The recent headlines seem to uncover new sexual misconduct allegations every day. Sexual misconduct is taking a front seat and pushing other relevant topics to the back of the political bus. We're no longer discussing police brutality, Russian gate, natural disasters, immigration, equal rights, and foreign policy. Instead, we've become distracted by information that we’ve known existed throughout our history. Many of the allegations that are coming to light are supported by statements from additional victims including bystanders who validate their story. It seems as if everyone knew, but no one publicly came forward until the trending hashtag #MeToo. And I am not here to throw shade because I want to yell MeToo.
Girls are Women in the South
Growing up in a small town that was documented earlier this year as a place that voted for Trump, I'm not that surprised by the sexual misconduct of men. I'm numb to the entire experience because it was a part of my daily life. So much so, I like others who have come forward with their story, joked about unwanted sexual advances. I engaged in the attitude that I'm a woman who should understand that an inappropriate sexual gesture from a man is natural.
Growing up in the South, in a small rural area, it's common knowledge that men are more prestigious than women. Women are to be seen and not heard. Women in the South are supposed to be submissive, needy, and a woman of God. We're to be lovers whenever a man is horny, happy housekeepers, and proud caretakers. Not only that, our voices should echo the sound of a mouse.
Molestation in small towns is a well-known secret and unfortunately is the victim’s fault, regardless of her age. She is responsible for a grown man's behavior. She should have known better than to be alone with an older man. She could have just left, kicked him in his testicles, and got him off of her. These are some of the words that I've heard from women who were young victims. They've been through it but programmed to believe that a young child is accountable for an adult’s actions. It bothers me when people feel this way (especially when it’s a woman who has shared a similar experience). My grandmother used to say such things. She married my grandfather when she was 15 while pregnant with my mother. My grandfather was 25 at the time. To her, their marriage was natural. To me, it was a grown man preying on a child. My grandmother was pregnant for the first ten years of her marriage, bearing eight children barely two years apart.
From Girl to a Woman Experience
I can recall the first couple of times young men molested me as a child. I didn't say anything because no one asked. I didn't know any better, and this happened between the ages of 5 - 9. I remember getting raped, being called a whore, and bullied into silence around 14. The sexual predators had no shame by the time I turned 15, I was a teen mother, a baby with a baby. This circumstance catapulted me into adulthood, recognizable fresh bait for any man.
I felt there was no way I could tell my stories about rape or sexual harassment in east Texas. I always kept my mouth shut because telling the truth about perverted men could get me a label that I didn't want. Furthermore, I wasn’t keen to embarrass my mother. Of course, the man is always presumed innocent even when people in the community know his sexual behavior. I guess the Southern rule kept my mouth zipped too – “What goes on in this house, stays in this house.” So who could I tell? Besides that, if people found out, including the women in the community and their kids, I would be punished severely by public opinion. After all, a man’s sexually aggressive behavior is typical.
Not Speaking Up
If I had to total all the sexual misconducts, harassment, and rapes in my life than I am sure I could have stopped others from being victimized. But I didn't. I didn't say a word about it because I didn't feel violated enough to share my story with the world. It wasn't like I was a virgin. I mean, who would believe me? Besides, when you're accustomed to being oppressed, you blame yourself for someone’s behavior. You bury the story and attempt to move on until you can no longer suppress the feeling.
I wonder if the women who are now coming forward share the same feelings as I do about men’s sexual behavior. I see comments on stories continually asking why the women waited so long to tell their story. Comments about how she must want to join the bandwagon to get her 15 minutes of fame. Sadly enough, a lot of these comments come from women. Women who I believe are programmed and think this is just manly behavior. These women come from my mother's generation. Women who voted for Trump because they wanted to support their husbands. It won't surprise me if these are the same women who blame Hillary for Bill's infidelity. However, I know for a fact it’s the women who stood behind Roy Moore's wife, Kayla, at last week’s press conference cheering for him as they show their female descendants and young women across the United States the essence of being a man’s footstool.
These women support a male chauvinist agenda and won't admit they’ve been through similar situations. It is because of their silence we’re fighting the problems they could’ve solved. I refuse to remain silent. I can't let the cycle repeat especially with my only girl looking up to me.
I cried when the news broke that Donald J. Trump is the 45th president of the United States. Yes. I cried. I took a shot of my husband's whiskey on election night thinking Americans hate women, people of color, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities. But most importantly, who were my friends who voted for him to hold the most valuable position in the world.
I use to be very lax about politics. I like to think that my husband's constant viewing of political pundits along with listening to Sirius political stations made me care just a little more. Heck, not just a little more, I put my entire heart into the big election. I finally felt the defeat that die-hard fans experience when their favorite team loses a championship.
The media catapult my interest as well due to the 24/7 coverage about Donny and Hilly. The majority of my Facebook timeline consists of friends in total agreement that we (black folks) were doomed either way. However, I always felt that Hillary is a far better option than The Don. The Facebook memories of yesteryear now show me how bothered I was about the election. Before the announcement of Donny's victory, I have to admit that I was naive about the world.
I recall watching the post-election Saturday Night Live bit featuring Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock. The legendary comedians sarcastically teased the liberal white characters as if all of us Millennials were living in an unrealistic reality. I suppose the comedians were right. The country elected a man who did not reflect my American values, in fact; he practically shitted on the system publically with no regrets. Yes, this person who we wouldn't want our kids mimicking made it to the presidential office.
Weeks past and I wasn't so fearful about America's future anymore. I knew that I wasn't the only person in my feelings. Protests were taking place nearly every day. People were standing up and resisting the Trump establishment. Newly elected president Trump's inaugural turnout was shallow af. However less than 24 hours later, a women's march that took place at the same location drew a massive crowd. The movement streamed through various social media platforms showing the world that we knew we made a mistake. Women all over stood up, and some chanted, "This pussy bites back." in response to Trump's boasting remark about grabbing a woman's vagina.
Since that moment we have witnessed the daily falls of Trump publically. We've watched Trump stand up for the new Nazis, create hardships for immigrants, allegedly conspired with foreign powers against America's democracy, use Twitter to bully people, constantly lie and casually devote his presidency to dividing the nation.
Through all of Trump's shenanigans, the minorities have held steadfast to advance a moment that is now revolutionizing America. Women are no longer hiding and keeping secrets about abuse. They're speaking out, and #metoo is trending. Minorities (people of color, LGBTQ, individuals with disabilities and women) are winning. Even America's country music stars are joining the bandwagon with Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley remixing the classic "Before he Cheats" into "Before he Tweets."
The group that I thought Americans hate, minorities, are incrementally prevailing and ironically it is because Trump is president. Who knew a year later that Fox would falter, Hollywood's white male executives would face the fiery for their years of sexual misconduct, minority Democrats would sweep elections, and just about anyone affiliated with the Trump camp would lose credibility. And now, because of Trump's erratic childish unplanned behavior, many folks finally recognize Obama as GOAT, and we realize that George W. Bush isn't that bad after all. GW is kind of funny in retrospect (I love his love for Michelle Obama).
I feel like 2016 ended with the death of naivety and a lot of celebrities, 2017 will be cast as our modern day woke period, and 2018 will be about the rise of equality for all and hopefully initiate police reform (wishful thinking never hurts). God willing, I will be able to witness a great manifestation of Americans working to right a wrong - the Trump era.