The things we do to women.
It has been a hell of an election.
By now, you all know that Donald Trump, the US Republican Presidential Nominee, has been accused of sexually assaulting eleven women, and counting. You’ve heard his “grab them by the pussy” remarks. You’ve seen him call his opponent a “nasty woman”.
You’ve seen him parade his wife, daughters and female campaign manager in his defense – the sexist equivalent to the “I have a black friend, so I can’t be racist” trope. You’ve seen those women excuse him.
You’ve seen his wife say what he said was ok because it was just “boy talk”. You’ve seen his campaign manager and daughter call it “locker room talk”.
You’ve heard the words, “not in my locker room” from athletes who claim that nobody they know brags about sexually assaulting women. (Excuse my incredulity.)
You may have seen how these women have been treated by the media and by the candidate. He has branded them liars, and they have been called every derogatory name possible by his supporters. You may have seen how all victims of sexual assault are treated.
You may have heard about a boycott of Ivanka Trump, punishing her for the dual sins of loving her father and being his daughter.
You’ve probably heard less about Bill Clinton, the ex-President of the United States, being accused of sexual assault. But he has been.
Trump held a press conference with some of his accusers before the second debate, capitalizing on their pain to try and humiliate his opponent. Using her womanhood and theirs as a weapon.
You’ve probably heard less about President Clinton parading his wife around in his defense – but he did.
You may have heard about a call to not vote for Hillary Clinton because her husband “is a rapist”. Punishing her for his betrayals and public humiliation of her.
You may have heard of Monica Lewinsky. Of how a Congress full of men used one of the worst moments of her life as a political hammer with which to bludgeon their opponent and score points.
You may have heard her referred to in this election. Only she doesn’t get a name. She is alluded to using the words “blue dress”, “cigar”, “stains”.
You may not have heard of the 1 in 3 women who will experience sexual or physical violence at the hands of a man this year. Or last year. Or next.
This “national conversation” has been violent against women. It has been an assault of misogyny and a battering of rape apology.
I’m crying as I write this because try as I might, I cannot tap into the depth of my agony at watching this “public debate,” this election, this man, these men, all men. I can’t write about it. I can’t re-live it.
But you may have seen it.