Trump, Sex Offenders and Safety in America
The start of 2020 has been a roller coaster ride of emotions (both ups and downs) for me and if you know me or survivors well, you know we don't like managing multiple emotions at once. For weeks, like many other Americans, I had been following Trump's impeachment trial. My lows started when the stark reality of this very fake trial began to set in and a high was when Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump and said we needed witnesses. What I realized was that Trump's impeachment meant more to me than just his receiving condemnation for his corrupt and unjust behavior with Ukraine. Sure, that was one of the reasons driving my desire for his demise, but it goes deeper.
Trump represents every man (race aside) who has been constantly protected and never punished for his sexual misdeeds. The parallel between the numerous sex offenders and abusers in my life and our nation's leader are stark--none of them have been brought to justice. You know how that makes me feel? Vulnerable and insignificant. It is suffocating.
I'm a Barnard graduate, which means for four years at least once a week, I was told by the women's liberal arts school that I was a "strong, strong, Barnard woman." It made an impression. It empowered a young black woman from the south who didn't know how to voice her past injustices. It made this woman, who felt like love was not or ever would be unconditional, feel loved unconditionally. If only I could wake up every morning now and receive praise like I did 16 years ago--although, I could set my Amazon Echo to do that through Alexa...it wouldn't be the same!
So back to our evil totalitarian leader...here we are and our president's acquittal gives me a panic attack. This is a man who has been recorded speaking about sexually harassing women and laughing about it, recorded demanding political favors or else, who has paid off women to keep quiet about his sexual misconduct and known for racism and bigotry and yet he continues to gain support and momentum among (mostly) white Americans who think of him as the next great white savior. We cannot stand by while our country is ruled by a misogynist totalitarian. When I was a little girl, bright eyed and hopeful, my father, a man who walked side-by-side with Malcolm X during the Black Power movement in the 60s, told me that our country was built on racism and lies and run by criminals. I wanted him to be wrong.
Here I am, 30 years later, and his voice rings true in my ears. I am taking each day to figure out how I can create positive change in this world. Expanding awareness for the long-term negative effects of sexual abuse and harassment in children, women and men is my mission, and maybe one day men like Trump will be in jail before they are ever considered worthy of being voted in as a political leader. We cannot be silent.