Dear Mr. Trump,
I am not a beautiful woman. I am in my 50s, short, a little fat, with unruly hair, which in its new stiff and graying incarnation requires frequent cropping. In adolescence my bushy eyebrows were a unibrow I resisted waxing. When I was a girl, I had a gaping diastema, which mercifully all but disappeared without braces. I never took to make-up or pretty clothes or elegant shoes with six-inch heels. In short, not supermodel material. And yet, despite being what you, Mr. Trump, would have called “a dog” or “Miss Piggy,” I too have experienced sexual harassment and assault from males of varying ages, even those old enough to be my father or grandfather. I am proof that your, Mr. Trump, strategic campaign to discredit your alleged victims by disparaging their looks as evidence of your innocence is no evidence of your innocence. Because, let me tell you, even “dogs” get sexually assaulted.
The first time was when I was six. At a birthday party, a man, the father of one of the guests, invited my friend and me to climb into his lap. We did, since to do otherwise would have been disrespectful, and sat facing each other. His breath smelled of cigarettes and vodka, and he proceeded to slither his fingers into our underwear while making darting boozy eye contact with us. It didn’t take us long to abandon his lap. At that time, I was naïve enough to think his behavior unusual, and told my parents what happened. I recall the man being invited to our apartment for a “talk,” and subsequently witnessing him leave the said apartment with the look of a ghost. I don’t know what my parents said to him, but I am grateful they took me seriously. We never mentioned it again.
Fast forward five years, and I am on a crowded bus going across town, my grandmother seated in a window seat, when I feel a hardness push into my buttocks. The hardness doesn’t back off even when the crowd disperses. I am frozen partly from curiosity and partly from fear. He stood behind me the entire 30-minute trip, pushing up against my dress with a dropped waist, the pattern of large crimson poppies like handprints on the grey silk of the fabric. His crotch and my 11-year-old ass were the only points of contact between our bodies, and I did not dare turn to look at him. When everyone alighted at the final stop, his appearance surprised me – short, balding, clean, no attempt at eye contact. I wouldn’t learn the word “frottage” for another decade.
My final brush with sexual assault came during my medical residency training in Boston on a morning commute on the Red Line. It was your kind of a pussy grab, Mr. Trump, except it turned into a grabus interruptus, as I knocked the offender’s hand out of the way before it reached its destination. Still I commuted by bicycle or a car for the rest of my training.
These three incidents, so familiar to most women, were propped on a lattice of smaller, though no less damaging assaults. The boys in third grade who, standing behind me in line, laughed about the lack of space between my chunky thighs. A family friend my grandmother’s age, after hugging me a little too closely for a little too long, gazing hungrily at me, commented on my beautiful smile. A colleague camp counselor, a handsome youth of eighteen, who in response to my particularly clever debate point, bored his icy stare into my face and called me an “ugly shit.”
So you see, Mr. Trump, even though I am an “ugly girl,” I know you. The likes of you have groped me and frottered me and tried to grab my pussy. And when I didn’t meet their standards, they “educated” me about my place in this world. I am in good company: Rosie O’Donnell, Angelina Jolie, Carly Fiorina, your daughter Ivanka, your many wives, Miss USA contestants have all fallen prey to your third grade worldview. And when all else fails, when your catastrophically microscopic vocabulary has been exhausted, it is the conclusion “nasty woman” that sums up your opinion of anyone who bruises your Chinese porcelain ego.
Mr. Trump, you don’t really have standards – not moral ones, not ethical ones and not beauty ones. The truth is, Trump, you would grope me and frotter me if I allowed it, and you would feel like a king if I encouraged it. You are that simple. Because small men like you, Trump, require constant affirmations of your dominance, no matter how insignificant, the way a vampire requires blood. And if I thwarted your attempts or worse, revealed them to the world, you would ridicule the very idea that you could ever notice an “ugly dog” like me, let alone expend your sexual energy on her. And some men would laugh knowingly. Because that’s how they got away with it too.
Mr. Trump, on the eve of your epic loss to the most qualified candidate ever to run for the office of President of the United States of America, I and the majority of my fellow Americans see your bluster for what it really is: the final desperate gasps of a would-be emperor without clothes. And what poetic justice there is in witnessing the land mines of your own words and deeds take you down. I should pity you under such circumstances, and then try to access compassion. But, Mr. Trump, I am just an ordinary nasty woman. I am sitting back to enjoy the spectacle. Pass the popcorn, please!
Cross posted at Arkadia blog
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.