Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Trump - A letter from the "real world"

Dear Mr. Trump.

You don't know me, and you've done absolutely nothing to show me that you care about me or that you intend to be "my" president, should you actually somehow win on November 8 (Nate Silver seems to think that's highly unlikely right now). Seeing as my blog only averages 200 hits on a post that is related to The Tension Experience, which this is not, or is found by people looking for the location of Hecate's ring (by the way guys - I don't think she hides it anymore, you can stop looking), I doubt you'll see this at all.
FiveThirtyEight.com - looking pretty blue

But your "apology" really enraged me - the one you read off a teleprompter, the one that sounded more like a threat leveled at a woman (your opponent) rather than anything contrite. Yes, the tape was from ten years ago. When you were 59, not 19. See, normally when we say things like "he said that ten years ago" we are referring to someone in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, when the maturity difference of ten years actually means something. You don't really have that excuse. You're a grown-ass man.

It enraged me because of one line in particular - the part where you said "let's be honest, we're living in the real world." I also found it telling that, in the 50 seconds before that, you didn't once mention any of the problems that women face that could actually stem from or relate to what you said and did ten years ago. That, plus the real world comment, speaks volumes. It speaks of an insane amount of privilege - the privilege of someone whose "real world" doesn't include the possibility (or rather, probability, perhaps) of sexual assault. But for the rest of us, Mr. Trump, that is an EVERYDAY REAL WORLD problem, much more so than Isis or any of the other word salad vomit that you spew out and call "sentences." The same day that you debated Hillary Clinton and at the height of your classiness paraded victims of sexual assault in order to try to intimidate her, I was alone on the second floor of my building on campus and a man walked into my office - not stood at the door, walked INTO my office - and started talking to me like he had every damn right to be there. When he saw the look on my face that clearly read "I'm calculating how many things I have that will make a dent in your skull when thrown at you," he laughed and said "I'm just being friendly" before turning around and leaving.

And that's part of the problem, isn't it? That his "just being friendly" is my "fight or flight" response. There is no such thing as "just being friendly," Mr. Trump. For most women (because I am not going to speak for all), all unknown men (and many known men) are seen as Potential Rapists. We walk around with that awareness all the time. It's never NOT in our awareness, it's in the way we walk, the way we carry ourselves, the way we think about ourselves and each other. And it stems directly from people like you who insist that talking about women the way that you did on that tape is harmless "locker room talk." That "locker room talk" and us dismissing it for more important "real world" concerns is exactly why we have Brock Turners and Elliot Rodgers. This is why my husband referred to you as an "attempted former Stanford swimmer," because we don't refer to Brock Turner as a rapist.
Good thing he's not a rapist

"But Megan," I hear you say, "women like you take risks all the time that basically make complaining about things like this hypocritical. Why you, yourself, met a strange man at a bar this summer and let him buy you a drink." And to that I say, "Why, Mr. Trump, I had no idea you were reading my blog, I'm flattered. But again, you have not a single idea what goes on with women behind the scenes of things like that. What I didn't write about were the many precautions I took that night to make sure people knew where I was going, and who was responsible, should anything happen." When I made that choice I knew that I had just left dinner with one of my closest friends, and left her with the name of the person who had likely sent me there (something I shouldn't have known at the time, but did), that Periscope had a record of where I'd physically been (because I had livestreamed from a Starbucks upon arrival), and that one other person knew exactly where I was because he'd been there right before me (he had called to give me the location).  I took some flack for that decision after from several women that I know, because they would never have met an unknown man alone at a bar, never mind had the drink. Just as I took some flack for not letting the security guy walk me home from the theatre building on Sunday after the strange man walked into my office (security was called). There is never a moment where we make choices without weighing those risks to some degree. Because men like you have decided that your "locker room talk" is harmless, and the risks that it engenders aren't "real world" problems, we have to take care of ourselves, even if that seems extreme at times.

I noticed that in your list of people you'd been humbled to meet along your campaign, you didn't list one victim of sexual assault. Perhaps you should. I am fortunate - I have never been one, though men have been claiming the right to invade my personal space against my will for decades. "Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions." What you (and other men) claim is "harmless" banter is not. It plants the seeds for the actions and thoughts that follow.

Megan Reilly
(another Hillary Clinton supporter)

Notes from Dublin: Rambling, Emotional, Barely Coherent.

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