FYI: Women stay silent to survive. However, allegations are necessary to get the process going. It’s what happens. Someone alleges that someone else did something. From there, an investigation is supposed to take place to determine if the allegations are founded or not. But we’re in a different world now. Now that a man who said the following is sitting in the Oval Office:
Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.
Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.
Unknown: That’s huge news.
Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.
She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything. (NYT 10/8/16)
We heard all of this in the days before the election but it didn’t matter. He was elected anyway. And I wondered at the time how knowledge of his sexual proclivities would affect the country going forward. I wondered if it would begin a very necessary conversation that the predators among us have skated right past forever. Would any of them be called to account for their own behavior?
Well, now we know. Men who engage in predatory behavior are dropping like flies. We may disagree over who should lose his job for past behavior in an attempt to not throw the baby out with the bath water, but maybe that ship has sailed. Maybe it’s not the time for discernment. Maybe that comes later when the dust settles and the conversation is in full swing.
Because here’s the thing. I have a feeling that the floodgates have opened and they’re not closing anytime soon. And as upsetting as the allegations are, we need to hear them. Everyone needs to know what women have been dealing with forever. They need to hear the words spoken and screamed by women who have survived these experiences. Healing will not take place without it.
Society has looked past bad behavior by skeevy men long enough forcing victims into the shadows. Little girls learn early that they’re not to tell what happens in the family so when we experience the same from our teachers we’re unsure what to do. When the father of the children we babysit takes us home and puts his hands under our shirt or between our legs, we don’t know what to do. If we tell our mothers, will they look at us with disdain, blaming us for the experience? What did you do? Did you lead him on? Or worse.
When we leave home, will it be a supervisor that puts his hands on us at work suggesting that we might get a promotion if we play along as we panic at the overture? Or will it be a college advisor who suggests that if we’d only date him our thesis would go much better, as we’re dumbfounded at his request? Or will it be a community that fails us? Will they protect a man in a position of authority as he harasses and assaults teenaged girls? Will they vote the man into higher office, ignoring the tearful accounts by his victims, now adults?
And when a neighbor sits in his vehicle at the top of our driveway, staring at us while we work in the yard, perhaps we summon the courage to try something new, laughing hysterically as he speeds off when we throw the shovel over one shoulder and begin walking in his direction, a small victory in a sea of endless bullshit.
The sad fact is, many women begin their lives experiencing abuse at the hands of a trusted adult. And it’s made clear at the time that if we tell, bad things will happen. So we learn to stay silent and survive. It’s expected. As it is now. If we speak out, we’re not believed. If we don’t speak out, then we’re blamed for not doing so. After all, if it truly happened, we would have spoken up. We would have told someone. Never mind that we’ve been conditioned from childhood to stay silent. That when we do speak up, a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts is realized as we’re effectively kept in our place.
It’s clear that a conversation will happen no matter how uncomfortable this makes people. We’ll be hearing about some disgusting behavior and it will trigger PTSD reactions in many survivors. But we have a chance now to deal with this predatory behavior. And the best place to begin is at the top. If other men lose their jobs over allegations of unwanted sexual behavior, proven or not, then so should our sitting president. Every woman who came forward stands by her story and there were too many not to believe them. What happened to these women should have mattered during the election. That it didn’t is telling us something about who at least some of us are. No matter any other concerns people had about this man, predatory behavior, admitted or alleged, should have been enough to send him back to his own life.
However it happens, Donald Trump needs to be removed from office, either by his own decision to resign or by whatever means provided by our constitution. And it needs to happen now.
Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women. New York Times. October 8, 2016.