America, Listen to Us When We’re Talking to You

It's not enough to believe — it's time to CARE.

0 // America, it’s about time you hear our stories. Listen to us — you just might learn something.

Next time you’re at a diner, a baseball game, or a PTA meeting, look around. Look to your left. Look to your right. There’s a good chance you’ll see women who have been violated as children or adults, either by strangers or people they knew. Think of all the women you know. Some statistics tell us that one in five, and perhaps even more, have been sexually assaulted. That’s millions of women. That’s millions of human beings, of American citizens, of people you know and love.

More than half of the women I know have been sexually molested, assaulted, or raped. My mother was sexually molested as a child. My biological mother was sexually assaulted as an adult; I only exist because of sexual assault. I was sexually molested as a child.

woman breastfeading child holding sign saying "vaginas brought you into this world and vaginas will vote you out"
Photo courtesy of @ladyluofthewolves on Instagram.

The mother who raised me told me that she was molested as a child by her dentist — a family friend. My biological mother’s boss took her home one night. It could have been alcohol or good old Baby, It’s Cold Outside entitlement, but he had his way. She went to work the next day.

Weeks later, my biological mother learned she’d been doubly assaulted because she was also impregnated. She had to bear to term a baby and then give that baby up. She slunk off to Miami to have the baby in secret. Afterward, though her Washington, D.C., career had been her life for decades, she quit her job, left the capital, and moved back to her home state. She never told a single living soul. Ever.

My biological mother kept her shame buried inside her entire life. My adoptive mother never told her parents about the dentist. I kept my secret, too. My biological mother kept reporting to work, and my adoptive mother kept going to the dentist. And as for me, I kept going to fourth grade.

Women’s lives are soaked with the blood and tears of being wounded, betrayed, violated, and assaulted. For centuries, these were our dirty, sad secrets. This was our shame, our pain, our problem. No more.

Slowly, finally, the 21st century is seeing the experiences and perspectives of women get the attention they deserve. A big part of our lives is at last crawling into awareness. The last few years have seen women speaking out, our society’s storytellers including this in our cultural canon. But it’s still not enough.

It took dozens of accusers and decades before Bill Cosby was brought to a belated, paltry justice. #MeToo is a well-known hashtag, but has it changed hearts and minds that weren’t already there?

A look at the Kavanaugh hearings demonstrates that we have to keep fighting. Republicans found Professor Blasey-Ford’s testimony “credible”. Gee whiz, Senator Orrin Hatch said he found her to be an “attractive person.” Senator Lindsey Graham said she was a “nice lady.” Most people knew enough not to tear her apart (though Trump had no such restraint with Deborah Ramirez). But despite evidence of Kavanaugh’s dishonesty, qualms from the American Bar Association, and Kavanaugh’s own hysterical testimony, Republicans all voted for him.

Kavanaugh clearly lied under oath. They looked the other way. Republican congressional aides changed the Wikipedia entry for Devil’s Triangle to cover up the Judge’s pathetic lies; this tells us they know he’s lying, and they’re trying to support those lies.

A group of women of all ages holding signs saying "love, love, love," "women's rights are human rights," and more.
“All the women in me are exhausted.” // photo courtesy of @voteyourchange on Instagram.

Do they believe Professor Ford? Probably. Do they care? NO. Republicans gave lip service to the idea of respect and concern for women. But it’s just equivalent to the thoughts and prayers they trot out whenever there’s a mass shooting. They’re not quite sorry enough for the victims to do a single thing about gun control. They believe Kavanaugh’s accusers. THEY JUST DON’T CARE.

It’s all hypocritical bullshit, and we deserve better. We deserve better from our neighbors, our employers, our co-workers, friends, spouses, and family members. It’s also painfully obvious that we need to demand better from our elected representatives.

No more putting up with patronizing words completely devoid of compassion, understanding, and any meaningful action. No more tolerating the status quo. Women are exhausted. They’re sick and tired, and they are MAD. AS. HELL. I’ll work within the system to make changes. But if they don’t come… well, let’s just say:

Hey, America, listen to us when we’re talking to you! Time to listen, and time to ACT. Otherwise… be afraid. Be very afraid.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.