Sexual Misconduct

As the 2016 presidential election approaches and becomes increasingly rude, loud, abrasive, sexist, xenophobic, alarmist, bullish, uncivil, and threatening, I find myself backing off: I’m not good at conflict.

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I think most Americans understand the split within the Republican party. They recognize the anger and disappointment of Trump supporters who do not necessarily support Trump the man, but will vote for Trump, the candidate, as a means of giving the finger to the ‘establishment’ that has ignored their needs. I get that.

The most recent allegations of Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct have had an unexpected, positive outcome. Women who have never talked of their victimization are speaking out. However, questioning the truthfulness of women, who have accused Trump of predatory behavior so many years after the incident, shows a lack of awareness regarding the victims’ shame and reticence.

Some years ago, I had written a one-act play that featured incest. Two writing friends were giving me feedback on my work. And at some point, I mentioned that I had been sexually abused by a neighbor when I was six. I had never told anyone. When I finished my story, they shared their tales of sexual abuse. Three out of three! I was floored. The point is that we mature women of a certain age… growing up in perfectly average families in perfectly average environments, were abused, but we each felt ashamed and told no one.

Living in Bowling Green, Ohio, I was sexually abused in 1967 by a doctor in the company of his nurse! And living in Buffalo, NY, I was sexually abused in 1973 by another doctor. (Please, consider the fact that the second and third incidents were at the hands of “do no harm” physicians.)

You may wonder why it has taken me nearly 50 years to reference (‘reference,’ as opposed to talk about) abuse that happened so long ago. I think that I was embarrassed… soiled, and I couldn’t give voice to the unspeakable.

dscn3417Thanks to the publicity regarding candidate Trump, the issue of predatory sex is out there blowing in the wind. On October 11, National Public Radio ran a piece titled “One Tweet Unleashes a Torrent of Stories of Sexual Assault.” The article tells of writer Kelly Oxford who shared her story of sexual assault on Twitter. In response, thousands of women replied.

Should you want to read some of the responses to Oxford’s Tweet, you can find the NPR article by Camila Domonoske at http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/11/497530709.

Finally, the topic of sexual predation is out of the closet and on the table. As more and more older women speak up, younger women will not wait so long to speak up. Thank you, Donald Trump.

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About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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14 Responses to Sexual Misconduct

  1. Robyn Wallerich says:

    May be your best blog yet! So helpful and healing – besides being so well written!

    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you, Robyn. As for election evening, I plan to celebrate regardless of the outcome. Watching the returns surrounded by friends is celebratory… and if necessary, soothing.

  2. Monica says:

    Add me to the list except I was 33 years old & had the audicity to want to work at a so called man’s job

    • timeout2 says:

      Sometimes I think that we have made no progress at all, and other times, I’m quite uplifted. Since your day as a minority woman working in a man’s world, a lot has changed for the better. Thanks to trail blazers like you, Monica, gender-specific careers is mostly a thing of the past.

  3. 2000detours says:

    I’m sorry that happened to you. What kind of pain must be living in a man to make him even think of doing that to a girl? I’ve grown to pity Trump.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Detour, I haven’t read a blog from you recently. Is everything OK at your end? As for a man’s motivation, I am not so sure that men who force themselves on women experience pain. I think that predatory men just haven’t acknowledged that their actions are not cool or acceptable in the 21st century.

  4. Bar Scott says:

    Bravo Doris!!!

    My Gyno abused me too, as did numerous boyfriends and non boyfriends in varying degrees. Much to talk about dear friend.

    Home tomorrow.

    B

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • timeout2 says:

      One of my abusive doctors was a gynecologist too. I’m been thinking a lot about the power that comes with title. Dianne says that she breaks the doctor/patient power barrier on their first meeting by addressing the doctor by his first name. A good idea. Safe travels.

  5. Caroline Vornberg says:

    Doris: as is your MO, you’ve gotten me thinking…again!
    This horrible result of a male culture without apology for bullying, mean and ugly behavior spawns rape. Our society MUST listen to the brace women who are sharing, support that sharing and teach our males to be much more sensitive to all. Until this is openly discussed -as you do eloquently stated, we are doomed to keep this violation secret and tacitly not disproved. Thank you, Doris!

    • timeout2 says:

      Always nice to hear from you, Caroline. Now that the topic has made the media, I am hopeful that bringing the degree and persuasiveness of male-hunkering -around-the-campfire (or bus) sharing tales of ‘banter’ and conquest will pass.

  6. marilynjh says:

    I clearly remember when former Miss America Marilyn VanDerber came out about the sexual abuse she suffered from her prestigious medical doctor father. I was in the audience one night when she spoke in Denver to a packed room and asked who amongst us had suffered abuse. Half the room raised their hands.

    Thank you for referencing your experiences. You are such a gift.

    Marilyn

    • timeout2 says:

      Not to paint doctors or the entire male population with the same broad brush, but the number of women who have been ‘put upon’ is startling. Half a room of women raising their hands is telling. Now that the subject is out and about, maybe… maybe what? Is it too much to hope that women will recognize the strength in numbers and speak up. And men… they just might get the message. All this laughter and dismissal of political correctness / how about just aiming for common civility?

  7. Gearhart, James says:

    We Lutheran theologians have understood ‘sinful’ human behavior on a continuum of “thought, word, and deed”, and have understood that healthy human behavior moves in the opposite direction…to love your neighbor as yourself “in thought, word, and deed”. The abuse that you and others have suffered is deplorable. and I grieve with you and others who have been victimized by those who, perhaps, have not found ways to love either themselves, let alone others.

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear James, Thank you for your thoughtful ‘take’ on abuse and reminding me that likely the perpetrators have “not found ways to love either themselves, let alone others.” Something to keep in mind.

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