Spreading the Word

First, I’d like to thank everyone who read my last post about assault, left a comment, or sent me a note. I appreciate every act of kindness, compassion, and support.

It was scary to push “publish” in a way it never has been before, but once I did I felt a rush of relief. The second I let go of that post, I knew I did the right thing, no matter the response. Sometimes you don’t realize the weight you’re carrying until you release it.

I’ve read many stories about women being triggered by America’s presidential election. Some were on personal blogs, others in major news outlets. A few were written by my friends. Several people reached out to me and said, me too.

Reading about friends’ and strangers’ accounts of assault was both comforting and horrifying. But I believe there is power in our stories being out in the world. In sharing them. In breaking the silence.

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It’s my deepest hope that if one good thing comes out of this election (and by that I mean, in addition to having a woman president) it is that the conversation about sexual assault, discrimination, and misogyny is at the forefront of the national (and international) conversation.

Thanks to Donald Trump, the term, “locker room talk,” will never be the same. Let’s hope we can also retire the adage, “boys will be boys.” Both expressions give a pass on reprehensible behavior. The kind I don’t want my son to be a part of, nor his sister to be a recipient of.

I decided that I wanted to compile all the articles I’ve been reading about sexual assault and the triggering of this election season. You’ll notice, the posts are not only from Americans, but from women abroad. This election is global in importance. If you don’t believe me, check out J.K. Rowling’s Twitter account.

What is the point of creating a list like this? My first hope is that it may help women feel less alone and isolated in their experience with assault, and also acknowledge that so many of us (men included) have been feeling a lingering disgust and unease by the news emerging about Trump’s past.

Bonus points if this list sways anyone on the fence during this perilous election season.

Finally, if you know of an article or post about this topic that I missed, please leave a comment and I’ll continue to update it.

Blog Posts

Pulling the Trigger

Locker Room Talk

There are Weeks When Just About the Whole Internet Needs a Trigger Warning

Society is the Abusive Boyfriend From Whom I Can’t Escape

Scary Mommy Confessions: I Know How It Feels To Be Grabbed By The P*ssy

Cultivating Compassion for Gaslighting Survivors

Websites, Magazines, Newspapers

On a more positive note…Latest on Salon: Trump’s Locker Room Talk Has Given Women a Platform to Talk About Sexual Assault

Latest on The Establishment: When Trump Supporters Mock Sexual Assault Triggering

Lit Hub: Locker Room Banger is Just Another Name for Patriarchy

Huffington Post: Donald Trump’s Campaign Triggered Memories of Sexual Assault for NPR Star Diane Rehm

Huffington Post: Donald Trump and His Supporters are Actually Making Women Sick

The Establishment: America Is Literally in an Abusive Relationship with Donald Trump 

Slate: Donald Trump is a Human Trigger 

The Root: For Sexual Assault Victims Donald Trump is Triggering 

NY Times: For Many Women Trump’s ‘Locker Room Talk’ Brings Memories of Abuse 

Fusion: For These Sexual Assault Survivors the Rise of Donald Trump Has Been One Long Trigger

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The Thing About Assault

Here’s the thing about assault. It doesn’t go away. You feel it, years later. You feel it when you think about what happened to you. Close to the anniversary of the occasion. Or when you visit the place where it happened. When you have nightmares. When you tell your story. Stories.

You think about it when you hear the leaked tape of a presidential candidate casually boasting about assaulting women. About grabbing them by their genitals. About kissing them without asking. You think about it when he dismisses it as “locker room talk,” when many citizens of your country agree with him, even some women.

If you can’t handle the way men talk about women then you need to grow up, says some washed up TV actor, a former heartthrob turned misogynist.

Thankfully there are men in your life who call bullshit on this behavior. Who are pissed off to be included in a gender that normalizes this kind of conversation, that helps perpetuate our rape culture. Who remind you with their love and kindness that not all men talk like this, not all men think like this. That this is NOT OK. Thankfully there are also men not in your life who feel the same way. Professional athletes who say, this isn’t how I talk about women. Actors and writers and even some Republicans say it too.

Here’s the thing about assault. When you think about it, write about it, you feel it in your body. No matter how much time has passed. No matter what kind of assault you endured. You feel the adrenaline racing. You feel your heart rate rising. You return to your animal self, running through the woods, across a savanna, down a city block, hoping to outrun the predator who is chasing you. Maybe the predator never touches you. Maybe he just makes you run. Scares you because he can. Maybe he pushes you out of a job, a home, a school, a family.

Every woman I know has an assault story. Some men, too. Most women have more than one. I have several, and yet I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I was never raped, though when I was twenty years old I was grabbed the way presidential candidate Donald Trump brags about grabbing women, the way several women have accused him of grabbing them.

I have more stories that I won’t detail here, but let me be clear when I say this:

Every single one of them has risen up in the past few weeks.

Ever since the news of that leaked tape, ever since I watched the first and second presidential debates, especially the second. All those old stories, those old scars, they are still there and they came to find me. In my waking moments, and in my dreams.

Assault does not disappear. It stays with you forever. And we are about to hold a presidential election in our country with a man on the ticket who brags about such things, who has been accused about such things, and who frankly, I believe has done such things.

I didn’t intend to write about this today. After the second debate I wrote several essays and blog posts in my head, and threw them all away. I felt unable to capture my disgust and fear and horror. I still feel unable, but here I am, after having read many other accounts over these past weeks, by brave women, and horrified men, so many of us triggered and enraged and sickened.

But I’m not going to throw this one out. This one gets to stay.

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