I need to address the “if they are telling the truth, why didn’t they come forward at the time, and report it earlier?” excuse that’s being used to discredit the sexual abuse stories that seem to be coming up on a daily basis.
Forget all the stats about sexual abuse victims not coming forward and why. Forget that inappropriate groping seems to be an accepted right of passage for young men in our society. Forget the “he only hit her because he was drunk and he’s been under a lot of stress lately” rhetoric that reinforces violence against women. Forget the “she dressed like she was asking for it” pervasion of the truth that continues to legitimize rape culture.
And forget the following if you wish:
I have personally experienced both inappropriate sexual and physical behavior as a younger woman, and in neither instance did I go to the police. Whilst, undeniably illegal in nature, I was embarrassed. I was horrified. I was ashamed. I thought in some warped way maybe it was my fault.
Looking back, I wish I’d spoken out, but the bottom line is, I didn’t. However, if either of those men were about to become one of the most powerful men in the world, I would. Or at least I hope I would, given the absolute vilification, I would knowingly undergo.
For these women, the allegations are not about campaign opportunities (although there is no doubt both campaigns are exploiting the face of sexual abuse and using victims as human shields to deflect their own failings.) They are about women who, as frightened as they may be of sharing such personal experiences, realize that they have no choice but to speak up now.
“Why now,” you ask “and not during the primaries or earlier on?”
To me, it’s obvious.
These very same women most likely felt (much like everyone else) that he didn’t have a chance in hell, so, why put themselves under the microscope by drudging up the past?
Well, guess what, we were all wrong.
I’m sure that with every day he inched closer to the presidency they struggled with whether to come forward or not, certain that something else would tip the “insanity scale” of his campaign possibly winning.
Sadly, this didn’t happen.
Remarks, comments or actions that would’ve derailed any other campaign did nothing to his. I don’t know why, I don’t know what it says about our society, I don’t know when “ignorance is bliss” became so blissfully and alarmingly ignorant; all I know is the more misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, demeaning, sexist and divisive his fevered campaign performances became, the more he seemed to gain popularity.
So they spoke up, NOW....
They spoke up because society made them... They spoke up because so many chose to ignore all the other alarming things he has said or done... They spoke up because who would want a man like this in the White House? Who would want a man like this as a role model for their children? Who would want a man like this representing them around the world? Who would want a man like this heading up peace negotiations (or to quote Hillary Clinton “A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his hands anywhere near the nuclear codes” )
You might say “what about Bill Clinton?” My response? If I’d known way back then what I know now about his alleged sexual behavior, I wouldn’t have supported him either.
With #Repealthe19th trending on Twitter (polite words fail me), with these women being vilified at every turn and with everything we know about Donald Trump, often in his own words, can you honestly hand on heart say you believe every one of these women are lying?
If you can, fine. If you can’t, think twice and ask yourself, would you be brave enough to do what these women have done? Would you be brave enough to step out of the safety of your own shadow because you found yourself scared once again, scared that the same sexual predator might just be the next President of the United States if you didn’t?