Why I can’t get over the Trump election, as a survivor of sexual assault

Guest post by Amy
Photo by Geoff Livingston, used by CC license.
Photo by Geoff Livingston, used by CC license.

I didn’t care about the election for most of the campaigning. I was raised to never vote for a Clinton, and I knew I couldn’t support Trump. I didn’t even think his campaign was real. (Sometimes I still wonder.) I was a libertarian before I voted on November 8th. I thought that people would take care of each other and we don’t need all of the interference. I just wanted to be free to do whatever I wanted, as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone else. This election changed that for me. I realized that maybe we do need to do more to protect our own people.

Because this is more than losing an election. It’s more than Donald Trump. It’s that I thought this country was getting better, and it’s a smack in the face to realize that it’s not.

During this election cycle, I was sexually assaulted by a man that I had told just hours earlier, “I don’t like you. You’re the type that just takes what you want.” Now that type of man is my president-elect.

Overall, I’ve been dealing with my assault very well. I’m privileged to have resources, a support system, and a relatively good mental health capacity (or at least, well managed… shout out to meds, you’re the real MVP). Even still, I felt very alone. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for my brothers and sisters that are not afforded these same luxuries.

If you’re fortunate to have not had these types of experiences, I’d like to tell you what goes through a survivor’s mind.

  • “What did I do?”
  • “Why didn’t I fight harder?”
  • “Why am I not as strong as I thought I was?”
  • “Am I overreacting?”

The election of Trump brings all those questions bubbling up again. You see, Trump has been accused of sexual assault. We’re all familiar with his famous “grab ’em by the pussy” remarks. He dismissed accusations because the woman wasn’t pretty enough for him. As if she doesn’t deserve it.

…And she doesn’t, but not for the reasons he’s stating. He’s comparing sexual assault to consensual sex. He believes that a woman’s worth really is written by whether she is attractive enough to be taken by a man. That women should be honored and flattered if they’re the chosen ones.

I don’t think that everyone who voted for Trump actively believes that a rapist should be the leader of our country. Most of them don’t believe he’s a rapist. But many do believe that “all men speak this way about women.” They believe that “locker room talk” is a valid excuse. They are good, hardworking people that are concerned over their personal economy. They don’t want to think of such things.

I can’t help but think of these things. I think of these things every day. Every 109 seconds, we have a new victim to welcome into the circle of sexual assault survivors. Since I began writing this, the number has grown by at least 20. 20 people that are going to be told that while we don’t encourage sexual violence, we condone it.

Only six in 1000 perpetrators will end up being convicted. Why is this? Because we know that regardless of how many people believe us, how many people we have on our side, there will always be more that say “you can’t prove it.” That other things are more important. And in the topical case, that an accusation will be a distraction from bigger issues. So why would we want to go through the pain again? To rehash everything we’ve experienced, just to have someone ask, “Isn’t it time to move on?”

This election says that half the people in the United States do not stand by me. Do not stand by my brothers and sisters. I look at people differently now. I look at men differently now. I feel unsafe. That America has decided that if a man has enough power, and is loud and outspoken enough, they can look past appalling actions. When men say they vote for Trump, they remind me that the aggression Trump displays and the fear that his motions cause, are invisible to them.

To some, Donald Trump might represent change, and a new path for America. To me, he represents that everything is very much the same.

Comments on Why I can’t get over the Trump election, as a survivor of sexual assault

    • I’m going to voice something controversial and say I don’t like the use of the phrase “not my president”. I did not vote for him, and I absolutely don’t want him to be president. (I barricaded myself in my apartment on election night because I couldn’t believe this was happening.) But I am an American citizen, and that makes him my president.

      I wrote another comment further down, but I truly hope good will come out of him being president if for no other reason than for America to wake up and go, “Hey, we thought we were post-racist / post-misogynist / post-xenophobic / post-homophobic, but WE’RE NOT! And here’s glaring proof.” And as a person of privilege I am ashamed to say I sometimes forget that because I don’t experience discrimination personally.

      So I will say that he is my president, and by saying so I hope I am acknowledging that there are still serious problems in my country that need to be resolved and I need to take responsibility for my role in them.

  1. Thank you for this posting I am sharing with some people who are making light of this sort of issue. We are at a turning point, let’s keep up this sort of commentary. You are brave and beautiful. I will never side with an abuser. #notmypresident

  2. Thank you for this posting and I am sharing with some people who are making light of this sort of issue in hopes of illuminating them to the reality of their off-hand comments that are ultimately misogynistic. We are at a turning point, let’s keep up this sort of commentary. You are brave and beautiful. I will never side with an abuser. #notmypresident

  3. I’m with you 100%.
    Additionally, with the victim blaming and victim accusing (of lying, etc.) in rape culture, and with the conviction rate so low, and punishments so negligible, I choose not to use the word “alleged” anymore when it comes to rapists, especially now that we have one in office, putting the stamp of approval on the vilest of behaviors. I feel a responsibility to the underrepresented (victims) to give them the benefit of the doubt, where law and patriarchy do not. I’m done giving “alleged” rapists the benefit of the doubt. #ibelieveyou is my position too.
    I’m devastated by this campaign and election, and the cultural environment it’s drudged up. Quiet, secluded healing is on my agenda for the rest of 2016. Lots of candles, sage, animals, and yoga. Wishing you love and light.

  4. I support the president of our country and am quite surprised you would choose this to be a subject of your emails. I am sorry to say that I am no longer going to be a part of your community. Now is a time when our country should bond together. In spite of all the remarks and claims on Trumps supposed derogatory statements, he is our president, and we should hold slandering until proven true. Isn’t this country based on innocence until proven guilty? Hasn’t his opposing party, Hillary Clinton, defended rapists on trial? Hasn’t she lied under oath on behalf of her cheating husband? Hasn’t she swore that if elected, she would increase funding to Planned Parenthood, a foundation recently fined for selling human body parts? This is all real scary stuff but the answer is not to bad mouth our current president.

    • Hi Rosy.
      While I’m only a guest writer, and cannot and will not speak for the Offbeat Empire as a whole, I do want to speak to some things that you said.

      Nothing in my post included support for Hillary personally (although I do, and I did vote for her). Also, if you do read what I wrote, I recognize that most people do not see him as a rapist, do not see him as an abuser. Again, I personally believe that he is, but that’s not the issue. The issue is the language that he uses against women, even those that accused him. It’s disgusting to defend yourself from accusations of rape by saying that the woman wasn’t attractive enough: “Not my first choice.”

      Hillary is certainly not perfect. But she shouldn’t have to pay for the sins of her husband.

      I absolutely support an increase to Planned Parenthood funding. You’ll find, if you research the topic that you’re referring to, that the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of those allegations, and actually indicted the creators of the videos that were used as “evidence.” They were not selling body parts. They were covering their costs associated with the voluntary donation of the fetal cells to research. If you donate blood – that blood bank also “sells” the blood to the hospitals that use it. Furthermore, government funding is not used to fund abortion services through Planned Parenthood (even though the service is federally legal). An increase to this funding would concentrate on providing incredibly necessary healthcare to millions of people.

      So – while my fear is very real to me, it clearly has not affected you personally yet. I’m glad for that. I hope it continues to not have an impact on your life. I just would request the same respect in not telling me how I should or have to feel in regards to something that is not relevant to your experience.

      I’d be happy to continue this discussion if you’re unclear about my points here.

      Or better yet! If you’d like to write a post for why you voted for Donald Trump as a woman, I’d love to feature it on my blog. No judgment, just happy to see the other side.

      • I don’t have anything substantial to say, and i do not live in the US. But this election affected the whole planet and I’m sure there will be… Consequences. It’s really scary. I’m disgusted and appalled. I’m so sorry you have to live this on such a personal level.
        I stand by you.

    • I fail to see how criticizing the President-elect works against the country’s “bonding together.” In fact, the ability to freely criticize our government is the very foundation of our democracy. Criticism is not “bad-mouthing”: it’s holding our elected officials accountable to the people they serve.

      Despite our– yes, OUR, though I didn’t vote for him– President-elect’s obvious hostility toward critics and the very concept of free speech, he is still responsible for serving ALL Americans; not just those who compliment him. So yes, we should absolutely speak out when he doesn’t meet our expectations. In fact, it’s our responsibility to do so as citizens living in a free society.

    • “Hasn’t she lied under oath on behalf of her cheating husband?”

      How ironic, especially considering Trump’s first marriage ended for the exact same reason – on HIS part.

    • Hey Rosy, as the editor of this website, and someone who could have written this EXACT post for the exact same reasons, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you entirely. Luckily it’s a big wide interwebs full of awesome communities, and I wish you best of the luck finding one that’s a better fit for you.

      • How do I get my email blocked from your site? I thought I was responding to the editor of the website alone, but I have received many responses. Please advise how I block all? Is there a way? I do not have enough time to entertain everyone with this. I’m sorry :/

    • As a radio show host, I too have been receiving this kind of reaction. What Offbeat presented was personal as well as relevant toward understanding the current rape culture and how it may be further enflamed through the( recorded) opinions of our president elect. Whether we like it or not, mr T has expressed and repeatedly proven himself to by a misogynist. Ignoring or denying it will not make that go away. I applaud you Offbeat for being outspoken on this and encourage you to continue to speak as you see fit. I want to validate your right to Free Speech and give you support for this, and all the personal paradigm shifting commentary you share on this newsletter. I will share this newsletter (and article) in my social media platforms. Prepare to have more readers in the coming weeks. #womensrightsarehumanrights #prayingforpeace #tellitlikeitissister

          • Well what I thought was a sweet blog is a left crude forum. Oh well. Learned my lesson. Be well all and hope life perks up for you.

        • Rosy, it seems you may have gotten a bit confused by the system in place for emails here. When you reply to an email, that reply is posted as a comment on the article on the website. No one sees your email address or any identifying information except the name ‘Rosy’. You are also receiving other comments people make to your email, but they are not, in the large part, addressed to you specifically, so please do not take them as any sort of attack on you, as they are not meant as such. For example, I believe the article Laura Bee was mentioning sharing is the original article, not your comments.

          Unfortunately I do not remember the specific way that you can unsubscribe from those sort of email notifications. Hopefully someone else will pop in and help you out with that.

          • You can easily unsubscribe from emailed comment notifications by replying with the word UNSUBSCRIBE.

            Check at the end of any email from us — it’ll include unsubscribe instructions! When in doubt, email us and we can manually delete you: http://offbeathome.com/contact

  5. I believe you, and I stand by you. Whether Trump has personally assaulted anyone or not (and I believe he has), his rhetoric has absolutely reinforced a culture of victim blaming and slut shaming. I am also saddened to see how much traction those views still hold. Please know that you are not alone. Please also know that this doesn’t have to mean that things aren’t getting better. I hold on to the hope that it is always darkest before the dawn.

  6. “To me, he represents that everything is very much the same.”

    To me, he represents that everything is so much worse than I ever imagined or feared 🙁 I never thought of myself of a polyanna in any sense, but I am generally an optimist and strive to see the good in people. This election has shaken me to my core knowing that half our country decided this monster should be in charge.

    I’m with you and will continue fighting with you.

    • Remember Hillary won the popular vote. Also, if you haven’t seen it, look up the map of what it would have looked like if only millennials had voted. I believe we are still on track for a better future, we just have to work a bit harder to get there.

  7. The way you feel is understandable and justified.
    Perhaps someday the country will learn to value empathy, manners, respect, decency, and honesty. Right now none of that seems to matter to anyone anymore.
    I have been barely able to sleep since before the election. After the election I wake up in a political panic early in the morning. I am scared for myself, for women, for people with disabilities. I’m also scared for pretty much everyone else.
    All I know to do is try to focus on good things and nice caring people.

    • I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Found a podcast by the famous Post family (of Emily Post; Queen of Etiquette and Manners), called Awesome Etiquette. A woman wrote them this week saying how grateful she is to have found the podcast after the election, when she’s been really down because of all the nastiness going around, and complete disregard for decency. The host, Lizzy Post was crying when she read it, saying honesty, respect and consideration are what she and her family stand for. I needed that too. It couldn’t have come to my attention at a better time. You might want to check it out! 🙂

  8. Please remember that he did not win the popular vote, by millions. The forecast is that voter turnout was the same as in 2012. I’m trying to take a little comfort in that, and working on getting rid of the electoral college. Also, half the eligible voters do not vote! So, it’s not a majority of people supporting an admitted sex criminal.

    It’s time to take care of ourselves because we’re unfortunately in for a big fight. We will win, no doubt.

    • Speaking of being in for a big fight and of safety for women, I want to encourage everyone to get IUD’s (non-hormonal copper, if hormonal methods won’t work for you! I have that one.) or some other birth control plan in place for the next 4 years before the affordable healthcare act is gone, clinics get defunded, and the right to rule your own vagina is potentially taken away. An IUD will outlast the presidency. They can be removed if you decide to try and get pregnant. Don’t read all the fear-mongering stuff on the web – just talk to your friends and your doctor. <3

  9. Very well said and I’m with you 100%.
    I can honestly say, at least half of the females I have had friendships with throughout my life have been assaulted. This is something always on my mind. I’m afraid to see how many more cases like Brock Turners pop up. I Cant believe woman in this country would rather vote for a man accused of sexual assault over a woman. What does that sat about the woman in America. Something is just very wrong here.

    • Same.
      I was just discussing though, how a couple of women in my family have been raped and/or assaulted by minorities (I went to the trial of one when I was only 7, so the story was really ingrained in me), so I feel lucky that I’m not the type of person who sides with D.T. (on his statements about Mexicans, particularly) based on these anecdotal circumstances. I guess there are a lot of people who just can’t make the mental bridge from [perceived or real] experience to understanding that that’s not The Story. So perhaps these women think they’re voting against rape culture by voting for the man who points the finger at others and cries “rapists!” I don’t know…Doing my best here to understand wtf is going on. It’s so hard to process.

  10. Thank you for sharing, Amy. I stand with you. To me, the election results and Trump campaign (prior to the election) feel worse than more of the same, I believe they are moving us backwards. It seems that bigotry and misogyny are now socially acceptable. 🙁 I am trying to find a way to move beyond the fear and sadness (or at least cope with it) and identify how I can actually work for positive change in the country. Hopefully, if enough of us step-up, we can build a brighter future.

  11. “It’s that I thought this country was getting better, and it’s a smack in the face to realize that it’s not.”
    So much THIS.
    Starting from the debates for the Republican nomination, I spent most of the year telling myself “Wow. Just look at the Republican Party implode. They’re a mess. They’re even publicly fighting amongst themselves.”
    But no – they won everything. A jaw-dropping moment for sure.

  12. Amy and Offbeat Home Editors,
    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for this awesome and brave post. I know it must be really hard to talk about this, but I think that a lot of the offbeat crowd feels very threatened and scared in the wake of this election. This particular election has held some really frightening and disturbing conversations about human rights for women, people of color, and the LGBTQA folks. I know this isn’t normally a political blog and I love that it’s an escape, but I also think it’s really awesome that you guys are willing to talk about this particular issue of safety and violation that people feel in the wake of this particular election. Affirming that there are safe, caring communities is really important for a lot of people right now, so thank you!

  13. Was talking about this with a friend of mine. Both of us are upset about the election results. In particular it was upsetting to me to wake up the day after the election and realize this was the exact same country that existed the day before. That America didn’t become MORE racist or misogynistic after November 8; we just now have a leader who demonstrates that we have these problems.

    I’m trying to be optimistic here and see how shining a spotlight on this is actually a good thing. Because I think we’ve gotten too complacent in this country – thinking things like that we’re post-racist because we have a black president. But we’re not. And that while we have made incredible strides there is soooo much further to go. Just like how you can’t treat an illness until you diagnose it.

    My friend pointed out – grudgingly – that there has been MUCH more open and honest dialogue about sexual assault following the tape that came out. More than she has ever seen, and she works as an activist about military sexual assault!

    I look at the number of protests I’ve seen, the safety pins, the people speaking up and saying LOUDLY “these attitudes and actions are NOT OKAY!” and it give me reason to hope. Hope that even though we have a president who thinks things like this, the majority of America (not just Clinton voters, but Trump voters who don’t agree, and those like me who voted for neither) says this is not okay. WE ARE THE MAJORITY. And we have power to make our voices heard and act for change. That gives me INCREDIBLE hope in the midst of the election outcome.

  14. The day after the election I was in tears and am still considering getting a gun. Not just for myself but to protect my children. No I don’t feel safe. I never did but now it’s worse like America said sexual assault is just fine.

    • You have every right to feel afraid and seek out ways to protect yourself and your children. Heck, I’m in Canada and I’ve shed tears over it. But please, don’t make a decision to get a gun (or any other safety measure, really) based solely on that fear. Trump won’t have any actual control for over a month. Take some time to think through things and decide if a gun will truly make you safer – or even feel safer. And if you do decide it is something you want, make sure you take time to learn how to use it safely and keep it safely. You don’t want a measure you took for safety to become a safety hazard in itself!

      Good luck with the coming future, and never forget that you aren’t alone in this. There are so many of us going through this, in the US and the world at large, and we’re all working towards finding ways to fight to make this future even a little bit better.

  15. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve had a lot of the same emotional reactions, as someone who’s been grabbed and groped and shoved against walls. I hate it. Thanks for being a welcoming community; strength to you all as you get out there and fight. See you on the streets!

  16. Thank you so much for writing this, Amy. As a sexual assault survivor myself, I am so scared for the future of our country, but I’m also praying that he either only lasts one term or gets impeached. Every time I express my fears to someone, I get told, “Everything’s going to be OK. He’s a businessman, and Mike Pence was a good choice for him to help run the country.” Well, except that being a businessman doesn’t mean he will be able to run an entire country, and Pence is known for his staunch anti-choice views, so no, that doesn’t make me feel better. What I DO take comfort in is the fact that there are other people out there who share my fears, and maybe – just maybe – those fears will somehow lead us to make a difference for everyone.

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