You Shouldn't Laugh At Sexual Assault Survivors, Especially If You're The President Of The United States

You Shouldn't Laugh At Sexual Assault Survivors, Especially If You're The President Of The United States

Just spitballing here, just an idea: don't do that.

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Watching the daily news in America has become something akin to watching a reality show. Everything that happens is outrageous and unpredictable and, admittedly, a little comical in the darkest of ways. It is painful when it really sinks in that this is all happening for real. A Supreme Court nominee has been accused of repeated sexual assault, resulting in one of the women he attacked testifying before the entire country, and our president laughed about it. Publicly, and encouraging a whole room of individuals to laugh at a woman whose pain and bravery are both clearly profound.

It seems, from this and the fact that it looks like Brett Kavanaugh is still going to get confirmed despite proving himself to be hysterical under pressure (and yes, I chose that word carefully), I thought it would be best to clearly explain the reasons why no one should laugh at sexual assault survivors, especially if you're the President of the United States.

Donald Trump has been accused of assaulting 13 different women, at least

Oh, do you think because he was elected we all just forgot about this? Clearly, that's the objective because allegations like this can be just so inconvenient!

The most disturbing thing I've seen in the past two years (at this very moment, obviously) is the number of women speaking out against other women speaking out about Trump (i.e. women defending Trump and now Kavanaugh despite their clear misogynistic tendencies and outlooks). My problem with this demographic expands to two more points on this list but is simply this: I don't think it's fair to expect women to like and support all other women purely on the basis of a shared sex. I don't think women all need to agree with one another and be all kumbaya sisterhood every day with everyone.

But I also don't think issues such as sexual assault should be politicized like everything else seems to be in America today. There needs to be some support, especially support across party lines, between women in the face of sexual assault. We all lose when we defend predators over one another due to political affiliation. We all lose when we ignore that the fact that there is a sexual predator in the White House and defend him due to political affiliation.

The midterms are coming, though, and the women who feel comfortable with these men running our country are not the ones eager to get to the polls to change the tide.

The "boys will be boys" thing has got to go

Lindsey Graham has been quoted theorizing as to why women would keep going to parties if they had seen what Julie Swetnick has alleged to have seen, and why instead they didn't just go to the cops. "Normal people would feel an obligation to do something about it" is a fancy way of saying "let's put the blame back onto survivors and female witnesses instead of acknowledging that something traumatizing- and worse yet, a traumatizing pattern- regarding this particular Supreme Court Nominee is becoming more and more clear with each passing day."

Graham's comments and so many others are just another form of slut-shaming and survivor blaming, as it promotes this idea that the survivors or bystanders are responsible for Kavanaugh's actions, not he himself. The notion that assault isn't an attacker's fault or forgiving it with "boys will be boys" just doesn't make sense and it's excused illogical and illegal for too long.

The idea that sexual predators are not responsible for attacking is the moral equivalent of the statement "sharks aren't responsible for eating fish" (and the converse: fish are responsible for being eaten). If you can't see based on that statement how the former is also wrong, maybe you're not mentally fit to be president of the United States.

Midterms are coming

The immediate backlash to Senator Susan Collins's decision to vote yes to confirm Kavanaugh has set a lot of wheels in motion. The midterms are coming up in less than a month and the backlash to literally everything that happens in the country has created a call for change, overhauling and lasting change.

Rather than picking at the raw nerve that is the general relationship between the two political parties in America, Trump and his supporters should not actively try to anger their opposition literally right before their jobs are placed on the line.

(Sidebar in regards to Collins, what I mentioned earlier comes in to play: I read an article that she was under particular pressure to vote a certain way just because of her gender, and while usually headlines like that evoke an eye roll due to their naivety in regards to gender roles and relationships, this time it made me think. While I'm not saying politicians have an obligation to vote a certain way because of their gender if it goes against what they fundamentally believe, I'm also not saying that politicians have an obligation to vote solely according to their party.)

Being a good person shouldn't be a political issue

Everything in America seems to be divided by political affiliation these days, including basic human decency apparently. Having basic respect for other human beings, for human suffering, shouldn't be up for debate or discussion, nor should believing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford be a strictly Democratic thing.

I really don't know how much more I can say about this.

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Why I Love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not for political reasons

I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love AOC.

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My political affiliation couldn't be kept a secret even if I tried. In the words of my mother, I've been a liberal since I popped out of the womb. So to me, the dramatic change in representation in the House was a huge win for me at this time in history.

While I sit on one side of the aisle because that's where I hear the most conversations about my closest political beliefs happening, I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first I'd ever heard of this powerful voice from New York was in a video being shared around on Facebook that gave me a strong sense of hope that I haven't felt in a while. She explains the nuance behind "identity politics" and the importance of complete representation in Congress in terms of race, class, and policy. Here was a young woman in my generation (or just outside of it) running for Congress because she knew there was work to be done, not because she knew she would win, or because of some larger force paying her to win, or because she comes from a family of politicians. She ran because she was passionate and because she works to understand her district and represent them in ways that give her district a matched fight with revolving-door politicians who know how to play the game.

This woman, to me, represents accessibility into politics for Americans. When I first started listening to politicians and presidents talk on TV, I remember listening to Obama speak my freshman year of high school (maybe for a state of the union address?) and I asked my mom what a lot of words meant. I learned what poverty, immigration, economic policy, taxes, the middle-class, and more were. She had answers for some but not all of my questions, and then I asked why they felt the need to use such big, intimidating words? Weren't they supposed to represent the country, who to my understanding, probably didn't know what all of these words meant if my own mother didn't? (Moms know everything.)

I didn't want to be left behind in a country that made decisions based on Harvard graduate levels of thinking when most of us were in fact, not Harvard graduates. I was aware when Obama used words I had on a vocabulary test the week before, and I was aware that my honors class was strikingly different from my friends' general education English classes, and that our entire high school was years ahead of some less privileged schools 30-minutes away. But all of us, no matter how politically accessible our situations were or not, were to be represented by a man using these words.

AOC is progressive (in a non-political sense) for Americans because she uses rhetoric and tools to educate Americans instead of persuading or intimidating them to think that she just knows best. She's a politician, yes, so of course she uses persuasive techniques to get policy she believes in to pass so she can do her job as a legislator. But have you seen her Instagram stories or heard her speak in interviews?

Her style of leadership involves a refreshing level of transparency and group participation. I feel like I'm allowed to ask questions about what happens in Washington D.C., and about what another congressperson meant when they said ______. She answers questions like these online to her followers, some of which are her represented correspondents, and some of which are people outside of her district just desperate to expose themselves to any congressperson willing to talk to them on their level. Her flow inspires the average American to listen and checks the confident incumbent from underestimating just how much she knows.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to afford college. Not all of us are fortunate enough to come from a community where high schools prepared and primed us for college-level vocabulary filled conversations. Some of us have to accept politics as a realm with which we can never be involved, heard, or interactive. A.O.C. is what's changing this mentality. 43% of adults living in poverty function at low literacy rates. If they can't understand political rhetoric, how will they be able to democratically participate? Politicians spend so much time talking about poverty rates and how they want to move every family into a middle-class lifestyle, but they don't alter their political approach to invite the poverty-stricken or under-educated Americans into their conversations. AOC does this.

She spends time every night explaining whatever her followers have questions about in full detail. She actually uses up-to-date technology and social media to communicate with Americans, making older senators look lazy or technologically incompetent for not engaging with their community as often or as explicitly. Not to mention, every video I've ever seen produced by her or her team (including her Instagram stories) have closed-captions already edited in. She considers every American to be her audience before speaking, and the fact that what she's doing feels new and refreshing to me suggests just how badly we need her, and more people like her, in politics today.

This isn't even because of her understanding that literacy affects voting--in the original video I saw of her, she understands that the people she represents were flat-out not being addressed in politics. "People aren't voting because no one is speaking to them." Truly and meaningfully, directly and honestly.

She's America's teacher, a representative of why mentorship on all levels is important, and to me, what America would look like if our politicians were not only our representatives, but our educators, our mentors, and our teammates.

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