Is this politician the future under President Trump?
When I was a very little kid my mother taught me to respect and protect my body.
In a lot of ways, she was ahead of her time.
It was the early 1980s and I was a kid who was taught that if someone tickled me, I needed to tell my mom because that was inappropriate.
I learned very early that my body is not a joke, it is not a punchline for somebody else's amusement.
I learned that is someone touched my body without my consent that it was wrong, that it was a violation.
Connecticut politician Christopher Von Keyserling has been arrested for "pinching the crotch" of a female colleague.
Apparently he didn't get the memo.
Van Keyserling, the alleged assailant, courtesy of Channel 12 News
That's right, a man in public office allegedly didn't think twice of grabbing a woman's vagina.
A lot of outlets covering the story are making sure to share that Von Keyserling is 71 years old.
That doesn't matter.
Just because in different eras women's rights and bodies were not respected, that doesn't make it EVER okay to reach out and appropriate a woman's body in order to scare her or belittle her.
If anything, the fact that Von Keyserling is an older man should mean that he knows better.
After that many years on earth, you'd think that a human being would realize we are all just people, but that's my naivete coming through, I'm fully aware.
So what exactly happened?
According to the Greenwich Daily Voice, it went down like this:
"The incident began at about noon Dec. 8 when the 57-year-old woman encountered Von Keyserling in the hallway of an unnamed town facility, the warrant said.
The two briefly spoke about politics and the woman told him that 'it was a new world politically' and he had to educate his fellow politicians, the warrant said. Von Keyserling is a member of Greenwich’s Representative Town Meeting.
He allegedly replied: 'I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct,' according to the warrant."
The woman in question then went to her office.
Von Keyserling followed, saying he wanted to talk to her co-worker.
The co-worker did not want to speak with him either and left the office with the woman.
As they passed, Von Keyserling he reached out and pinched her groin region, calling her a lazy blood-sucking union employee.
The woman in question said if he ever did that again she would punch him.
How is Von Keyserling responding to the charges? His lawyer said the following:
“Von Keyserling playfully gave a lady who he knew for 30 years a pinch is what the accusation is and somehow, everybody’s wringing their hands and carrying on that this is a crime, and it just isn’t.”
I don't know how to feel this about this. Frankly, I'm kind of overwhelmed.
Here's where I am right now:
On one hand, I am so proud of this woman for bringing forth charges.
I am equally proud that the story is getting press and that the general reaction to it is one of outrage.
But then there's this other part of me that is numb and terrorized, feeling like stories like this one will never stop.
The scary part of this story is that Von Keyserling really doesn't think he did anything wrong.
It was a joke. It was harmless.
That's what they seem to always say.
It's the same defense President Elect Donald Trump used when his "locker room talk" conversation about sexually assaulting women was publicized.
We forgive men for this sort of behavior because "they don't know better."
But how hard is it really to know that another person's body is not yours to touch without their consent?
It seems easy. It seems obvious.
But if that were really the case, it wouldn't be happening anymore.
I look at stories of politicians sexually assaulting women publicly and I feel this deeply rooted sense of dread.
Because if this is happening to men living their lives in public, can you imagine how many other less famous men behave this way on a daily basis?
We've normalized objectifying women's bodies for too long. It has to stop, for all our sakes.