My earliest memories are of sexual abuse by my father. I grew up in a town that had a thriving pedophile culture, my father’s actions were supported by his friends. He shared me with other men, they shared their daughters. I learned not only that I was made for the enjoyment of others but that men would hurt me. It took over 40 years to regain a sense of my own body, to allow men into my world. Only recently, at the age of 52, have I begun wearing bright colors, clothes that actually fit my shape, no longer so afraid to draw attention to myself. Years of hiding underneath baggy sweatshirts, black sweaters, trying to fade away literally through an eating disorder have been slowly put to rest as I finally, finally heal. Avoiding triggers, those places, movies, events that would send me reeling back into my victimization, I have emerged bit by bit from my cocoon. I never expected a presidential election to awaken that sick feeling, to create a terror I can barely express.
I have learned to listen to my gut, to understand where the real threats are. Alarms go off, I have learned to flee, find a safe place, tell other adults, just like I teach my Plum. These are important lessons we all teach our children. When something doesn’t feel right, that is enough. I was adamant with my children that they never ever had to give hugs, sit on laps, accept kisses even, maybe especially with relatives. Shaking hands, being polite is perfectly acceptable. Boundaries, learning from early on to establish and hold those, teaching them to protect themselves for all the times I wouldn’t be next to them to ward off danger. We teach our children to avoid creepy men, we listen to them when they tell us some adult makes them feel uncomfortable. We rush in now to dig deeper, to remove our child from impending peril, allegations are enough. What message are we sending to these same children when we refuse to listen to our brothers and our sisters when they say Donald Trump is dangerous to women, how much more evidence do we need?
This election is no longer about which party should win, I don’t think that has been the case for a long time. Personally I wish Elizabeth Warren had been our first female president, I could really get behind her ethically. What I cannot understand is why we still even have a race. The second debate is tonight, I don’t know if I can even watch. The flood on my news feed regarding the video that surfaced in which Donald Trump brags about his attempted sexual assault has sent me into a tailspin this weekend. Feeling an obligation to promote education about his behavior, I retweet and share, then curl up into a ball and hide. He is literally making me sick. How am I going to survive the next month, how can I maintain my status as survivor when my very country is threatened by a man who wants to lead all women back to victimhood? I grew up in a town that supported this thinking, what if our entire country allowed women to be objects?
I read posts where men say they have daughters, wives, mothers so they feel they must condemn his remarks. That’s a start. What about condemnation just because it is wrong? He is wrong? How about a revolution, a rising together in which we all agree that when danger lurks we listen to our gut and flee, right to the voting booth. God help us otherwise. God help me, I truly don’t know how to survive a country led by this scary man. I don’t have enough baggy clothes to fit around us all.