I spent the better part of today remembering that I am a devoted Catholic and – after being flat out sick for two days thanks to that stupid DPT shot – ran to the local Christian bookstore and other places to get materials for a Church Ministry I lead.
I spent the last five hours listening to praise and worship music as I cobbled together a speech for a special Christian talk I give once per month and the supporting materials that go with. As I was printing 40 copies of each document off my black and white and color printers, I made my big mistake.
I looked at my Twitter. I never should have. Someone had posted the deposition of the young woman who claimed to have had sexual encounters with the President at parties thrown by an influential “friend” of politicians of both parties. She was supposedly only 13 at the time. To say I feel sick is an understatement. This is not something I will be re-sharing on my Twitter feed.
I have no way of knowing the veracity of what she has to say, nor am I making accusations. I will just say her words were disturbing and her descriptions of the alleged encounters graphic.
Why then did I listen at all, you may wonder.
Because I have been in her shoes in encounters that came under very different circumstances when I was a child, sitting in a separate room from my parents in the little Indiana taverns they frequented often. There, while Mom and Dad sipped their beers in the other room, old, dirty farmers would get up to go to the bathroom and – seeing me – would grab me in hugs I did not want and give me sloppy kisses I did not request.
Because when I was 17 and working as a bus girl in a high-end restaurant and cocktail lounge located near I-69, a once famous entertainer called me into my boss’ office and told me he was involved in casting actresses for a commercial, was interested in my being part of it, and needed to know my bra size. My boss – roaring angrily – started beating on the door and screamed at this comedian with a receding hairline to open it – now! He told me to beat it and then started cussing the one time star out – royally.
Because I have been in positions where powerful men chose to verbally abuse me, to make sexual innuendos, outright propositions, to inquire over semi-casual business dinners why I kept myself in such great physical shape since I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time.
Because I have heard stories of abusive relationships far too often from far too many young women that I know.
In the wake of the Weinstein revelations, of the married Republican Congressman who voted for restricted abortion rights after having just asked his lover to have one, after learning that some in Congress are seeking to curtail access to birth control for women as part of employee benefit plans, I just have to ask some of you men out there…
What the hell is wrong with you?
Whoever told you it was okay to hold little girls so tightly to your smelly bodies and kiss them with your beery breath? To live out your sexual fantasies and fetishes with them? Who in the world ever told you that as men in positions of power, it was okay to exercise that power to coerce women into granting you sexual favors? Who ever said it was okay to lie to your buddies that you were having affairs with us that never happened so that, when we walk down the hallway at work, other employees either look at us with a snicker or with outright loathing?
Whoever told you we were sexual property to be used and discarded like tissue you had blown your noses on? That you have the political right to wield power over the reproductive healthcare of women but will fund Viagra for men so they can enjoy themselves?
Men like this will never, ever know or understand the damage you have caused, the sense of helplessness you engender in us, the fear that if we don’t “play along” or be obsequiousness enough in resisting, somehow we will lose our ability to support ourselves and our families, to excel and advance at the things we most love to do. The incredible outrage that somehow makes us tremble fearfully because you think you have the right to tell us what we can and cannot do to take care of our own bodies, to make our own moral choices!
Who are you that you think you are entitled to such liberties? How distorted is your sense of yourself and your place in this world? God created Adam. Adam was not God.
Last night I went to bed joyful. I had downloaded Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying.” Even though it is meant for the terrible situation in Puerto Rico, and the name of every town on the island is sung in litany, there is still a hopeful tone to it, a spirit of the people who live there that is exuberant. I danced to it. I couldn’t help myself. I danced while I prayed.
I won’t be dancing before bedtime tonight. God help me, I hope I can stop crying and still pray.