happened to Dr. Blasey Ford, but the poor thing must be mistaken. It’s a mass trauma perpetrated by leaders who would tell women in their most painful of moments that it’s men who are the real victims.

This is an unraveling of the lies this country tells itself about women’s progress.

I can’t help but wonder what this will do to us in the end. I’d like to believe that women will come out stronger — after all, we’ve been here before. But while I have faith in women’s perseverance and strength, there is a creeping sickness in the pit of my stomach. I know that women will be deeply harmed by being shown, for the hundredth time, that our pain doesn’t matter.

And though I still don’t have the words to describe what it means to be a woman in a country that hates you, I can feel it as clearly as I can read any word on a page. For now, that will have to be enough.