Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence
At the beginning of the election I was not completely on the Hillary train. I touted, “I’m not voting for a woman just because she’s a woman.” And I’m not. I’m voting for a profoundly competent, poised, and experienced leader.
But let’s, just for a moment, put her credentials aside and contemplate what voting for a woman will do for our country.
I’ll begin by sharing a personal revelation that I’ve had over the last year as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have campaigned and given speech after speech and insane remark after remark. After hearing and reading all of the unforgivable things Trump has said about women I’ve discovered I know this guy. Sadly, there are millions of him all over the country and you’ve probably met him. He is Brock Turner, he is Bill Cosby, and he is the person who raped me.
It has taken me over ten years to understand what happened to me during what I previously thought was just an uncomfortable sexual event, but after therapy and soul searching I have been able to come forward and share my story.
One evening after a party, someone climbed on top of me and removed my underwear when I was drunk. I woke to him entering me, in a room with four other people. After asking him to stop he kissed me. I was finally able to get him off of me when he “settled” for spooning. I was struck sober and drifted in and out of sleep that night.
That week at school I was called a whore and every other name imaginable. This guy had a girlfriend and I was seen as a seductress. He bragged to his buddies about having sex with me and I felt ashamed and guilty because I really began to think that it was my fault; I shouldn’t have been drunk.
As this cycle’s campaign has waged on I’ve seen why people like the guy who violated me think it’s acceptable. They have “locker room talk” that normalizes behavior that should never be tolerated. They are raised by men who objectify women through glances, cat calls, and lewd remarks. They believe it it is their right to be with a woman because she is there.
Over the last year I’ve heard disturbing and incredibly damaging beliefs leave the mouth of Donald Trump, and whether or not his supporters would say the same, their silence is their approval.
While this is politics, it’s deeper than what we see on the surface. Whether or not you think the Democratic candidate is the best choice, the impact of having a woman running for the highest office in the land has already impacted the landscape of American politics.
Every woman who has been disgusted by a candidate’s remarks about other women can appreciate what’s happening. You don’t have to be a victim of sexual misconduct to know what it’s like to be a woman in the United States in 2016. We’ve seen what we’re capable of and we’re not going to stand for this country to move forward in a direction that would have our daughters see the things we have. We will teach our sons consent and to speak up when they hear or see an injustice.
Having a female in a race to become a world leader has touched my life in ways I never expected. A woman has taken a spot held only before by men and as a woman I am charged and grateful to be a part of this time in history. Women across the United States are realizing that we don’t have to be marginalized. That we are brilliant, sophisticated, hilarious, and athletic women who will not be grabbed by their genitals without a fight from this day forward.