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In the past, I’ve edited my voice if politics were involved, but this goes beyond politics. Even if it didn’t, I don’t want to remain silent about anything anymore. I believe whole-heartedly in setting a good example for other women and girls that we should not bite our tongues. I will speak up, and I won’t fear being called a “bitch” for having a strong mind and convictions. This is the best way I know how to be a good human being — to share myself with others and to be authentic. I don’t want to add much to this dialogue — I just want to leave an interaction I had on Instagram here without adding much to it — I’ll leave you to make up your mind (I’m sure you already have). I’m not posting this because what this person said angered me. Instead, it left me saddened. We should all have higher standards for ourselves. I posted the following picture on my Instagram, and it received this response (other person’s name is changed to “anonymous” as it is not about a person; it is about humanity):

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-8-11-19-pm

Anonymous: I just can’t help but wonder how you would feel if an entire country held something you said in a private conversation from 11 years ago against you. And I don’t consider the things he said rape talk in the least. That’s where his comments are getting blown out of proportion. Modern day feminism has twisted what feminism actually is, and that’s what they love to do.

Again please don’t get me wrong. I think some of the things he said were awful. But as someone who sees the effects of rape often, I would never throw that word around for a few comments made years ago. It’s a truly serious thing, and to accuse someone is just as bad as the person making the comments. Especially when that persons competition for president is doing much worse.

Me: It’s a truly serious thing, and to accuse someone is just as bad as the person making the comments.” THIS is what is wrong with rape culture. This is why countless women are afraid to come forward when sexually assaulted. The first time for me, I was in middle school, and a boy — a popular boy everyone liked, grabbed my ass all the way up the stairs, every single day. I went home crying each day, afraid to tell someone for fear that I would be accused of getting him in trouble. Trying different stairs didn’t stop him from finding me — this tortured me. I kept thinking, “Well, maybe it’s no big deal. Maybe he’s just teasing, and I should be okay with it. I mean everyone likes him; he seems to have a big following.” When I was twenty-one, I was raped by a man when I broke up with him, and I kept it to myself for over a decade for fear that I would be the reason for him being deported. Trump said he would start kissing on a woman without even waiting, “grab them by the pussy,” and that women will let you do what ever you want to them if you are famous. Dismissing this as “locker-room banter” perpetuates a fear in women of speaking out against it.

I most certainly would want the world to hold me accountable if I ever so much as thought half the things Trump has said aloud, and whether I said something to one human being or to millions (check his Twitter feed). The purpose of my post is to speak out against this type of language and the impulse many people have to excuse it as “locker room banter.” What this is NOT is a Trump vs Clinton post. It’s about the words and his too dismissive apology/non-apologies for this particular moment and other disgusting things he has said about women. When said, the dialogue needs to lean in a direction that says it is NOT okay. It perpetuates a rape culture where men (not all) can dismiss horrible conversations (that women do hear) and women who are afraid to speak out. This is a topic I am passionate about, and I have spoke about it countless times before this one and those times had nothing to do with a presidential election. I will continue to do so whenever it is highlighted in a national dialogue – this dialogue is so important.
Anonymous: We are going to have to agree to disagree with you on this. Because we aren’t going to agree. I’m truly sorry for what happened to you. That is horrible.
Me: I didn’t think I would change your mind. Yes, it is horrible, and I will do everything in my power to shut down people, discourse, and ideology that fuel sexual assault (physically or verbally).
Anonymous: Here’s my last thought. Just the words “rape culture” turn this into a political agenda and not into something to be taken seriously. I work in a crisis pregnancy center once a week. It’s sad how much rape I see. But I don’t want my daughter thinking it’s ok to get drunk at a party, sleep with a guy, and then cry rape. I’ve seen too much of that too.
Me: Oops, “physically or verbally” should read “physical or verbal” – wish I could edit on here. That is in reference to types of abuse, not how I will shut down discourse. Eek. Non-violent here! 😉

I’m sure you’ve seen too much of that, and it makes me sick to my stomach. It is NOT okay for anyone to take advantage of someone who can’t make a rational decision when drunk (making a choice to get drunk does not justify rape, which I don’t think is what you are saying, at least I hope not). Yes, there are cases where women lie about rape, but statistically there are far more women who don’t speak out about it. Political or not, it IS to be taken seriously. If we don’t take it seriously, then how will change happen? We should all be taking this personally.
Anonymous: No that’s not what I am saying.
Me: what are you saying?

And that’s where the conversation ended — She didn’t tell me what she meant by that, and I’m not sure I would have understood any explanation, to be honest.

Since that interaction, I’ve been through a wave of emotions. I’m devastated by what I’m seeing and hearing. Political agenda or not, I want so much more for this country and for the world.

Someone I love and respect added to the conversation:

By the way, Billy Bush and all the others like him who fuel the perverts by encouraging and laughing with them (i.e. sucking up) instead of having the guts to react like an intelligent human being who respects others, is no better and why these situations go so far sometimes. They need to recognize their part in perpetuating this “locker room mentality” that needs to stop. But he’s not running for President – huge difference!
Me: YES! Don’t we teach children to be “upstanders” and not to be bystanders? We need to (especially) hold grown adults to those same standards. It’s also frustrating to me that people are arguing that this was a private conversation — Integrity is doing the right thing even when you think no one is watching or listening. Trump is the epitome, as far as I can tell, of the opposite of integrity.

Why give that a platform?

Author: lauren

author of // key + arrow // a life + style blog aiming to inspire readers to make the most of what they have today without compromising quality or settling for less than desired {all the while convincing herself} // {austin, tx}

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