Bear with me...long, but well worth the read. Also, this may seem like a political post, but it's really about much more than that.
People have been blowing up my timeline with propaganda regarding all the women who have come forward to make claims about Donald Trump sexually harassing them. "Why'd they wait so long?" "That happened ages ago, who cares?" "A month before the election and they're just NOW coming forward? Agenda much?"
Here's the thing: I don't know if he did or did not harass, belittle, assault, offend, fondle, grope, or rape the women who have come forward (or those who haven't). But what I DO know is that women don't come forward because no one takes us seriously when we do.
Sexual assault/harassment has always been (and will always be) an incredibly difficult thing to prove and sadly, without proof, no one believes the victim. If there aren't scratches and bruises, bodily harm or other signs of physical battery, the victim is dismissed. They're ignored. They're laughed at. They're made a spectacle of. They're belittled. They're mocked. They're called liars, gold diggers, attention whores and manipulators.
But I want you to imagine for just a minute....
And please be honest with yourself...
You're a woman in the presence of someone famous who has more money than God, and he touches you inappropriately or makes offensive comments about your body. Now, you don't know that he's done it to other women or not. You only know that he's done it to you. Maybe you work for him. Maybe you're networking with him. Perhaps he's just someone at the same event you're at. All you know is that he's rich, powerful, and has a team of lawyers who would rip you to shreds in court if you even THOUGHT of filing a charge against him. They would dredge up every boyfriend you ever dated, show every compromising photo of you they can find, and ask you when you lost your virginity. They would question how you dress, whether you've ever had plastic surgery, and most importantly, if you told that man that you didn't appreciate his comment/behavior.
Women don't come forward because this happens every day. Every. Single. Day. And nobody gives a damn. Not the police, not the courts, and certainly not this man who just tried to hug you, grab your ass, kiss you, or paw at you like some possession he just bought at Sotheby's.
Until we stop giving our power to men like this, no one will ever take us seriously. Until we stop giving them our blind eyes, our averted glances, and our uncomfortable, but tolerating demeanor, we will always be questioned about what WE did to encourage THEIR bad behavior.
Take it back, ladies. Don't let your self-doubt determine your voice. And men? Imagine your daughter, sister, mother or wife in that situation. How would you protect her? Would you protect her at all?
I don't care who you vote for in this election - that's between you and your ballot, but if you truly believe that Donald Trump (and men like him) is doing nothing wrong and that somehow all these women who have come forward are liars, you need to step back, sit down and listen up: women are done taking your shit.
Our mothers gave us life, our ancestors gave us a foundation, suffragettes gave us our voice, and I am giving you permission. No one else can decide how you are treated. Speak out. Stand proud. Be bold. Don't quit.