Dear Man Perplexed by All of “These Women” Coming Forward with Allegations of Sexual Assault,
I’ve heard so much about you lately. Let me begin by saying that I’m not really all the pleased to meet you. But in instances of overwhelming ignorance where I can shed even a flicker of light, I am more than willing to put differences aside and be cordial. I’m seriously not going to shake your hand, though.
Let’s start with your question of “Why now?” I’m actually going to spin the question a little and revise it to, “Why didn’t you say something when this first happened to you?” Okay, let me pause for a hot second. Me having to even answer this question is testament to the fact that entirely too many people don’t get the dynamics of being victimized.
There are many reasons why victims do not speak up. Too many to name quite frankly, but I will focus on the ones that resonate with survivors. We are traumatized, we are scared of the perpetrator, we are confused (perpetrators gaslight victims to believe that what happened either didn’t happen or that what happened wasn’t that bad), we are afraid that we will not be believed and we are worried that the legal system will not protect us if we speak up. Staying silent is a way to survive the horror of what we’ve endured and protects us from being re-victimized.
Now I will flip back to the “Why now?” Let me paint you a picture. Imagine that your smart, kind and accomplished daughter’s life was shattered by a man who emotionally and sexually abused her. Now suppose this man is now seeking an elected office of some sort and is receiving accolades from the masses. The masses who know nothing about the real nature of the man they support. Wouldn’t you be outraged? Wouldn’t you want the masses to know that the man they idolize is actually, in fact, a monster? Wouldn’t you want to protect others? Wouldn’t you want justice?
A woman speaking up during an election season is not doing so out of allegiance to a particular political party or political agenda. Neither is she speaking out for her own personal gain. If you think that these are reason why, you are wrong. You are also woefully ignorant so I want to help you out and set you on the straight and narrow. This woman that you are so confounded by? She had her power taken away when a man violently, selfishly, soullessly took it from her. In its place, he left her with paralyzing fear, humiliation, trauma and self doubt.
Does this make sense to you? Can you see it even a little more clearly through her eyes? Through her pain? Can you see that what she wants is for not one more person to be victimized? And culpability for men who have thus far lived their lives free from prosecution for their criminal acts?
Let me tell it to you straight. She is speaking out now because she’s tired of seeing powerful evil men become even more powerful. She is speaking out now as a way of seeking justice from the legal system against her perpetrator. She is speaking out now because she has come to realize that she does have power and that her power is the truth and her voice speaking the truth.