Dear Donald Trump Supporters and Surrogates...

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Hello Conservatives. Please don’t worry – this letter is not to slam, insult, denigrate, or belittle you. I fully support your right to vote and to vote for whomever you choose, even if we disagree. Voting is an important right and a responsibility. While I would prefer to see Hillary Clinton become president instead of Donald Trump (even though she’s not my ideal choice), if your side wins the election, I will fully accept the results. Full disclosure: I’m not American, I’m Canadian so I don’t have a say or a part in your election but if I did, I would still feel the same way.

However, I’m not writing to you to talk about the American electoral process or exercising your right to vote. I would like to address an issue that continues to pop up, although it seems not as frequently the closer to the election we get, despite all the other nonsense that’s been going on. I’d like to address the accusations of sexual assault against Donald Trump by a number of women. While not all Republicans/Conservatives feel this way, the media chooses to interview those of you who question why these women are coming forward NOW, some of them years after the events allegedly took place. On behalf of women everywhere who have experienced the unwanted groping and grabbing, the unsolicited vulgar comments, the rape and the abuse, let me tell you why.

We feel ashamed. We feel embarrassed. We feel, somehow someway, it is our fault. We know we are more likely to be dismissed than believed. We will be questioned, with less concern than that shown to the accused, about what we were wearing; about whether we had been drinking and if so, how much; about whether or not we led the other person(s) on; about our sexual history. We know that even if the person(s) is (are) arrested and it goes to trial, the likelihood they will be found guilty is slim. We know that if the odds have been defied and the person(s) have somehow been found guilty, the sentence they receive will be nothing compared to the shame, humiliation, and filth we feel for the rest of our lives for what has been done to us without our permission.

Yes, there will be a small percentage (no I don’t have actual numbers or data to back me up so please don’t ask) of women who MAY bring charges like those claimed against Donald Trump for time in the spotlight, the hope that they will get some sort of monetary settlement, etc. However, I assure you, as a woman who has experienced some of the things mentioned above, that number IS SMALL. I don’t know any woman who wants to endure on purpose the kind of humiliation, degradation and scrutiny laying these sorts of charges results in. No amount of money or “fame”, if that’s what you want to call it, will change how a woman feels about herself or what has happened to her. You can’t wash away the feeling of someone’s unwanted hands groping your body or the memory of being violated with cash.
How many of us remember being told the kid in elementary or junior high school who pulled your hair, called you names, etc did it because “they liked you”?  That's bullshit and we need to stop telling our children this. I knew a kid like that when I was in school - his name was Chad S. He would flip up my skirt or pull down my pants in front of everyone at recess. He didn’t do it to anyone else in our class. Just me. Did I think he liked me?  No. Instead I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I’d done to make him pick on me. By the time we’d graduated to Junior High School, he’d graduated to forcefully grabbing my breasts while we played Dungeons and Dragons at a mutual friend’s house. Repeatedly. Did I ever tell my parents? No. Did I stop hanging out with my other friends in those settings? No. Why? I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed. I felt, somehow someway, it was my fault. All the other kids playing D&D were boys, perhaps this is just what boys do. I had developed breasts earlier than anyone else in our class. I should be hiding them better so he wouldn’t be tempted to grab them. I began a lifelong habit of hunching my shoulders to try to lessen how much they stood out compared to my flatter chested friends who didn’t seem to get this unwanted attention for having been born a girl.

Even before that, while staying with family friends while my parents were away, I had their oldest teenage son ask to see what was between my legs. He tried to convince me that it was ok. He told me I knew what he had because I had a brother but he didn’t have a sister so he didn’t know what girls had between their legs. To this day, I still don’t know how I got out of that situation but I remember avoiding him from that moment forward. Did I tell anyone? No. Why? I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed. I felt, somehow someway, it was my fault.

When I went away to school, a drunk man followed me off the bus, across a crowded parking lot and into the entrance of a local mall, calling me by my name and grabbing me. I was wearing my beloved high school jacket which had my name on it. I never wore my jacket again. I felt it was my fault and I had done something to encourage his unwanted behaviour.
These are just a few examples from my childhood.  Experiences I am now finally able to share without being reduced to tears (although I came close while writing this). This doesn’t begin to cover the last 23 years of my life.  While I haven’t undertaken a scientific poll of my female (or male) acquaintances, family members or friends, I know that if I did most of them would have their own tales to tell. It’s not something we talk about, at least not openly and freely like we should. Why, you may ask yet again? For all the same reasons we don’t tell someone in the first place. We feel ashamed. We feel embarrassed. We feel, somehow someway, it was our fault.

You may not believe the dozen women who have come out publicly and claimed Donald Trump sexually assaulted them and that is your prerogative. I understand the particular timing of their coming forward might cause some of you to consider Democratic Party involvement. I get it – politics is a dirty game and both sides often don’t play fair. However, please don’t be so quick to judge them on why they are coming forward now. Think of your sister; your mother; your daughter; your friend; your coworker. While you might think they are strong enough to not let these things happen to them, or god forbid if it does happen, that they would come forward immediately. You would be wrong. It doesn’t matter how strong you are in any other aspect of your life – being groped, grabbed, raped, assaulted, pawed, kissed, or touched in any way without permission can destroy the strongest person you know, man or woman, and leave them a shell of the person you once knew. What you see on the outside often masks what's going on inside.

I wish you and your candidate luck in the upcoming election. At this point it could go either way. Here's hoping that whatever happens, your country can come together once its all over.


Sincerely,

Your (still healing) northern neighbour.

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