I’ve been a Trump hater since the beginning but today was the first day he made me cry.
I’ve been frustrated almost to the point of tears before while trying to explain why as a woman I could never support him to people who didn’t want to hear but I’ve never totally lost it before. So why, after all the bullshit he’s said about women and Muslims and Mexicans and LGBT people and everyone other than U.S. born white men did today’s release of the recording of him bragging about grabbing women and kissing them and grabbing the pussy finally break me?
It’s because we’ve all been there.
We all have the stories. The grabbing, the groping, the men who won’t back off, the ones who feel like they are entitled to any woman’s time and body. Ask any woman. Don’t be surprised if she asks you which time you want to know about.
I was living in an apartment complex with a popular bike trail that connected to the parking lot. I walked out there after classes all the time. There were always people around. One day a guy came up behind me and grabbed me. He kissed me. When he let me go I did a quick scan. We were completely alone. That was really unusual. He told me that he had been watching me. I had never seen him before. I never have the snappy comeback or the instinctive right jab that I should in these situations but I instinctively knew to turn and start walking back to the parking lot. It wasn’t far. He walked beside me calmly and asked if I wanted to go out. I agreed in order to keep things peaceful and friendly since we were still alone. Then he matter of factly told me that he was married and his wife was pregnant. He was looking for someone to have sex with until his wife gave birth. I remember his next words. “Is that a problem for you?”
I turned and looked at him like he was the biggest idiot ever. “Yes, that’s a problem!” That’s when I got huffy. I was offended on his wife’s behalf. By then we were in the parking lot. He let me walk away. I think he was shocked that I had back talked him about his plan.
But here’s the thing. Turns out they lived in the apartment above me. He would stare at me in the parking lot or in the stairways. He watched me get my mail. I changed grocery stores because he worked at the one I had been going to. I rearranged my life to avoid him but it never occurred to me to say anything about it to anyone. Thinking about it now I really wish I would have gone up there and told his wife what was going on but I don’t think I’d change anything else I did. What’s the point? No one would have done anything. He wasn’t doing anything illegal.
And that’s the point. We rearrange our lives all the time to avoid these jerks and don’t think anything of it. It’s just the way it is.
You know how you can always tell if a movie or TV shows was written by a man? There’s a scene where a woman goes alone to her car in a dark parking lot. While she walks there, she is fumbling in her oversized bag for her keys. No, sir! Never happened. Ask any woman. We know if we are going to have to walk into that situation. We got our keys out when we were in the last secure and well lighted area. We are holding them tightly in our hands in case we need to use them as a weapon. If we are able, we remotely unlock the car when we are about 10 steps away. Not so early that someone could get to it before us but in time for us not have to slow down much to get safely in the car.
We all know that because we are all taught to protect ourselves from men who feel entitled to us. We are universally taught how to protect ourselves because men aren’t universally taught that we aren’t their property.
So to hear a man bragging about how he grabs women against their will broke me.
And don’t even “Not all men” me. I know the majority of men are fine. But let a woman go walking somewhere alone and she’ll be able to tell you the location of every man under the age of 65 within 100 yards of her. I’ve had a man get within an inch of my face and roar at me. I’ve been yelled at by a guy in a car while I was in the dog park who wanted to me to watch him masturbate. These were in the last few years. Don’t try telling me that it’s a compliment. I’m in my 40s and believe me, I don’t dress up all pretty to go to the dog park. I was just the closest female human at the time.
I had my hot bath with a candle and small cry. Now, I’m more pissed off than anything. This isn’t locker room talk. This is bragging about participating in terrorizing an entire gender for our whole lives. It’s time to call out the supporters of this toxic masculinity.