Almost a year ago something happened to me. I was changed, forever. I wrote about it, but published it anonymously, ashamed of what people would think.
Now, though, when we have a man running for President who has affected innocent women’s lives the same way mine was affected, now I’m coming clean. Because I can’t stand for people justifying his actions by brushing them off. Like they didn’t have an affect on a daughter, a wife, a mother. Like they didn’t change someone’s life forever. Like a man gunning to represent our country didn’t leave at least one woman feeling empty and lost for years afterwards. Because one is too much, and the amount of women who have since come forward is sickening.
And you can blame the media, you can blame the victim for “asking for it” (because, what, she wore a cute skirt?). You can even blame him for just being a rich, white man; for acting like he was raised to act.
But that won’t change anything. I know. Casting blame does nothing, and pointing fingers moves the conversation to a different place, where it doesn’t belong.
Apologies, sincere or not, don’t help. When someone takes from you, when someone harms you in a way you didn’t think was possible, nothing will ever remedy that pain.
The only thing to do is try and stop it from happening again. Come forward.
So here I am. You can call me stupid, say I shouldn’t have been drinking, suggest that I’m a whore. But it happened, and I can no longer stand idly by as people rally around a man who has (likely) raped numerous women, and who has caused the same pain in them that I have felt. Pain that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, ever. Pain that echoes, that creeps up on me when I least expect it, haunting me.
Because I am someone’s daughter. I’m someone’s sister, cousin, aunt. I am not a number or statistic. I am not merely a “victim.” I was saving myself for marriage, I wore a purity ring. But one night changed everything. And now, a man who has changed numerous lives for the worse, is yelling and screaming on my TV, saying he was just joking around.
Because right now, our current President has made it abundantly clear where he stands on sexual assault. Our Vice President has launched a campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses. With such a national attitude of disgust towards sexual assault, and assaults still happening at an alarming rate, can we really afford to be a country who’s Commander in Chief brags about his own conquests? Who acts as if “boys will be boys” is really a viable argument, or excuse?
Can we afford to let children grow up with a President who condones this “bad behavior” and jokes about how many women he’s been with? Can we allow our little boys to have a President that laughs at how ugly and fat some women are? Is that the example we want to set? A grown man who has hurt so many people, and destroyed so many lives, yet brushes it all off, refuses to take responsibility?
I’m just one girl, who on one night, by one young man, got raped. My life hasn’t been the same since, and I’m still working on being okay. I’m still working on not being able to change what happened, on having no control over any of this. Feeling like there’s nothing I can do.
So, I’ll do this: lend my voice. Because if even just one accuser is telling the truth, that man should be punished. He should not be rewarded by becoming our President. He should have no supporters, no one should be cheering him on. Because if things were different, and it was my attacker who was running for President, I can’t imagine what I would do. To see people clapping for the man who destroyed so much of me? I’m hallow and empty as it is, I could never imagine having to watch my attacker brag about what he does, and still get cheers from a crowd.
I’m not trying to start an argument, I’m really not. But I can no longer hear and see people referring to these claims as something that doesn’t matter. Because it does matter. This is a man who has said and done so many disrespectful, possibly unlawful, crude, awful things to and about women that writing them all down would take hours. And people brush it off.
Please, don’t. Brush off his snorting, or how he rolls his eyes at debates, apparently still in elementary school. Brush off his horrible grammar or inability to put together a coherent thought. Brush off his orange skin and awful combover. But please, don’t brush this off. This matters, and this hurts. Don’t treat this as a media scam or women trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame. That’s not what this is about. This is about the hundreds of thousands of women who have had their dignity taken from them, and about one man who seems to think that that’s funny.
Read my original story, published anonymously on Literally, Darling almost one year ago, here.