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.
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.
Thanks 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.