There are, at last census in 2010, 157 million women in America.
There are 151 million men.
Now. Men who are reading, this, let this next bit sink in: Every third woman you know has been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped in her lifetime. Maybe all three.
Every. Third. Woman.
And believe it or not, there are women out there who don’t consider assault, assault. On NPR this morning, I heard a woman who is a Trump supporter say “well, if they do (grab you,etc), just punch them in the face.” You know. Like we do, ladies! Never fear, I am sure that will work out OK for you 100% of the time!
But just because you punch someone as a retort to their assault, THE ORIGINAL ACTION IS STILL ASSAULT. Your response to it doesn’t change what it technically is. It is sexual harassment. It is sexual assault. For every time a guy has slapped or groped our ass, or touched us without consent, brushed up too close to our breasts on purpose, or for fuck’s sake grabbed us by the pussy, it’s harassment or assault. And I want to be the 100,000th woman to chime in on the rant regarding what the Republican Presidential nominee has called “locker-room talk”: You are a fucking delusional asshole predator, Donald Drumph, and you and your entire tribe need to be denounced so loudly, so forcefully, that the entire world can hear and feel it.
I have worked in a male-dominated industry for over 20 years, and with that, have had my share of experiences ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. I have had experiences outside of work as well – at the club, on public transportation, hell, walking down the street. I’ll put it to you in a somewhat self-deprecating manner – I am no extraordinary woman. I am, simply, a woman. Which leads many men to believe they have the right to do whatever the fuck they want, because they are stronger/superior/more powerful. And if you are not one of those men, then bravo for you.
If nothing else, this shitstorm of an election in this apocalyptic hellscape that is our American Politics has brought forth a discussion. A discussion that, right the fuck now, we cannot let men define. Just take a look at the numbers of responses writer Kelly Oxford received on Twitter when she asked women to tweet about their own experiences with sexual assault. She received over one million separate stories.
For here is what happens when we let men define what sexual assault is or is not:
“I don’t characterize [grabbing a woman by the genitals] as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch.” – Jeff Sessions (R – AL)
“Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” – Clayton Williams (R – TX)
“If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.” – Lawrence Lockman (R – ME)
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down.” – Todd Akin (R – MO)
“FARENTHOLD: I’m not here to defend Donald Trump. I don’t like what he said, but …
HAYES: If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that – if a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying “I really like to rape women,” you would continue to endorse him.
FARENTHOLD: Again, it would, I — that would be bad, and I would have to consider – I’d consider it. But again, we’re talking about what Donald Trump said 10 years ago as opposed to what Hillary Clinton has done in the past two or three years.” – Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).
So you know, just guys talking about “conquests“, haha, just banter, just words. And to the co-worker who strolls in my office and says “well, is what he said really any worse than what Hillary Clinton has done?” YES, MOTHERFUCKER, YES. Because even though I am no raving fan of the Clintons and their Underwoodian lifestyle, I will stop you right there and say YES. It is worse. All of the things Your Precious Donald has said – his insults of Mexicans, of Muslims, of disabled persons, of veterans or prisoners of war – they are all reprehensible, all despicable, all disgusting. But with this last tape, you’ve just managed to target the majority of wheelhouses in the country. And this is why we must take our power now, stand up and define what is sexual assault. Do not let this orange, ill-fitted-suit-wearing predator and his lackeys define it. Because it is, quite simply, #notokay.
Here’s the deal, y’all: We don’t need your fucking “words“. Your words – just like your actions – mean everything and nothing to us all at once.
We have ballots.