Donald Trump’s history has been invigorating for many white males, but daunting for females. I thought for sure everything was going downhill as for American girls and women until I began to watch, read about, and listen to women who have been emboldened by Trump’s sociopathy. Men, too. Late night comedians have been pretty explicit about Donald’s sexism.
A female correspondent for US News wrote, “I can’t but feel gratitude for one unintended consequence of his rise to the top of the Republican ticket: It has sparked a national conversation about sexual violence that includes some genuine feminist perspectives.”
Not long ago, the terms “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity” were found only in social science textbooks and on women’s blogs. Today, they’ve reached the pages of the New York Times and other popular publications. Late shows feature parodies of Trump’s misogyny. On “Late Night,” Seth Meyers responded to skeptics who question why the women Trump kissed and groped didn’t speak up sooner. He said, “When people ask why women don’t come forward about sexual assault, that’s why. Because instead of believing them, you question their motives.”
I’ve been a victim of sexual assault more than once. It started when I was five. A friend of my grandfather’s came into my bedroom to wish me goodnight. He sat on my bed, looked in my eyes, said something reassuring, and then reached under my nightie. Over the years, I was either groped or attacked by a few other men.
When I was 68 years old, I was raped by a security guard at the Holiday Inn in St. Augustine Beach, Florida. He slipped his key card into my door slot, woke me up from a sound sleep, and climbed on top of me. The night was warm and muggy, so I was sleeping in the buff. I was so shocked and overwhelmed that I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even fight. After it was over, I put in my clothes and walked on the beach for hours. When the sun came up, I decided to report him to the hotel manager. Big mistake. The boys from the Holiday Inn’s corporate legal staff descended on a lawyer I hired after several days of PTSD. By that time, I was back home in bed vomiting with a nonstop migraine.
I can tell you that the physical rape paled compared to what the hotel’s lawyers put me through in mediation sessions. “Why was I naked?” “Wasn’t it true that I’d invited the man into my room?” Their argument, of course, was that I had been waiting for the handsome Holiday Inn security guard to join me for consensual sex. I visited the Florida State Attorney General’s office to consult one of their female legal staff. She was sympathetic and believed my story, but she said that my case had about a zero chance of winning, given the arguments of the Holiday Inn lawyers. My option, she said, was to take my grievance to a civil court. I had no courage left for it.
By this time, the Holiday Inn had spirited the perpetrator off to a distant location where he couldn’t be reached.
Why don’t we women report sexual assaults more often? You figure it out.