This post is going to offend some of you. And I am okay with that because I am offended by the election of Donald Trump. And I have a right to be offended, I get to be angry, hurt, scared and confused in wake of this election. Let me tell you how this looks from my perspective. Let me tell you the impact the message that this election has on me. I am tired of the posts saying that myself and others need to move past being angry, that we should sit down and shut up, that we need to accept that Trump has been elected president of the United States and we do not have a right to speak out. I get to have a voice, an opinion, I have as much of a right to state my fears, concerns, and the impact this election has on me as much as those who believe Trump was the best choice get to express their favor and excitement. No one gets to say that my thoughts, fears or concerns are invalid. Because this is my story, it is my journey and it is my experience and it is very real.
Let me start with some statistics all of them pulled from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network):
1 in 6 women are victims of rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime.
1 in 33 men are victims of rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime.
344 out of 1,000 rapes are reported to the police.
63 reports lead to an arrest.
13 cases are referred to a prosecutor’s office.
7 cases lead to a felony conviction.
6 rapists will be incarcerated.
Out of 1,000 rapes only 6 rapists will ever go to prison. That is less than 1%.
I was raped. I filed a report. It went nowhere. I will never know the name of the man that raped me. He will never sit behind bars for the hurt that he caused me. I will never have justice through the legal system. And that is part of my story. And that is also why I am determined to find my voice, to find my justice and to empower others to do the same. In lieu of this election, the American population has voted for a man that says I do not have that right. A dangerous man has been elected to represent the American people. He will be given the ability to veto legislation, grant pardons, write Executive Orders, and will be in an office that is supposed to mean something. He is supposed to meet the qualifications of a leader, and be who is best suited to lead America. If this is the best that we have here in America then I am ashamed.
I am ashamed because this supposed leader has bragged in videos, made comments and holds to the fact that he can say “You know I’m attracted to beautiful women. I just started kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” And it continues to: “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the pussy… You can do anything.” When pressed about it on the campaign trail his response was “That was locker room banter” His response was not an apology. His response was not remorse. His response was defending his rhetoric. His comments objectify women. These comments are degrading, offensive, and the basis of rape culture. The fact that Trump has women who have made accusations of sexual assault and he is still elected as President if the very reason that rapes and sexual assaults are not reported.
The message that Trump being elected President sends is that women are objects. That even if there are accusations of sexual assault he is still fit to lead the country. That sends a clear loud message that as a woman if someone is considered a star they have a right to do whatever they want. It sends a message that millions of Americans are willing to overlook this rhetoric, this culture, and the deep ramifications and pain of sexual assault and rape. My heart breaks every time I hear a story where someone has endured one of the most horrific crimes.
Let me tell you what impact being raped has had on me. I have had nightmares and I still have them sometimes. I am talking, wake you up in a complete panic, unable to breathe, sometimes throwing up, body drenched in sweat, shaking, muscles hurting, painful, type of nightmares. I have anxiety, I get overwhelmed and it becomes hard to breathe and my chest becomes tight, heavy and my panic alarms in my brain get turned on in hyper mode. I become hyper alert in crowds, or when something seems off. I go to events and can have a great time, but it can easily turn into a moment of trying to stay present, to try to keep my mind from going through all the things that can go wrong. It has shaken my sense of security, I like to be aware of what is going on behind me. I plan escape routes from situations that should be “safe” just in case I need to utilize that plan. Because I have endured being kidnapped, threatened with a gun and raped. I was forced in a situation where I had no voice, where my opinion did not matter. I was an object to the guy that raped me. He made that clear to me in the things he said and did.
The fact that America has chosen this candidate sends my alarms off. It sends a message that my safety does not matter. It sends the message that I am not worth protecting, that in the end a man with this mentality is fit to lead the country. Look at the stories, look at social media, it is quickly becoming full of stories where women have experienced being grabbed, touched, and talked down to with the words of the President Elect being quoted.
Don’t tell me that I have to put this in the past. That I have to forgive him. That I have no right to be angry. Don’t tell me that I have to accept him as a leader. He is a perpetrator and enabler of the terrors that I have lived through. My heart gets to grieve, I get to have fear, concerns, and worries, I get to be angry, I get to be confused and wonder how and why this happened. My concerns are valid. My anger is valid. My fear is valid. My sadness is valid. It is valid because it is my story. It is valid because it is at the very core of the hell that I have lived through and that still has impacts on my life.
I get to plan how I am going to create a sense of safety for myself in spite of what is going on in the world around me. I get to state my concerns and voice my lack of confidence in a man that has yet to stand up for my safety, for my protection and for my right to say no. I get to be angry that it seems like other issues outweighed my right, my voice, and my security. I get to find a voice. I get to speak out. I get to say that I disagree, that I am dissatisfied and that I am not going to accept the status quo. I get to be hesitant to accept that now that the campaign is over things will change because he “just said those things to get elected.” I get to demand that Congress and my fellow Americans hold him to a high standard. I get to demand that the President-elect apologize, that he makes ending rape culture a priority. I get to say that I will not support him, that I will speak out against him and I get to do that proudly, without fear, and with good cause. This is my story, this is how I choose to find a voice and it is a choice I get to make. I will not be violent, I will not speak hate, but I will speak the truth and I will speak my concerns. Most importantly, I will not sit down and accept what has happened, because my voice matters.