Are You Listening?

I wrote a Thing on Facebook the other day, partially in reaction to a friend who posted some meme, partially in general frustration.  My Facebook isn’t author space, or even public for the most part, but several people asked if they could share the post.  I thought maybe I’d share it here, too, even though I usually don’t get specifically political (or terribly personal) on the old (neglected) blog here.

TW: Discussion of sexual assault, both personal experience and in the media.

In the past ten years, two men I didn’t know have felt so entitled to what they want that they groped my breasts. In public. In broad daylight. One of them stuck his hand through the window of my car at a gas station and reached into my shirt. The other tried to shove me off a trail in a public park, while kissing me and licking my face as he touched me. When I managed to fight him off, he went 50 feet down the trail and assaulted another woman. While she was holding her infant son. While her three year old daughter walked in front of her. While I was there, screaming at him to get away from her.

If you truly believe, whatever political slant you view the world from, that I am upset because Donald Trump, a man running for President, said the word “pussy”, you and I live in different worlds.

In my world, a man who boasts about grabbing women’s genitals because he wants to, because of his power and position, is a sexual predator. A man who thinks his desire to touch someone means more than their consent IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR.

If you think I’m offended by Donald Trump saying the word “pussy” because I’m a delicate, politically correct liberal flower child, you’re wrong. I’m offended by his consistent pattern of sexism and misogyny- absolutely.

But if you think what I heard in that tape was the word “pussy”, let me correct you. I heard a sexual predator bragging about his assaults.

I’ve met that man. I know that he thinks rolling down a window to help someone with directions means “yes”. I know that he thinks smiling at him means “yes”. I’ve met him at gas stations, in parks, at shows, at the soda fountain in a restaurant, at countless places and ages. Sometimes I’ve gotten away from him before he could take anything from me. Sometimes I haven’t.

I know you’re aware of my world, because I’ve told you about it. In my world, there are court cases, restraining orders, years of therapy. There is PTSD, depression, anxiety so inescapable that it robs people of security, relationships, sometimes of life itself.

I’m offended that the only thing you think could possibly -be- offensive was “pussy”, and not “grab them by” or “when you’re a star, they let you do it”. They don’t. Consent doesn’t happen after the fact.

I’m not offended by the word “pussy”. I’m fucking ENRAGED that HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people have told you, over and over again, what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it FEELS like to live in a world created by people like Trump. People who believe what they want is more important than anyone else’s right to deny it to them.

And you still think we’re upset over the word “pussy”.

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