I promised not to comment on the election in this blog until November 9. That still goes. But let me put one toe over the line.
I heard the infamous Trump tape. I will let all of you make your own judgements about The Donald. I will only say that, if any of you were surprised by this latest revelation, you haven’t been paying attention. I’m sure there’s more to come.
What I really want to talk about is sexual assault.
I’ve known many women in my life. Many of these women have been victims of sexual assault; that is, the unwanted sexual advances or contact from either men or women.
I’ve known women who were abused by their friends, boyfriends, husbands, authority figures such as bosses or coaches, strangers, or worst of all, by their relatives. The impact of this trauma is nothing less than heartbreaking. It never strikes women in the same way.
Some of them lose their basic sense of self-worth and believe that the only way they can relate to men is to have sex with them. Other women suppress their sex drive entirely. Some learn to hate all men.
Some women battle depression or other mood disorders for years afterward. Some go into deep denial and pretend it never happened. Some women want to talk about it. Some don’t. Some talk about it too much. And some women choose to go on a long, painful journey that leads to healing and recovery.
Some women have chosen to come forward, either privately to trusted friends or family, or publicly by exposing their abusers. The women who come forward are sometimes believed, sometimes not. Often, their revelations lead to fractures within families and friendships that never heal. This is why most women who are molested choose to stay silent. It’s just easier.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m far from a feminist who thinks that every woman has the right to be believed. I am firmly in favor of due process and the constitutional guarantee of innocent until proven guilty.
Whatever the case, sexual assault is not a joking matter. It’s not funny. Any man who would find humor in it doesn’t have a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend or a coworker who has survived sexual assault.
One defense I’ve heard over the past 72 hours is, “It’s no big deal. All men talk like this from time to time.”
That is flatly, patently false! I’ve said and done many things in my life of which I’m not proud, but rape jokes are not part of that. Moreover, most of the men I’ve known over my life would not joke about such a subject. I am hard pressed to imagine my father joking or laughing about rape or sexual advances of any sort.
This election really has brought out the worst in our country, not the least of which is abject hypocrisy on both sides.
For those of you supporting Hillary, I suggest you study the term, “Enabling.” Those who enable sexual predators are little better than the predators themselves. If you want to call yourself a feminist and brag about the first female president, think long and hard about Bill Clinton’s victims. I’m looking at you, Ms. Albright and Ms. Pelosi.
As for you Trump supporters, many of you were around during Bill Clinton’s era. Why is it that character no longer matters? What makes Trump so much better than Slick Willie? I’m looking at you, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Limbaugh.
Finally, to any man or woman who has been sexually assaulted, I won’t presume to tell you how to feel. I won’t presume to tell you what you should do. The only thing I will do is beg you to please share your burden with someone you can trust. Don’t go through it alone.