Okay. I know I've already raised this issue this week, which is why this is a bonus post today rather than it being posted on its own day. I've finally hit breaking point over Donald Trump's remarks following a debate on TV last night.
If you've been around the website since the start, you probably know I'm a survivor of sexual assault. In the early hours of the morning one day in December of last year, I woke up to find a friend groping and kissing me. A friend. Not a partner. Not someone I'd ever been remotely attracted to in a romantic or sexual sense. A friend. A friend who knew that it had been two years to the day since I last tried to take my own life.
Unsurprisingly, when I woke up to discover this, I was already in the throes of a panic attack. My subconscious knew something was wrong before I woke up to sharp breaths tearing through my throat and chest. When I woke up, I was already a victim of sexual assault. I was never given the opportunity to deny consent.
Now, not that it ought to matter, but I feel that I need to point out that I hadn't had any alcohol at all that day. No alcohol. I'd eaten well. I hadn't left any food or drink unattended for anyone to have any opportunity to drug me as someone suggested may have happened. I was simply exhausted. I'd just spent an hour sobbing on Hoboken Pier, two years after a major overdose, looking at Freedom Tower and thinking "how come I'm alive, but those people aren't?".
So when I finally heard the remarks that Trump made - and I avoided hearing them for as long as I possibly could - I felt sick to my stomach. Even now, hours after witnessing a debate on the topic I am shaking. I feel nauseous. I'm still sweating. Because when I hear people suggesting that Trump didn't do anything wrong, or excusing him because, after all, he said "sorry", I hear the voice of my assaulter saying "well, not much happened, and it didn't last long".
The length of time that my assault spanned is not what shattered my perception of love or has, to this day, left me feeling like a disposable plaything for men to have their fun with and toss aside when they're finished. It's the fact that it happened at all.
If you are in any doubt about the damage that can be caused by sexual assault, you can contact me. Get in touch, and I'll tell you about how I can't lie next to someone anymore because when I close my eyes, I'm no longer lying next to that person; instead, I'm lying next to my assaulter, and I'm drowning in panic once more. I'll tell you how, when people tell me they love me, it stops me in my tracks because I don't believe them; I CAN'T believe them, because my assaulter said as I was sobbing and fighting for breath, "I love you. You know that, don't you? You know I love you?". He didn't love me. He'd used those words whilst talking about another woman only 24 hours prior to assaulting me.
People are saying that Donald Trump was simply using words and that words don't matter. No, he was describing situations in which he had actively sexually assaulted women. Anyway, even if they had only been words, it still sets a precedent. It still says that he thinks it's okay to kiss a woman without permission. It still says that he thinks that it's okay to "grab" a woman by her genitals. All because...he's a "star"?
If my assaulter had been rich and famous, it wouldn't have made a difference. It still would have hurt. It still would have shattered my perception of love. It still would have destroyed my self-worth.
As for the people saying "well, what about the allegations against Bill Clinton?". Those allegations are irrelevant. You cannot use another person's wrongdoings to defend someone else's wrongdoings. Two wrongs do not make a right. Whatever Bill Clinton did or did not do, it doesn't make what Trump has done any more justifiable or acceptable.
The fact that it was 11 years ago is also irrelevant. He was a 59-year-old man when he made those remarks. He was old enough to know better. Besides, do you really think he's any different now? He still regularly makes offensive and degrading comments about women. He's still someone that an awful lot of women would never want to be alone with.
Then there's the fact that the first time I spoke out about this, people were calling me a "mud-slinging leftie". No. Just no. My political stance is not the reason that I am horrified by Donald Trump's actions. My moral stance is. If you can provide evidence of Bill Clinton saying equally horrendous things about women, I'll condemn them too. Again, this is not a political issue, it is a moral issue.
If you are a man who understands the difference between right and wrong, I'm sorry. I truly am, because right now there are people painting you in a bad light by saying things like "all men speak about women like this when they think nobody's listening". I know that isn't true, because some men (I want to say most men, but I can't) wouldn't dream of sexually assaulting a woman, let alone bragging about it later.
Finally, this whole thing has made me feel sick because something has occurred to me that had never crossed my mind before now. What if my assaulter has bragged to his buddies about what he did to me? What if the pain that I experienced that night has become a badge of honour for my assaulter? That's a point I don't let myself dwell on, because honestly if I did, I would fall apart entirely.
No, what Donald Trump has said, and probably done, is not okay. It's not okay by any stretch of the imagination.