(WARNING: Mega-political rant with a deep dive into sexual abuse/assault territory.)
Back when the #MeToo movement was first getting started, I sheepishly confessed to my therapist that all I could really bring myself to say about it was a Facebook vague-post with just the hashtag and nothing else. She -- correctly -- told me that NO ONE was owed or entitled to my story. No. One.
And then, like millions of women, I watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony last week. It was brave and powerful and we were not owed it or entitled to it, but I was deeply grateful to her for telling it. And in front of such a...well...less supportive and understanding audience than say, Facebook or my blog comments.
And then! I watched the president of the United States of America (after managing to keep his mouth shut for...what? Five whole days?) stand in front of an audience and mock her, repeatedly. (Using the same turn of phrase -- "I don't remember! I don't remember!" -- he used when mocking a disabled reporter so many moons and scandals ago, back before the pivot to presidential that never came.) And I watched the faces behind him erupt in laughter.
I was molested by a male family member when I was a toddler.
Sexually assaulted by male acquaintances in grade school and college.
Sexually harassed by male coworkers at two separate companies in my twenties, only to have my complaints shoved under the rug by female HR employees each and every time.
Groped by a total stranger who lifted my skirt to expose my ass while I was simply walking next to my husband.
And raped by a female acquaintance/designated driver in my thirties. (There's a whoooooooole lot to unpack there, yes. But that'll stay between me and my therapist.)
Do I remember each and every date and location? No, because memory doesn't work like that. I remember the strong grips on my wrist, my waist, my hair. The rough feeling of a hand where a hand shouldn't be. The sudden flash of something vile during something perfectly consensual. The office copier room. The unexpected detour into a dark parking lot. The wine I drank, the short skirt I wore. The smug, amused face of someone having a little fun at my expense, and my own flush of confusion, embarrassment and anger.
Ha ha. It's all so very funny. Congrats on the Supreme Court though.
On November 6th, I will vote, of course. I will volunteer and drive people to the polls so they can vote. To vote out everyone who's looked away, stayed silent, made excuses, been complicit, laughed uproariously. Vote and rage, rage against the dying of the light.
But every day, I will raise boys who know better. I will raise them into men who know better. Who will know that there's nothing they're inherently entitled or superior to simply because of the luck of birth and genetics and chromosomes. Who will respect your daughters' bodies and brains. Who will not see them as conquests or playthings but as fellow human beings. Who will speak up on their behalf when someone is being a jerk and make sure they get home safe. Because their mother and father raised them to fucking know better.
This is my promise to the next generation of girls. I'm sorry it's taken so long.