The roll call begins. At the last Presidential debate, Donald Trump said that the audio recording of him on the bus was “just locker room talk.” When Andersen Cooper asked Trump whether he had actually done the things (i.e. assault) he had talked about, Trump replied, “No, I did not.” We knew instantly that that “No” would spell the death knell for his campaign because, given Trump’s virtual dare, victims would begin coming out one after another. It only took three days to start. It is the sound of the final shoes dropping. Yet as this depressing political campaign descends even further from the gutter into the lowest sewer, it is important to keep something in perspective.
Joe Scarborough (“Morning Joe”) cautioned everyone to keep a reasonable skepticism about the victims’ stories. Not regarding their content, but about their timing. After a year and a half of campaigning, he asked, why are these women just coming out now, 30 days before the election? That might be a question many men might ask, but very few women would. And the answer is no evil doings or grand political conspiracy. It is far more basic than that.
We need to put ourselves in these women’s place. You are a young, single female out on her own, perhaps for the first time in your life. Probably fresh at the beginnings of your career. In an isolated, unguarded moment, some famous, powerful man makes a move on you against your will. It is probably for only a short moment. But it leaves you shaking, embarrassed, confused, and fearful that your personal vulnerability has been irrevocably exposed. But who do you tell? Who is going to believe the “little nobody” against the word of the famous, powerful one? You have no proof. He has an army of defenders (and protectors) at his disposal. Who is going to believe you? You have seen the attacks and public humiliation that other women have gone through, innocent or otherwise. So you just bury it, and hide it, and keep quiet. For years, even. Because you assume it happened just to you. But you never forget it.
Then, all of a sudden, the dam burst. Some woman not so powerless spoke up. She got heard and she got results. Finally, you are not alone anymore. Then the famous man in question was unexpectedly caught bragging that he does these things, but now he denies actually doing them. Suddenly your believability goes up; maybe now people may listen to you. His lies are just another form of a renewed assault on you. So you set aside all the hurt, all the buried and numbed feelings, and muster up your courage to finally tell your story. To finally release the demons that have long haunted you.
Certainly these accusations should be investigated thoroughly and fairly. But we should not politicize these events, regardless of our political party affiliation or candidate choice. Will there be some fakers in the midst of these courageous women? Likely, but probably only a few. The ones who have come forth, and the ones inevitably still to come, did not control this timing. Donald Trump’s arrogance ultimately caused this timing and opened the door for them. Telling these stories requires great personal courage, however tentative one may feel; witness the very personal attacks against them that have already begun. As adults, we men rarely have encounters of being sexually assaulted. We rarely even think about the possibility of it, and find it hard to relate to a possibility women think about, and have to guard against, continually. So it requires us to have to make a deliberate effort to understand and relate to these terrible scenarios and their outcomes. I suggest we make that effort. Now.
© 2016 Randy Bell www.ThoughtsFromTheMountain.blogspot.com