We are survivors, and our voices matter.
I wasn't going to write about this latest debate. I wasn’t even sure I was going to watch it. But then something happened. A tape was released that provided a little insight into Donald Trump, the man behind the curtain of this already screwball campaign.
Dubbed “TrumpTapes,” Trump can be heard through a hot mic talking to TV host Billy Bush in 2005; this is a portion of their conversation (NSFW video):
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
Horrified by what she's heard from the mouth of the Republican nominee for president, best-selling author and blogger Kelly Oxford took to Twitter to share her own experiences with sexual assault, and asked her 750,000+ followers to share theirs as well.
What happened next was mind-blowing — and eye-opening.
Within minutes, thousands of tweets with the hashtag #notokay flooded the stream, with women telling of their experiences with sexual assault.
After a few days, more than 30 million people had read or contributed to Kelly Oxford's Twitter feed.
As someone who has been raped and sexually assaulted, I had mixed emotions reading these stories. In one way, it made me feel like I'm not alone. On the other hand, the fact that SO many women had similar or worse experiences broke my damn heart.
To everyone that tweeted out what happened to them: THANK YOU! You are brave and beautiful women. You may not feel like it now, but exposing the truth helps the movement. If we all work together, we can fix this ... we WILL fix this!
Here are just a few of the tweets:
1. "Can't blame a guy for trying." Can't ever blame a guy, right?
2. FIFTH sexual assault?!
3. Why wasn't someone there to protect this little girl?
4. It's NEVER your fault!
5. It's always women being dramatic, isn't it?
6. Molested by a cop. BY. A. COP.
7. Raped while unconscious. I just can't.
8. This is NEVER okay!
9. Saying NO means NO. What is so hard about that?
10. He couldn't be fired but he should have been charged!
11. Because it's totally normal for a middle school teacher to do this?!
12. 80% of her friends have been assaulted as well. That's TOO high!
13. Can you imagine having to smile JUST to be safe from an offender?
14. Why is it always someone you should be able to trust?
And then, an update from Kelly Oxford:
At least 50 stories of sexual assault per MINUTE being tweeted.
Let that sink in.
So let's break this down: Trump states that because of his celebrity status, women let him do anything.
As a regular old person, who lives in a regular old apartment, and leads a regular old life, if I were to meet a celebrity, I would in fact call myself vulnerable. We hold celebrities up to these high standards; they glow, they radiate money and fame and everything we always wanted to be.
Trump admittedly uses that vulnerability to kiss or "grab the pussy" for his own amusement while the women were in a state of awe — not in a state to allow consent to do such things.
To Trump: They're not just words.
Anyone (male or female) who's been touched inappropriately without consent understands that his words mean more than "locker room talk" (as he calls it) — it's called rape culture, and he's perpetuating it.
Using one's celebrity or authority to manipulate someone into doing something they don't want is criminal; it's sexual assault.
This has happened to me. I was sexually assaulted when I was a child by an older person that I trusted. This person used their power to make me feel like I had no choice.
As I read all the stories from victims, I started shaking, sweating, typing furiously. As Oxford said, this is #NotOkay!
So no, Donald, they're not just words. Your "locker room talk" is messing with the lives of women who have suffered sexual harassment or assault.
And now you're messing with me.
You, Donald Trump, are a trigger to women.
For a man who publicly states, on numerous occasions, how he would love to date his own daughter if they weren't related (or if he weren't already married — EW!), this new revelation shouldn't shock anyone.
Trump IS NOT here to make America great again. He's power-hungry, and the more power he gets the more dangerous he will become — and the more dangerous America will become.
Don't believe me? Take a look:
Our country deserves better than this. You deserve something better than this. I deserve something better than this.