- Editor’s Note: Liberal Canadian is deeply grateful and humbled to publish our first-ever guest post. This young woman is a sexual assault survivor who was greatly affected by Donald Trump’s election and has decided to share her point of view. We thank her for your courage and bravery in sharing her deepest truths.
I keep hoping that the heavy, breathless feeling in my chest will subside, but with each passing moment it becomes more clear that this is in fact reality.
People laugh, and joke. They tell me that “the world is ending” and “we’re all f*cked” as if it’s some kind of funny joke. But I’m not laughing.
The thing is, it’s not a joke for many of us. For many of us, our deepest fear has come true. For many of us, we no longer feel respected. For many of us, we no longer feel safe.
But people like me, we’ve already felt fear, rage, and sheer terror like this before. In fact, we’ve felt it much worse. But this week those feelings have come flooding back and they feel all too familiar now.
I take my meds. I go to therapy. I worked really hard to get to this point in my life. I continue, each day, to fight. But today I feel like I’ve been robbed from it all. All of my progress – shattered instantaneously.
People think I’m being overly dramatic.
“Did you take your meds today?” my mom asks me when I told her how I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
“Yes,” I assure her, knowing very well that it’s not some mood swing or chemical imbalance throwing my mood for a loop.
Don’t tell me I’m overly emotional. Don’t tell me I’m crazy. Don’t tell me “it’s not that bad.” Don’t tell me to “give him a chance.” Don’t tell me “this doesn’t affect you.”
I have the right to feel how I feel. It does affect it. It affects us all. These decisions do not just affect some and not others. Yes, the repercussions may in fact worse for others than they are for me, but we are all affected by this in our own ways.
One of the most powerful, high-profile countries in the world elected a man who openly admitted to grabbing women “by the pussy.” This man – this monster – continuously objectifies women and views them as objects for his own perverse amusement. Not to mention the various sexual assault allegations (which I legally have to refer to as “allegations” although I think we all know otherwise).
And for every single person who has tried to tell me “Hillary Clinton is no better” – I beg of you to ask yourself if you really believe that, deep down. Or are you just fed up with a system that isn’t playing to the exact beat of your drum?
I couldn’t even pull myself out of bed today. The utter thought of a sexist, racist, misogynistic, lunatic running the United States government shook me to my core in ways that I never thought possible. It brought back memories I never wanted to revisit. It further cemented that the world doesn’t care about women, and it never has. It’s made me honestly wonder if I will be alive at a point when it does, of if I will have to live this way forever – if my sisters will have to live this way forever.
I’ve always been judged for being a feminist. I’ve always been told no one likes feminists, and that I’d better tone it down or I will never find a husband. (Yes, someone actually told me that point-blank.)
Trump’s election means I no longer feel safe in my own skin, as a person and more so as a woman. As a white woman, I can only imagine what minority women feel like. The message is crystal clear at this point: we don’t matter. Women don’t matter. The only time we’re important is when we can offer something to someone else. In this society we, as women, are forced to a price for our existence. We don’t exist for free. When our bodies aren’t shamed, torn down, criticised, objectified, and vilified, they are sexualized, groped, cat-called, raped, slapped, f*cked, used and abused for someone else’s pleasure. We exist for someone else’s pleasure.
We do not matter, and it is time to admit that.
Please don’t tell me I’m a pessimist. It’s high time we swallow our fairytale ideas about women’s equality. Admit it. Admit that women do not matter in this society. We need to in order to work toward fixing the problem(s). Denying it does nothing, after all, look at where we are. We must admit that the majority of the world hates women. The United States electorate would rather see an absolutely horrific man become president than a woman. They would rather excuse bigotry, sexism, racism, xenophobia, sexual assault, and slander to avoid electing a female president. And yes, I realize Hillary Clinton is nowhere near perfect. But I also can’t comprehend how people were able to look past someone who made it so blatantly obvious as to why he shouldn’t be trusted to serve as president as he stood directly beside someone who never did.
How fortunate is it for those who elected this monster to have the comforting bubble of American privilege to live behind while the rest of the country and the world is forced to pay the price. I have to pay that price. Every single woman like me, who has been violated against her will, has to live with the fact that a man who sees no problem with that will run one of the most powerful countries in the world.
You know, you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I’ve never been able to stomach the thought of other people thinking they can do to me whatever they damn well please. I certainly couldn’t the night I was raped. Yes, raped. It was an assault on my freedom to wake up to a stranger’s hands around my neck, and it is an image that will be forever burned in my memory.
Yesterday my freedom was once again assaulted when the majority of Americans decided it was okay to elect a man who has already openly admitted he plans to assault millions of peoples’ freedoms, and who truly believes it is okay to take whatever he pleases from women.
I have been there. I had to fight a man 70 pounds heavier, with his hands around my neck, off of my naked body. I have had to fight for my life. And in that moment, I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if his hands locked around my neck was supposed to be a threat or some sick joke. I didn’t know if he was going to pull out a knife, a gun, anything. I didn’t know if I was going to live. I had no clue. All I knew was that I had only a few moments to fight for my life – and that’s exactly what I did.
And if you think that the fight ended when I escaped, you are sadly mistaken. Many survivors will tell you that often times the hardest part does not occur during the sexual assault. The hardest part comes from dealing with the aftermath of the trauma you experienced. The blatant assault on your freedom – on your body, mind, and soul.
I didn’t emerge from my bed for days after it happened. I refused to talk to police, detectives, family members and friends. I did not cry. I did not sleep. I did not eat. I just lay there. I have never been the same or felt the same since that happened – for better, and for worse.
“I’ve struggled to conceptualize my identity as a young woman in a world that’s made it so blatantly obvious that women are neither valued nor respected.”
I’ve struggled with drugs, alcohol, food, friends, relationships, school, work, and everything in between. I’ve struggled to conceptualize my identity as a young woman in a world that’s made it so blatantly obvious that women are neither valued nor respected. I’ve struggled to wake up. I’ve been suicidal. I’ve been on more medications and seen more counsellors than I can count on both hands. I have felt crazy, I have acted “crazy,” I have broken down and I have survived. I have survived. I have survived. And I will always, each and everyday, remind myself of that fact.
But when things like this happen, especially after believing in the good of the world for the first time in a long, long time, I am shattered. I once again I return to the shell of the girl I was that week I lay in bed unsure of who I was, where I was, and what had just happened to me. The week that I changed, entirely, as a person and as a woman.
So when you tell me that this “isn’t a big deal” – don’t. Because from my perspective, it’s more than a big deal. One of the most powerful countries in the world has set the bar shockingly low in regards to what is acceptable and what will be tolerated. In doing so, it has normalized sexual assault and abuse. And to me, that will forever be a big deal.
This is why I’m afraid [via YouTube]: