Indelible is the Anger
I am angry.
I am angry with the kind of anger you feel in your bones, that makes you weep, scream, feel hopeless. The kind of anger that feels all-encompassing, overwhelming.
Last month, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford bared her soul for the world, recounting in detail the night she was assaulted. Despite her courage in testifying and her accompanying evidence, most Senate Republicans (plus Democrat Joe Manchin) looked at her and either responded, "We don't believe you," or worse, "We believe you, and we don't care." It was perhaps even more frightening to see her privileged alleged assaulter yell at senators, blaming everyone except himself for the scrutiny he was facing.
Over the past few days, I have heard numerous survivors of sexual assault—men and women—share their painful stories at public rallies and protests with an awe-inspiring bravery. But that should not be necessary. People should not have to publicly share their worst experiences of their lives to be respected, listened to, and believed.
But, in those stories, I heard pieces of my own story: the night that a fraternity boy thought that my mere presence at the party was a welcome invitation to stick his tongue down my throat. I never thought my story worth sharing, because at least it never went further than that. At least my best friend was there to get me away from that situation.
Now, I know that my story is a contradiction: it is neither unimportant nor is it unique. Too often, women pass off these kinds of incidents—a man groping you on the metro, a wolf whistle on the street, a kiss you didn't want—as just life as a woman.
This is unacceptable.
I am not an object for the male gaze or touch. I am not a robot solely created to produce a family or care for a husband. I am not a lesser human being.
Since President Trump's appearance in the national political space, the media has been chock-full of degrading statements made by him or his administration about women. It's not just his statements either. His policies have been devastating for women, particularly women of color, including attacking women's health care, slashing funding for safety nets that women and their families rely on, and weakening protections against gender-based violence. Perhaps most disappointing and enraging of all is that 54 percent of white women voted for this man to hold the country's highest office. 54 percent of white women decided that protecting their status as white Americans was more important than rejecting the misogynistic man who sees them as simply playthings for his enjoyment.
Yet, I refuse to lose hope. As I was walking away from the protest at the Supreme Court on Saturday, I passed by a group of young Girl Scouts. One of the girls, who couldn't have been more than eight years old, was explaining to her friends why Kavanaugh was unfit for the Supreme Court and how he had lied under oath. As some like to say, "The kids are alright."
For my fellow women (and men!) who are enraged, there's a few ways we can channel that anger. First, most importantly, take care of yourself. If what you need is a few days away from social media or whatever makes you feel better, do that first. But then, when you can, jump back in. Get registered to vote. Already registered? Text 10 of your friends and see if they're registered too.
Don't stop there. Head to SwingLeft.org to check out ways to volunteer, whether it be through phone banking or knocking on doors. Or, reach out to your local progressive candidates to see how you can help.
And for my fellow white women: let's follow the example set by women of color. Call out injustice whenever, wherever you see it. Refuse to vote for any politician who sees women as unable to make choices about their own bodies. Ask every candidate their thoughts on Kavanaugh; if they were celebrating with #BeersforBrett on social media, swipe left.
There can be a brighter future, but it's going to take work to get there. See y'all at the polls.