Fifty Shades of Not Okay

This sexual assault survivor is tired of people defending powerful men accused of sexual assault—because it’s not okay.

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** Editor’s note: this article was originally posted on the author’s blog on October 14, 1016, before the presidential election.

Those who know me best know I nearly always have “the news” going on in the background of my life. I like to be up on current events and breaking news, and I’m one of those who has to hear both sides. I wanna know what the other side is thinking and saying, and I’ll go out of my way to find out.

But the last two days, I’ve had to turn the news down or turn it off. Not because I don’t want to be up on the latest. But because Trump’s defense and surrogate defenders are SHREDDING*MY*SOUL with their dismissals, denials, and denigration of the women now coming forward with their voice-shaking stories of violation.

This is where some folks will want to come at me with, “Well, Bill Clinton did x, y, and z.”  So let me assure you, I am well aware that he did, and likely even several strings of letters beyond that.  I don’t doubt at all that he’s as guilty of sexual predation as Donald J. Trump.  So he gets no pass from me. There is no excuse for either of them.

But I wanna talk about what’s happening to those who dare to step forward now and say, “This happened to me.”

I listened last night as one of Trump’s defenders, a female, tried to argue that what one woman claimed happened on a plane couldn’t have happened at all because … arm rests. Yes, arm rests. Then a male talking-head chimed in that it couldn’t have happened without someone else witnessing it or saying something, anything.

Let me tell you something.

This sh*t happens with or without witnesses, with or without being noticed or commented on, and with or without fricking arm rests in the way. And whether it went on for fifteen minutes or fifteen seconds it’s wrong, criminal, and inexcusable.

And fifteen seconds feels like fifteen minutes when you’re being violated.

Ask any survivor.

Then earlier today, I heard Trump do something even worse — if you can believe it — than calling them liars. Referring to one alleged victim in particular, I heard him say, “I mean look at her. . . I don’t think so.”

And I about threw up.

You see, one of my abusers said something similar to me.  It was just a few years after the fact, we were talking on the phone and, not wanting to own up to his abuse of me, he said, “I was never really attracted to you.”

Now, since I was very much present all the times he molested me, I was as much baffled by his denial as humiliated by it. And those words of his went straight into a file in my brain labeled “cannot process THIS SH*T at this time.”

In fact, it was 20 years later before I could bring myself to admit to anyone he had said those words. And it took a wise and caring counselor-friend and confidant to explain to me that what his words had accomplished in me was precisely what he’d intended — shame and silence.

We are shamed into silence, ya’ll. From the first fondling finger to the last words our abusers and their defenders ever say to us about it. We are shamed into silence.

And I was.

For. Years.

And what’s crazy-making is I WAS THERE. I was there with him in the van, in the hot tub, and on his daughter’s bed. And I won’t lift the lid too high on the garbage pail here for ya’ll, but I can tell you… he can say to himself and anyone else who will listen that he was never attracted to me, but his erections we were both there for said otherwise. And that’s the rod of truth I get to measure his lying words by.

Nice, huh?  *Blegh*

So I feel deeply and intuitively for these women now coming forward. Same as I did when Cosby’s accusers were being nipped at, growled at, and torn by wolves in news segments, talk shows, and comment sections. I feel for the mindf#@% they’re going through and will continue to be put through.

And as I mute the TV for the umpteenth time today, shake the callous, dismissive, ignorant voices I just heard from my brain, and swallow hard against another triggered gag reflex, I want ya’ll to know…

This is not okay.

This is fifty-shades of non-fictional not okay.

This article originally appeared at RedeemingMe.com.

Laura Haines
Laura loves sharing God’s message of big grace to world that has trouble grasping just how big “limitless” really is. She is happily married to her hubby of 25 years, and blessed with two beautiful-sweet daughters, each who have ensured the second-half of her life is good and more than good. Laura’s writing comes out of the well of her broken childhood, her still messy present, and the redemption she sees God bring to even the deepest-darkest. She knows that some experiences shatter you, but God can redeem them anyways. Redeem you too. God is good that way.

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