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.